The Low-Down on Ear Infections

courtesy of www.petsitters.org

Ear infections are a common problem in dogs and cats.  According to the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., ear infections are at the top of the list of reasons why pet parents take their animals to the veterinarian.  Your pet’s ears are used for essential functions such as hearing and balance control and should be monitored to make sure they are free and clear of infection.

Pets are susceptible to ear infections because bacteria and yeast tend to thrive in warm, moist environments.  Pets with allergies are more likely to suffer from ear infections than pets without allergies.  Other reasons for ear infections include ear mites or foreign material in the ear canal.

If you believe your pet has an ear infection, it is best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.  Clearing an ear infection isn’t as easy as just cleaning the ears.  Medications need to be prescribed that target the bacteria present in your pet’s ears.  Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe the correct medication by looking at a sample of the debris under a microscope.  Your vet will also likely recommend routine ear cleanings during the duration of the ear infection.

Ear infections can be stubborn, so it is ideal to follow up with your veterinarian 7-10 days after the initial visit.  It is important to follow your vet’s instructions for treatment to prevent further infection.  Ear infections can be persistent, so diligent treatment is required.

Signs of an ear infection include odor or discharge from the ear, scratching at the ear, pet shaking it’s head, swelling of ear flap, pain when ear is touched, pet holding down ears, or dark debris in ears.  Ear infections that go untreated can lead to rupture of the ear drum and cause permanent damage to your pet’s hearing and possibly even it’s ability to balance.

If you suspect that your pet has an ear infection, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in a timely manner.  To schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians, please call us at (858) 759-8797.