Your pet’s ears should be clean, odour-free, pale pink in colour and have a minimal accumulation of wax.Â Check your pet’s ears regularly.
Signs of Ear Disease
- Unpleasant odour
- Excessive scratching / pawing of the ear, head
- Black or yellowish discharge
- Accumulation of dark brown wax
- Bleeding or discharge resembling coffee grinds
- Sensitivity to touch, often resulting in pain
- Constant tilting/shaking of the head to one side
- Redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal
- Changes in behaviour like listlessness, depression or irritability
- Loss of balance or hearing and disorientation
Causes of Ear Disease
Some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to ear disease than others including dogs with pendulous ears. Both dogs and cats with hairy inner ears have increased susceptibility. Pets with allergies are also at risk.
Infection of the external ear canal and Otitis Media, infection of the middle ear, are usually caused by ear mites, bacteria or yeast. Other possibilities include injury, debris or a foreign object lodged in the ear canal. When seeking treatment, act quickly. If your pet has an ear infection, he will be in considerable discomfort. Antibiotics are used for bacterial infections while antifungals are administered for yeast. Your veterinarian will determine this during your visit and suggest the best course of action.
These are common parasites that are highly contagious, often contracted from pet to pet. Excessive itching is the most common sign. Ear mites create dark, crumbly debris that look like coffee grinds.
Hematoma of the Ear Flap
This means that blood has accumulated in the ear flap (pinna). Vigorous head shaking, scratching or trauma to the ear area result in damage to the blood vessels, often set off by infection, mites, fleas or debris.
Usually brought on by age, trauma, loud noise or infection, deafness can also be hereditary or congenital. Unfortunately, once diagnosed with clinical deafness, it is a lifelong condition.
Ear cleaning solution used on an appropriate basis can be helpful in maintaining your pet’s ear health.
How to Administer Ear Drops or Ointment to Pets
- Clean the external ear thoroughly with a moistened cotton ball (using water or a veterinary recommended solution)
- Read the label instructions carefully for correct dosage.
- Pull the ear flap over the head, squeeze out the desired amount and apply it to the lowest part of the ear canal.
- Gently massage the ear area to help work the medication deeper into the ear canal.
IMPORTANT: Always administer medicine to its full term for it to be effective. When administering medication stay calm – your pet can sense if you are nervous making it more difficult to apply the treatment. Always praise and reward your pet with a treat after successful application.