Ask Dr. Dolamore
special to the daily
Ear infections in dogs are called otitis externa. It can be a frustrating problem for canine patients and their owners. Symptoms include head shaking, scratching, matting behind the ears, odor, pain, redness, swollen ear cartilage or holding one ear slightly dropped. Discharge and odor may be noticeable to people. Otitis can be acute, which means a new problem, or chronic, which is an an ongoing or frequently recurring problem. Most ear infections are cleared up simply with professional cleaning followed by medication at home.
Causes of ear infections are numerous: bacteria, yeast, parasites, allergies to food or pollens, and foreign objects. Predisposing factors include such conditions as pendulous ear flaps, hair in the ears, excessive wax production, small or narrow ear canals and high humidity. Some breeds are more susceptible. Most chronic ear diseases have an underlying cause and unless this is investigated the infections will recur. Treatment of these underlying conditions cannot be overlooked in the eventual resolution of otitis. ..
When you go to your veterinarian she will look into the ear and assess the ear canal and the ear drum. An ear swab will be taken from inside the ear, and viewed under the microscope. If the infection is very bad or it is chronic, the doctor may recommend an ear culture to see if there
is a very resistant infection. Often the ear will need a deep cleaning sometimes with anesthetic sedation and medications will be prescribed. It is important to use the medications exactly as prescribed and to schedule a follow-up visit to make sure the infection is gone. If the doctor thinks the problem is caused by allergies, an allergy test or hypoallergenic diet will be discussed.
In conclusion, ear infections can be acute or chronic. If your dog shows symptoms listed above, take him to your veterinarian. As with most diseases, early detection and treatment is most cost effective and will keep your dog happy and healthy for years to come.
Please send your pet health and wellness questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Dolamore sees patients at Buffalo Mountain Animal Hospital and Frisco Animal Hospital
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