Ear infections are more common in the spring and summer months due to the hot weather and increased humidity. This is also a time where dogs who have allergies, start to flare up which can lead to ear infections.
Ear infections can be common and cause significant discomfort. The ear canal becomes inflamed and painful and pets usually scratch at their ears and shake their head. You may also notice an odour coming from your pet’s ear and they may have red ears as well.
Causes of ear infections
In some cases the ears can become moist from swimming, bathing or after grooming. The increased moisture can lead to an infection. Dogs with floppy ears can have increased moisture in their ear canal. Some dogs have underlying allergies which can lead to inflammation of the ear canal. The inflammation leads to an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast which leads to an infection.
When we examine you pet, we are looking at the colour of the inner ear, texture of the ear and any discharge. We then will use an otoscope to look down your pets ear canal where we are looking at whether the canal is open or narrow, what discharge is present, how inflamed the ear canal is and the tympanic membrane. We will take a sample from your pet’s ear to look under the microscope. We do this to identify what organisms are present, both bacteria and yeast, and the degree of infection. There are a number of very nasty bacteria, which if present, will determine the type of medication that we use.
Depending on what we see on the swab taken from your pet’s ear, will determine what medication we use. We normally will use drops to be put in your pets affected ear either once or twice daily and we may also advise an ear cleaner. It is very important that you strictly follow the instructions on the labels. Inadequate administration of medication can lead to bacterial resistance and chronic ear infections may develop.
We will always advise a revisit consultation with the veterinarian to check that the ear infection has cleared and is not longer present.
It is important that you check your pet’s ears regularly and if advised, use an ear cleaner to keep your pets ears clean and dry, especially after swimming or bathing.