When Good Ears Go Bad: Common Pet Ear Problems
Pet ear problems come in all shapes and forms. Whether they be stinky, itchy, swollen, painful, red, or all of the above, learn all about ear issues and how you and Schertz Animal Hospital can work together as a team to stop pet ear problems in their tracks.
Common Pet Ear Problems
There is a myriad of things that may cause trouble in the ears, though some are more common than others. Many pet ear problems can appear similar, so it is always important that we examine a pet who is showing signs of a problem, in order to make a correct diagnosis.
Some of the more common issues we diagnose include:
Aural hematomas – An ear hematoma occurs when a blood vessel in the ear flap bursts, creating a swelling in the ear. Many times, this happens due to excessive scratching or shaking of the head because of another ear problem, such as an infection. This condition is uncomfortable and can result in scarring of the ear flap when untreated.
Foreign bodies – Objects in the ear canal itself can be irritating and lead to infection. Foreign objects may be something like a mass or polyp that is growing in the ear, or something from the surrounding environment, such as a piece of grass, a tick, or a foxtail that has worked its way down into the ear.
Otitis externa – A fancy way to describe inflammation of the outer ear, otitis externa is probably the most common pet ear problem that we see. The pinna (ear flap) and ear canal can become inflamed due to irritation from things like allergies or excess moisture. Sometimes otitis externa leads to an infection with yeast and/or bacteria as well.
Parasites – Parasites, such as the Sarcoptes mite (sarcoptic mange) or the Otodectes mite (ear mite), can also cause ear trouble.
If a pet is exhibiting signs of an ear problem, such as head shaking, scratching, pain, or an abnormal discharge, it is important that we take a peek as soon as possible.
Fighting the Good Fight
Pet ear problems can be a pain, both literally and figuratively, but by working together we can often come out on the winning side of things. It is important that you call us right away if you suspect an ear problem, as most things are more easily treated early in their course.
Your pet will be examined, including an evaluation of the ear canal using an otoscope. An ear cytology may also be performed. This is a sample of the discharge in the ear that is examined microscopically for abnormal cells, parasites, and infectious agents. An ear cytology allows us to treat your pet in a more targeted fashion.
Once we identify what is going on in your pet’s ear, it is very important that you help us in treating the issue. Remember to:
- Perform all ear cleanings and give all medications as prescribed (please let us know if you are unable to do so, as there may be alternative options).
- Return for recommended rechecks, even if your pet seems to be doing better. This helps us to ensure that the problem is 100% resolved.
- Continue medications until instructed to stop, in order to avoid relapses. Even if a pet seems to be doing better, sometimes there is enough infection or inflammation present to cause the problem to recur.
- Let us know if the problem does not seem to be resolving as expected. We can’t help troubleshoot if we don’t know what is going on.
Pet ear problems can be frustrating and take a concerted effort to fully treat. It’s our goal to help you and your pet as efficiently as possible, and by working together, we can ensure that we succeed.
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Schertz Animal Hospital
Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!