Stealthy or super-scratchy, ear infections are extremely common in dogs and cats! Ear infections usually cause significant discomfort, scratching at the head/neck/face, visible debris, and/or odor. However, after they sit for a while, your pet can become used to the discomfort and stop giving you clues that there is a problem.
Never assume that an ear problem just went away. People, especially children, commonly get middle ear infections. Pets usually get external ear infections.
What Causes Ear Infections?
We have to address the health of the ear canal and determine what type of infection is present. We do this by performing ear cytology and/or cultures and sensitivities. Beyond treating the ear itself, we should determine what factors led to the ear infection and address those. Reasons can be anything from parasites (like ear mites), Overgrowth of yeast and bacteria, allergies, and more! If we do not address the cause, the infection will come back.
Good news: we can help with all things ears!
How Do We Treat Ear Infections?
Flushing and giving ear drops are often insufficient to treat ear infections. Once we have determined the cause of the ear infection, we can determine how to treat it. Treatments can vary from administering medicated flushes, daily home administration of ointments or drops, ear packing (placing a medicated, lanolin-based wax material in the ear for long-term treatment). and other long-lasting, in-clinic medication administration. Together, you and your veterinarian can discuss which option will work best for your pet and your lifestyle.