Ear infections are a very common problem for pets and certain breeds are more prone to recurring episodes. Some common causes of ear infections in pets are ear mites, foreign bodies like grass seeds or plant awns, allergies, polyps/tumors, or a build-up of moisture in the ear. Large floppy ears can also play a role in causing infection, as the ears will trap moisture and decrease airflow in the ear canal, which creates the perfect environment for yeast and bacteria. Symptoms of ear infections including shaking and scratching, tilting of the head, painful or sensitive ears, increased odor, and discharge or debris from the ear canal. Ear infections can be painful, and if left untreated, they can become chronic and lead to hearing loss or aural hematomas due to head shaking and scratching.
Treating the ears with medication:
Apply ointment or drops as prescribed. After placing medication in the ear canal, massage the base of the ears. This will help deliver the medication to the deep recesses of the canal. In many cases, regular ear cleaning will also help prevent future infections and make your pet more comfortable. If maintenance ear cleaning is recommended, here are some tips:
Ear cleaning is usually a two person project. Be gentle. Don’t probe deeply with cotton swabs or other objects. Daily or every other day cleaning may be necessary until infection is resolved.
- Fill the ear canal completely with cleaning solution.
- Gently massage the base of the ear to loosen debris.
- Allow your pet to shake his or her head to expel material from the ear canal.
- Repeat as necessary (until the ear is visibly clean). Wipe out excess cleaning solution with a soft cloth.