Funky Gunky Ears
Have you ever noticed your pet shaking their head more than a teenager in an 80’s mosh pit?
Have you ever noticed your pet shaking their head more than a teenager in an 80’s mosh pit? Or perhaps, you have noticed a nasty smell coming from the ears? Maybe your pet is walking around with their head to one side and won't stop scratching at their ears. These are all common signs that you pet is dancing with an ear infection. The signs of ear infection can be far more subtle as well.
Ear infections may be caused by a number of things, with the most common being allergies. Other things such as parasites, foreign material such as plant material, ear tumors and disorders causing overproduction of ear wax have also been known to lead to ear irritation.
Once the ears become irritated, an ideal environment for infection is created. Bacteria and yeast numbers in the ear explode. If gone unnoticed, ear infections can be so severe that they can rupture the eardrum leading to middle ear infections, and potential balance problems.
If not treated early, infection causes irreversible narrowing and changes to the ear canal, making treatment difficult. The excessive moisture trapped in the ear and reduced air flow into the ears also means that reoccurring infections become common. In very severe chronic cases where the ear canals are so thickened that no medication can be put in the ears at all, surgery is required to open up the ear canals.
Luckily, if seen early, we can get on top of these infections before they turn nasty. At Hampton Park Vet Hospital, we examine the ear canals with a specialized scope that can evaluate the eardrum. A sample is routinely taken from the ears and assessed under the microscope to see what bugs we are dealing with. This allows us to select the best medication for the job.
If there is lots of gunk down the ears, we sometimes have to anesthetist our patients to clean the ears out. This allows us to assess whether there is membrane covering the ear drum which affects the type of medication we can use to treat the infection. This is because if the membrane isn’t there, certain medications can be toxic to the eardrum causing pain, deafness and a head tilt. Cleaning out the ears also allows the medication to come into better contact with the skin inside the ear canals, allowing it to kill the bugs more effectively.
If your pet has ear problems, whether big or small, give us a call so we can help your pet out. Let us put an end to the ear dance so you can do more of the fun kind of dancing.