Ear infections in dogs and cats can be quite common. There are several types that can plague our dogs and cats. Recognizing the types and the proper follow up treatment will ensure that your pet’s ears remain healthy without damaging hearing loss.
The most common type is caused by ear mites. These mites can burrow into the ear canal allowing fungal and bacterial infections to develop and grow. Dirt, wax buildup, water, or other foreign objects that can lodge in the ears can lead to fungal and bacterial infections as well. A dog and cat will often show their discomfort by shaking their head and scratching at their ears with their hind paws. The ear itself can look red and swollen, be hot and have a brownish foul looking fluid within the canal. Always take note of the symptoms if something does not seem right in your pet.
Fortunately, mild cases of ear infections caused by wax buildup, dirt or ear mites are relatively easy to treat at home. Use a cotton ball dipped in peroxide or alcohol and gently swab out the ear, taking care not to go in too deep. You do not want to do damage to the interior structure of the ear as it is very delicate. The irritation should disappear within a few days. If it does not, you should take your pet to the vet for a thorough examination.
Fungal and bacterial infections should not be treated at home. A vet should be properly treating these infections as he/she can do the necessary exam and prescribe medications that can clear the infections up. In dogs, extreme itching should be taken care of immediately. Dogs with large floppy ears may try to alleviate this irritation by flopping their ears back and forth. Excessive flopping can lead to a hematoma or bruising in the ears so owners should heed this warning sign.
Dog and cat owners should be aware and alert to any signs of ear distress in their pets. Excessive scratching could be a sign of ear mites, wax buildup or dirt in the ears. A more serious fungal or bacterial infection can occur as a result of these conditions if left untreated. Learn to know the signs and take action immediately. When in doubt, bring your pet to the vet for professional care. Our pets rely on us for their health and well being.