Otitis Externa – Vetted vets can help diagnose and treat your pet’s ear infections. If your pet consistently scratches in or around his/her ear, take note. Other symptoms include a foul odor, colored discharge, redness, swelling, crusting/scabbing or hair loss around the ear.
An ear infection (acute otitis media) occurs when fluid builds up in the area behind the eardrum. Ear infections are usually caused by Streptococcus bacteria, but can also be caused by viruses. Fluid that enters the middle ear area typically drains on its own through the eustachian tube, a narrow tube which connects the middle ear to the back of the nose and throat. In dogs and cats, the eustachian tube is angled vertically, which makes it less likely for fluid to become trapped. Puppies and kittens are more prone to ear infections because their eustachian tubes are angled horizontally, so fluid has a harder time draining from the middle ear, out.
The best way to prevent your pet’s ear infections is to make sure they are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations. It is important that your pet receives a flu vaccine every year, as ear infections often occur after upper respiratory infections (URIs) including influenza and the common cold. During flu season (which spans from late September to March), Vetted offers flu shots to keep your pet healthy and happy.
It is also recommended to avoid putting foreign objects in the ears including cotton swabs, as these can cause injuries to the ear canal, which can then become infected. Additionally, exposure to environmental irritants including cigarette smoke and pollution can increase the number of colds your pet contracts, which can then lead to more ear infections.
Although most ear infections clear up on their own, they can be more serious conditions for puppies and kittens. Persistent ear infections can lead to more serious complications down the line including hearing problems. Because symptoms of an ear infection can also indicate a number of other conditions, it’s important to seek medical attention right away in order to get an accurate diagnosis and ensure proper treatment. If you suspect your pet might have an ear infection, which is accompanied by a fever of over 100 degrees, don’t hesitate to book a vet house call with Vetted. One of our vets can perform a complete, thorough examination, including a full check of your pet’s ears, nose, and throat, and determine if your pet’s symptoms indicate an ear infection.
After an examination, our vets will provide a comprehensive treatment plan and tips for managing pain and other symptoms. Antibiotics are normally not prescribed for ear infections, as most of the time, your pet’s immune system will fight off the infection on its own. If the vet deems it necessary, in some cases they may prescribe antibiotics to treat bacterial ear infections.