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Cypress St. Animal Hospital
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Pet Ear Infections

Ear infections are very different for dogs and cats.  Dogs often get ear infections, in fact it is one of the main reasons people bring their dogs to the vet.  The canine ear has three parts and any one of these can become irritated, inflamed or infected causing severe pain at times.  Cats, on the other hand seldom get ear infections.  When they do however, the result is extremely painful and can result in deafness or facial paralysis.

Dog ear infections are usually caused by bacteria or yeast, but can also result from accumulations of wax and thick matted hair in the dog’s ear canal.  Long-eared hairy dogs, such as Cocker Spaniels and Bassett Hounds usually have more frequent infections.  In cats, the Persian breed is more prone to ear infections.

The main cause of ear infections in cats is mites, but other things such as allergies, cat diabetes, feline leukemia, or a damaged eardrum can also cause these infections.

There are certain symptoms that you’ll notice if your pet has an ear infection.  They will shake their heads or scratch their ears excessively.  You might notice an offensive ear odor or a black or yellowish runny discharge from their ear or ears. 

Since there are quite a number of things that can cause an ear infection in your pet, it’s important to get it to a veterinarian at the first sign of any of the symptoms mentioned above.  The vet will be able to prescribe proper treatment and medication if needed. What the treatment consists of will be determined by what the vet finds when the ear is examined.  If the infection is advanced and painful, the vet may need to sedate the pet to help facilitate a more thorough exam.

A word of warning about ear infections:  the longer the infection is allowed to fester or goes untreated, the harder it will be to get rid of. 

The best thing to do for your pet is to prevent ear infections in the first place.  In dogs, this can be done with a weekly ear cleaning done with an ear cleaning solution that your vet recommends.  This is especially true for dogs with long pendulous ears or those with a lot of hair in the ears.

Cats are less prone to ear infections but their ears should be inspected for trouble spots often and their ears cleaned with a cleaning solution that your vet recommends.  These easy prevention methods will keep your dog or cat from the pain of ear infections.

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- Louisa D.

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