Preventing Ear Infections

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Preventing Ear Infections

As spring ramps up in North Alabama we see an increase in patients presenting with ear infections. In both dogs and cats, these infections come in three forms:

  • Otitis externa (the most common type of infection) affects the ear canal 
  • Otitis media affects the middle ear
  • Otitis interna affects the inner ear 

What causes ear infections?

  • Otitis externa is the most common type of ear infection in pets, and it is normally secondary to some other issue such as:
    • Atopy: also known as allergic dermatitis or atopic dermatitis. 
    • Food allergies
    • Excessive moisture: whether your pet is an avid swimmer, gets regular baths, or has floppy ears that trap moisture, excessive dampness can give bacteria and yeast a very happy home setting your pet up for an infection. 

Who gets ear infections? 

  • Any breed of dog or cat can become infected. However, in dogs, spaniels and retrievers are the poster children for otitis externa. In cats, Scottish Folds, Himalayans, and Persians are all predisposed to otitis.

How do I know if my dog/cat has an ear infection?

  • Without testing, you can't know for sure that your pet has an ear infection. However, here are some signs you can watch for:
    • Itchiness: scratching/pawing at the ears, rubbing ears on furniture/carpet
    • Odor
    • Discharge
    • Pain: pain is evidence that there is increased inflammation in the ears and needs to be addressed as soon as possible

How do I prevent ear infections in my pet?

  • Check your pet's ears often for signs of an issue. Catching problems early means less discomfort for your furry family members.
  • Keep their ears clean and dry.  This is by far the most important thing you can do to help prevent infection. If your pet is bathed or swims often, a cleaner with a drying agent can be used to make sure excessive moisture doesn't remain inside the ear canal. A cleansing ear flush can be used several times a week to remove excess debris and keep your pet's ear canals happy and healthy.

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