Have you ever had an ear infection? If you have, do you remember how painful it is? The sheer annoyance of having a pain you can’t shake off in your head.

It’s not so different for your furbaby – cats and dogs. And, unfortunately, here at My Vet Animal Hospital – Waterloo, we see ear infections almost every day. Most paw-parents notice the scratching caused by the constant itching; there may even be some head-shaking, and you might notice an off-smell coming from your furbaby’s ears. These are all pretty classic signs that your furbaby may have an ear infection.

It’s just itchy ears, though…right?

That’s a little trickier to answer. Sometimes ears can get itchy because of allergies, not infections. Sometimes it’s because of creepy crawlies like ear mites. It may not be as straightforward as it seems.

The signs of ear infection, in general, are:

– Scratching ears

– Ear discharge

– Smelly ears

– Head shaking

– Head tilting to one side

So, what happens next?

If you suspect that your pet has an ear infection, you should always see a veterinarian as soon as possible because ear infections are usually very painful and uncomfortable.

Here at My Vet, we will perform a thorough physical examination and acquire a full history from you. We’ll scope down your furbaby’s ears to check the ear canals. We use something called an otoscope and – early warning! – if your furbaby has an ear infection, he/she might not like it very much because it can be pretty uncomfortable. But this part of the examination is important! We’re looking for gunk and checking that ear drum to make sure it’s nice and healthy (it affects what medication we can use, too). With our little kitty friends, we keep a lookout for a growth known as an “ear polyp” which can cause recurrent infections unless we get rid of it.

Otoscope to look down your furbaby’s ears!

If we’re suspicious of an infection, we like to take a sample and put it on a slide. We look at it down a microscope and that helps us decide what kind of infection it is. This can affect what kind of ear drops we use and helps us monitor how well treatment is going. Photos: Treat ear infections with ear drops and clean your fur baby’s ear out with ear flush!

How can I prevent ear infections?

It all depends on what’s causing them in the first place. And that’s what we’re here for!

Maybe it’s something simple, like your dog going for a swim every day and getting lots of water in his/her ears. The solution is to give the ears a good clean after every swim. (Do you need a refresher on how to clean ears? We have a video for that!) Or, if it’s because your dog has hairy ears, it might be a good idea to pluck those hairs every time your dog gets a groom (but check with your vet first before you do this as some dogs are not the right candidates for ear plucking). You can’t do much about furbabies with floppy ears but you can always keep an eye out for the amount of gunk growing in there.

If your furbaby gets really, really bad ear infections, we might refer the case to a veterinary dermatologist.

We love to see furbabies bounce back from having itchy ears – it feels like a miracle to look down the ears one week and see so much gunk and then seeing clean ears a few weeks later. And, don’t forget! Your furbaby can be much tougher than they look; they might not be able to tell you how irritating the itchy ears are or even how painful, so keep a good eye out for signs of an ear infection!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to pop in and speak to one of our friendly staff!

Ready for an appointment?

Our team is here to answer your questions and get an appointment scheduled for you.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This