Updated 04/06/2013 05:00 AM
Pet Pointers: Recurring ear infections
Recurring ear infections are a common problem for pets. Lisa Chelenza looks at what causes them and how to treat them in this edition of Pet Pointers.
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Recurring ear infections can be very uncomfortable for your pets, and they are no picnic for pet parents either. If your pets are scratching or rubbing their ears or shaking their heads from side to side, it’s time to take a look. If you see redness, swelling, sores, scabs or notice a foul smell coming from their ears, its definitely time to see your vet for treatment.
“The first thing is to identify whether or not it is an ear infection. That usually means taking your dog to the vet and having them look at the ear and also looking at the surface of the ear by swabbing under a microscope to identify the infection. Is it bacterial or fungal? If it is not an infection, funny enough, food allergies can look just like an ear infection, they will want to scratch the ears, which leads to ear damage and infection, so the first thing is to identify the infection,” said veterinarian Dr. Maureen Luschini.
Once you have treated the symptoms, it’s time to find the cause. There could be several reasons your pet’s ears never seem to clear up.
“If you have a patient that has a chronic ear infection, the problem either be not the right treatment so additional tests are warranted. Or it can be underlying endocrine disease and the biggest culprit being hypothyroid disease. So really, the ears are a small sample of what is going on with the pet’s overall health and understanding what is going on can lead you to adequately treating it,” said Dr. Luschini.
Remember, follow instructions when giving medications and use them until they are gone as directed by your vet.