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Posted on 08-11-2017

Treating Ear Infections

If your pet has an ear infection, they are probably in a great deal of discomfort or pain. Ear infections are a common affliction, accounting for 1 out of every 5 dogs and 1 out of every 15 cats who visit Centennial Animal Hospital for treatment. If left untreated, an ear infection can cause significant damage, even causing deafness.

Sad beagle with an ear infection.

How do you know if your pet may have an ear infection? Common symptoms include head shaking, bad odors emanating from the ear or discharge from the ear, abnormal skin appearance, crying, pawing at the ear, swelling in the ear canal, itching, crustiness near the ear, or balance issues.

How do pets get ear infections? The shape of a dog’s ear canal encourages liquid to pool, creating a breeding ground ripe for infection. And cats don’t get ear infections often, but when they do, the cause can be complex.

Common causes include yeast or fungus, excess water, viruses, allergies, wax buildup, injury, or too-frequent cleaning. In addition, thyroid problems, endocrine issues, and autoimmune diseases may also contribute.

The veterinarians at Centennial Animal Hospital are experienced in not only diagnosing but treating ear infections. Part of our intake process includes obtaining a thorough history, including any recent activities that may have contributed. And our in-depth examinations will usually find the cause of the problem.

During the examination, your pet may need to be sedated for the veterinarian to safely inspect their ears to look for any foreign objects, wax buildup, ear mites, or eardrum issues. It may also be necessary to take samples of materials found in the ear to be sent for a culture or for further review under a microscope.

And if your pet does have an ear infection, your veterinarian will create a care plan with treatment that may include:

  • A thorough cleaning of the ear, which we do here in our animal hospital
  • Ear drops, which we send home with explicit dosage instructions
  • Injected or oral steroids to reduce inflammation
  • Any medication necessary for pain
  • And antibiotics if a bacterial infection is present

When treatment is completed, the veterinarian will want to recheck your pet’s ears, usually in 5 to 7 days.

If you note any of the symptoms mentioned, please call Centennial Animal Hospital as soon as possible at 719-528-1693.

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