Ear infections are common in dogs and cats but aren’t normal. They can cause severe distress, discomfort, and pain. So it is important to treat them as soon as you realize your pet has developed an ear infection. There are certain signs your pet usually shows (which we will talk about in this article later). And when you observe them, never ignore them. In fact, you should check their ears during their regular grooming sessions.
Signs You Should Look For
Apart from looking stressed and uneasy, here are some signs your pets show.
Dogs and cats are shaking their head. This is one of the first signs your pet will show that something is wrong with their ears. When they feel something problematic in their ears, they will shake their head weirdly. One more similar symptom is your pets scratching their ears with their paws.
When the problem becomes severe, you might also see blood outside the ears or dried blood. Your pet can also drag his head on furniture or rub it on carpet to satisfy itching caused by infection or parasites.
The clear signs indicating ear problems are your pet tilting his heads and smelly discharge from their ears. In that case, you should seek your vet’s help as soon as possible. Some other signs include swelling, inflammation in ears, loss of balance, hair loss around ears due to excessive pawing and scratching, and hearing loss.
Ear infections in pets are caused by either external parasites or due to bacteria and yeast present inside their ears. Common cat ear problems mainly occur due to external parasites like fleas, mites, ear tumors, and other allergic problems. In contrast, dogs develop ear problems due to similar reasons and sometimes excessive ear cleaning too. Here are some common causes of infections.
- Your pet has grown abscess or tumors inside the ears.
- Excessive ear wax build-up. This is more common in senior pets.
- Sometimes immune system imbalance can also cause ear infections. Moreover, the imbalance of bacteria and yeast can also induce overwhelming immune response resulting in infections.
- If your pet loves to roam outdoors, his ear canal can be a home to plant seeds and dirt. The trapped foreign objects can cause ear problems in them, including infections.
- Humid weather or being in close contact with water can also cause infections because moisture on your pet’s coat increases bacterial and fungus growth.
- External parasites may be culprits as they can spread infections. Some common parasites in dogs and cats are fleas, mites, ticks, and lice.
- Some environmental allergies, like mold growth and food allergies, can also be the reason behind ear infections.
- In some cases, excessive hair in an ear canal can trap extra moisture in ears causing ear problems.
How Are Infections Treated?
When you suspect an ear infection, you should head over to your vet before you start treating it at home. You might unknowingly make it worse.
Your vet will thoroughly examine your pet’s ear and will try to diagnose the cause first. Further, he will clean your pet’s ears with a medicated cleanser. He may also prescribe a cleaner and topical medication for you to use it at home. In some severe cases, your pet’s doctor may also prescribe an oral medication that generally includes antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines.
The majority of uncomplicated ear infections should resolve within a week or two after the treatment begins. Nevertheless, the cause of the infection is a concerning factor for recovery. If any underlying disease is causing infection, then it might take months to resolve, and also sometimes, this problem can become a chronic condition.
Sometimes in severe conditions of chronic infections, your pet may also recommend surgery such as a Total Ear Canal Ablation, also known as TECA. The surgery will remove the ear canal and thereby removing the ear canal tissues and eliminating any chances of any infections.
You should always go to your vet and follow his instructions carefully. Lapses in visiting their offices and treatment can be the reason behind the reoccurrence of infections. Also, always complete the course of medication your vet has prescribed, even if your pet’s infection has gone. Not completing medication can add to the problem as resistant infections in the future. All in all, look for any signs your pet is showing, go to a vet for in case of confusion in diagnosis and for treatment, and keep your pets safe from parasites.