Ear infections in our pets
Dr. Angela Gaeto from the Helen Woodward Animal Center joined Good Morning San Diego to talk about ear infections in our pets.
How do pets get infections?
Animals can get ear infections in a variety of ways. Infections can occur due to both bacterial or yeast infiltration or both. Certain dogs are more prone to ear infections. Breed and conformation are a big contributing factor to likelihood for ear infections. Dogs with erect ears are less likely to get infections while dogs with “floppy” ears are more likely. In the “floppy” ear dogs, the moisture and debris gets trapped in the ear causing a good environment for pathogen growth. The more hair pets have around as well as in their ears, the more likely they are to develop infections. The hair will wick water and debris into the ear. Dogs that get wet frequently without proper ear care are also more likely to develop infections. After swimming or bathing dogs should have their head and ears dried and susceptible dogs should also have ear cleaner put into their ears to dry out water in the canals. Pets who have sensitive skin are also prone to ear infections meaning dogs with environmental or food allergies may have issues.
Dogs may show ear infections in numerous different ways. Ear infections may be painful and cause pets to whine when their ear or surrounding area is touched. Owners may notice that their ear(s) are red or have discharge or an odor. Dogs also often shake their heads or scratch at the affected ear.
Ear infections need to be treated to get rid of the initial problem as well as treat the underlying issue. Depending on the cause of the infection (bacteria or yeast), animals are most often treated with topical medication to reduce the pathogen load. Pets may need treatment for the underlying issue, or to develop a good care routine to prevent future infections.