Ear problems in pets
Itchy, smelly or inflamed ears are a common problem in pets, especially for dog breeds that have large floppy ears. Pets can suffer from ear problems caused by infection, allergies, parasites and foreign bodies.
In dogs and cats, their ear canal is L-shaped which can predispose the canal to collecting waxy debris, moisture or trapped foreign bodies – such as grass seeds. If the ear tissue becomes irritated or inflamed, this can quickly develop into a painful otitis or ear infection.
Ear infections can occur in any breed of cat or dog, but dog breeds with large floppy ears like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Poodles can be more prone to developing ear problems. If your pet develops an ear problem, they may show signs such as shaking their head, scratching at their ears, holding their head on a tilt or appearing to lose their balance, being reluctant to let you touch their head or yelping in pain if you touch their ear.
The ear itself may look red, inflamed or swollen, have a strong odour, be hot to touch or there may be a discharge from the ear. If you’re concerned that your pet may be suffering from ear problems, book them in for a veterinary health check at Sydney Animal Hospitals.
Our veterinarians will examine your pet’s ears – both from the outside, and also examining down the ear canal via use of an otoscope – to assess the inner health of the ear canal and to also check if the pet’s eardrum is intact. If your pet’s ear is painful and they don’t allow examination, the veterinarian may recommend an examination under general anaesthetic so that your pet remains comfortable and the ear can be more easily assessed and treated.
Often a swab sample may be collected from within the ear, which can be assessed under the microscope to look for parasites such as ear mites or to determine if bacteria or yeast are present. Swab samples from the ear canal can also be sent for laboratory testing to determine the type of infection and what are the best antimicrobial medications required to treat it.
Treatment for ear problems may involve medications to treat any infection, inflammation or parasites, along with concurrent treatment of any underlying issues such as skin allergies. To help prevent ear problems in pets, it’s beneficial to regularly check your pet’s ears, and for dogs to gently help dry their ears after swimming or bathing.
For more information on pet ear issues, please contact your local Sydney Animal Hospitals;
Newtown (02) 9519 4111
69-73 Erskineville Road Erskineville
Inner West (02) 9516 1466
1A Northumberland Ave Stanmore
Norwest (02) 8883 0411
Unit 8, 1-3 Celebration Dr Bella Vista
Kellyville (02) 8883 0533
106 Windsor Rd Kellyville
Newport (02) 9997 4609
1 Palm Rd Newport
Avalon (02) 9918 0833
710 Barrenjoey Rd Avalon Beach
Laser therapy is a noninvasive treatment designed to reduce pain and inflammation, and to speed healing. This treatment
is quickly becoming standard of care in both human and veterinary medicine. Our staff members administer laser therapy
via a handpiece that emits this therapeutic infrared light in a fast, drug-free, and soothing treatment.
If you have a pet emergency after hours and your local Sydney Animal Hospital is closed, please see a list of other ‘After Hours Emergency Veterinary Hospitals’ in Sydney.