Welcome to Doti's Corner where I will be sharing health care issues and the problems of our pets that I see as an employee working behind the scenes. By sharing what I see, I hope to help you take better care of your pets.
One of the most common problems that we see on a weekly basis are ear infections of some sort. Commonly these are due to
These infections may be confined to the outer ear canals, or they may involve the inner and middle ear also. Some breeds of dogs, such as Spaniels, seem to be more prone to ear infections due to their heavy ears.
You can help prevent ear infections at home by cleaning the ears regularly. However, if there is any odor, discharge, debris, pain, irritability, head shyness, scratching, shaking of the head, or tilting of the head, your puppy needs to have the ears examined by a veterinarian immediately as these signs are commonly associated with some sort of ear infection that can not be treated at home.
In order to clean your dog’s ears at home you need to have a good ear cleansing and drying agent. However, common mistakes may cause further problems. Here are some helpful tips when cleaning your dog's ears.
Do not use cotton swabs or Q-tips! Cotton swabs can irritate the canal lining and actually push material further into the ear canal causing major damage to the ear.
Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol because they often burn sensitive ear tissue causing further problems.
There are a number of safe ear cleaning products available. One of the common ones we use regularly is Epic-Otic. We recommend Epi-Otic because it not only cleanses, but it also helps to dry the ears after swimming and baths. You will also need some cotton balls or tissues and possibly an old towel.
After you have your supplies in order, it is time to clean those ears!
If you have a toy breed or cat, use your towel to wrap the animal up like a burrito, leaving the head out for easy access to the ears. Medium size dogs you should put on a high surface such as a table or work bench, using one of your arms around your pet’s neck. Giant and large breeds can sit on the floor either backed up against something, or with you straddling them, using one of your arms to lift up their head.
After you have your pet in a secure spot, hold the Epi-Otic (or whatever product you decide to use) just over the opening of the ear and gently squeeze a small amount of solution into the ear. Don’t squeeze too hard or it may irritate your pet, which may cause a big mess.
After the solution is in the ear, gently massage the base of the ear to make sure that the solution is distributed as far as possible into the ear canal. If the ear seems painful when you massage, your pet needs to have his ears examined by a veterinarian.
Hold your pet so they are not able to shake for a couple of minutes.
Allow your pet to shake its head to remove some of the solution. This should be done in an area where it is easy to clean up any material.When most of the solution has been shaken out of the ear (after about 10 minutes), use a tissue or cotton ball (again no cotton swabs) to gently wipe away any discharge or debris that remains.
Remember if you notice odor or any of the aforementioned signs, please call a veterinarian today. Once started, ear infections will not clear up on their own, and it is always better to begin treatment as soon as possible to avoid damaging the ear.
If you have any questions about ear cleaning, call me today at (417) 623-3080, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Check out my previous health care thoughts