Ear disease is quite a common problem in our pets and so they should ideally be checked weekly to look for any changes. Do they look red, are they smelly, and is your pet shaking or rubbing at their ears?
Ear disease can take hold quickly and is unlikely to get better on its own and if left can result in permanent problems or damage.
Do I need to clean my dog’s ears?
It may not be necessary to clean the ears regularly, but it is worth getting into the habit of checking them and getting your dog used to having them checked. A dog’s ear is a different shape to our own: our ears are a straight horizontal tube from the outer ear to the ear drum. In dogs and cats the ear canal opening is high up on the side of the head and the canal runs in and down forming and ‘L’ shape onto the ear drum. The other big difference is the size of the outer ear (or pinna). Certain breeds, like spaniels, have large pinna’s which completely or partially cover the ear canal which means they are more likely to get hot and sweaty. Regularly checking the ears will allow you to see if they are dirty, if they are smell, one of the first signs of a developing ear infection.
Can I prevent ear disease?
Unfortunately it can be difficult to stop ear disease in some breeds and individuals, but if they are checked frequently then abnormalities will be noticed sooner and treatments/management can be effective more quickly.
What is an Aural Haematoma?
This is where the animal bursts a blood vessel in the ear flap (pinna) and it bleeds between the skin and cartilage of the ear. This is seen as swelling on the ear flap. It usually happens when the dog is shaking and rubbing their head or ear because they have an ear infection or something in the ear canal. The swelling is usually treated by draining via a needle or sometimes with surgery, but it is also important to treat whatever caused the irritation to the ear.
What are ear mites?
Ear mites are small parasites which affect the ear canals and the skin around the tops of the ears. They are approximately pin head sized and white in colour when they are seen in the canal. They are often only visible by looking down the ear canal with an otoscope at the vets. The signs you will see as an owner are head shaking and rubbing at the ears, there can sometimes be a smell, and often there is a profuse dark wax in the canals. The treatment is ear drops applied according to the manufacturer’s directions and this usually clears them within a few weeks. It is worth noting that the mites can be passed between animals in direct contact with each other, and so if one is affected in a household it is worth getting them all checked