Dealing with our pets’ ear problems |

Dealing with our pets’ ear problems

Nadine Lober

Why does my dog have smelly ears all the time?Both dogs and cats are susceptible to ear problems; dogs usually more so, because they spend more time outdoors. And dogs in the mountains tend to spend more time on hikes and in the water than city dogs. All of this outdoor activity can lead to allergies, dryness and foreign bodies or water in the ear canals. Dry weather, for example, can cause the apocrine glands to produce excessive wax. If more wax than normal is present but this has not gone on for a long time, a simple ear cleaning may clear up the problem. If the ears have a nasty smell, they are probably infected and antibiotics are necessary. Damp ear canals are favorable environments for yeast while allergies can harm the lining of the ear canal. Once the lining is damaged, an infection is likely to occur. And any foreign body, such as foxtail or other plant material, will cause discomfort and other problems.Your veterinarian may want to take a sample to identify the culprit of an infection: yeast, bacteria or both. If your pet gets recurring infections, further tests may be needed. Some pets are resistant to certain antibiotics, and therefore the an infection never completely goes away. Ear infections can become severe problems if left untreated. Sometimes, infections cause the lining of the ear flap and canal to become severely inflamed and ulcerated, which can cause the canal to narrow or close. If still left untreated, the ear drum can get inflamed and rupture. If the ear drum ruptures, oral antibiotics are necessary. Usually if this has occurred, there are symptoms such as head tilt, unusual eye movements and vomiting.We can’t stop our dogs from swimming and enjoying life, so we need to take the time to check their ears frequently to prevent infections. Ear mitesMites usually occur in younger animals, and more commonly in kittens. This is a very itchy problem and pets who have it will scratch their ears and shake their heads. Mites are an easy parasite to diagnose by taking an ear swab and looking at it under the microscope. You can actually see the little creatures moving about, and they are not the prettiest parasite around. This condition is easy to treat with ear cleaning and medication.Dr. Nadine Lober can be reached at 949-7972.Vail, Colorado

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