Have You Heard? Ear Problems in Pets Can Be Managed!

Beverly Hills MI dog with ear problems

At Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, we are no strangers to diagnosing and treating ear problems in pets. Most of our patients will experience some type of ear issue at some point during their life; and while most are easily treated, some can be quite serious, especially if left untreated. 

Many ear problems pets experience can be quite uncomfortable or even painful for your furry friend, but we are ready and able to help. 

Do You Hear Me Now?

The ear is a deceivingly complex body part that plays a big role in day to day life. Not only does it allow us and our pets to hear, but it also is responsible for maintaining balance and orientation in our environment. 

Since our furry family members don’t talk, we can often miss when something is off. If you are paying attention, though, ear problems in pets can be quite easy to spot. 

Ear problems in pets often are noticeable due to one or more symptoms including:

  • Reacting to or avoiding handling or petting of the ear
  • Noticeable redness or swelling of the ear flap or opening of the ear canal
  • Shaking the head
  • Pawing at or rubbing the ear
  • Holding the ear in an abnormal position
  • Increased or altered discharge from one or both ears
  • Bad odor from the ears
  • Not responding to your voice or other sounds that should garner some sort of response (and not in a naughty way)

Pets can experience problems with any part of their ear. Most often, though, pet ear problems involve the external ear canal, the skin lined opening of the ear canal. This differs from humans, who most often have middle ear infections. 

This inflammation and/or infection of the external ear canal is termed otitis externa. Many different factors can cause this common pet ear problem, which is most often diagnosed. Food or environmental allergies, irritants such as water, anatomical changes, or other underlying skin conditions can result in otitis externa in pets. 

We also diagnose other ear problems in pets such as ear mites, growths within the ear canal, and aural hematomas. Less commonly, pets may also experience middle or inner ear infections. 

Preventing Ear Problems in Pets

While not all ear problems are preventable, there are certainly some things that you can do as a pet owner to help. 

Paying attention to your pet’s ear health is the first step. Thankfully, just by taking the time to clean your pet’s ears regularly (weekly is often sufficient) you can become familiar with what is normal for your pet. This is important because it allows you to be aware of changes and help identify problems sooner, when intervention is most likely to help. 

Always clean with a commercially prepared, pH-balanced ear solution. These products are designed to break down wax and gently cleanse the sensitive ear canal. Avoid things like alcohol and peroxide, as these can be drying and irritating. If you need help, we are happy to coach you through how to properly clean your pet’s ears. 

It is also important that you contact us if you notice changes or have concerns about your pet’s ears. Ear problems in pets can be quite painful, and the sooner we intervene, the faster your pet will be feeling better.

Ears are important for your pet’s functioning in the world, and they are awfully cute as well. Take good care of them. Your pet will thank you!