An all-too-common pet health peroblem is ear infections. This is a condition in which skilled at home pet care can prevent recurrence and even be treated before having to see a veterinarian.
Infection of the external ear canal (outer ear) is common. It is called otitis externa. Some breeds, particularly those with large or hairy ears like Cocker Spaniels, are more prone to ear infections, but they may occur in any pet.
Ear infections are sore. Most dogs will shake their head and scratch their ears trying to get the debris and fluid out. The ears often become red and inflamed and develop a bad smell. A black or yellowish discharge is often seen.
Ear mites are infectious parasites primarily found in young cats. They are spread from direct contact from cat to cat.
Ear infections are most typical in dogs. Most ear infections are caused by an underlying allergy, such as to food or environment.
Some are caused by water in the ear after bathing or swimming. Dogs with large floppy ears, such as Basset hounds, are prone to infections as their ear canals have poor air circulation, trapping moisture and allowing bacteria and yeast to grow.
CLEAN THEM. White vinegar is very effective at removing debris from the ears and killing the yeast and bacteria responsible for ear infections. Grab the ear where it attaches to the head (at the ear base), gently squeeze your thumb and forefinger together, rubbing the solution deep into the ear canals. Wipe the inside of the ear well with cotton balls to remove debris coming from the ear canal.ALLERGY DIET. For dogs that get recurring ear infections it is important to try a less allergenic diet. It should include a completely different protein with minimal added ingredients. One example commercial diet is made of fish and sweet potato.
It is important to get the medication into the horizontal part of the ear canal. Unlike our ear canal, the dog's external ear canal is "L" shaped. The vertical canal connects with the outside of the ear and is the upper part of the "L".
The horizontal canal lies deeper in the canal and terminates at the eardrum. Our goal is to administer the medication into the lower part of the "L" - the horizontal ear canal.
The ear canal may be medicated by following these steps:
1. Pull the earflap straight up and hold it with one hand.
2. Place a small amount of medication into the vertical part of the ear canal while continuing to keep the earflap elevated.
3. Put one finger in front of and at the base of the earflap, and put your thumb behind and at the base.
4. Massage the ear canal between your finger and thumb. A squishing sound tells you that the medication has gone into the ear canal.
5. Clean the outer part of the ear canal and the inside of the earflap with a cotton ball soaked in some of the medication.