Weatherford isn’t different than anywhere else when it comes to chronic ear infections that pose a real problem for dogs, cats, and pets.
1. CAUSE: Foreign bodies ( grass, shed hair), ear mites, allergies inflaming the ear skin, small polyps (growths). Anything that irritates the ear lining allows normally present bacteria or yeast to overgrow and cause infection
2. DIAGNOSIS: An ear swab of the infection is smeared on a microscope slide, stained and examined under the microscope to determine what type of infection (bacteria, yeast, or both)
A. Ear cleaning: Ears filled with pus, yeast, hair, grass must be completely cleaned before treatment with ear ointment can begin. Otherwise, the ointment will not come in contact with the skin surface where the infection is happening. In over half of the cases this must be done under anesthesia using special instruments to grab and remove the debris in the ear canal. Occasionally, the ear drum is not intact and infection extends to the middle ear. In some rare instances, cleaning the debris from the middle ear results in partial or complete deafness. Most often this deafness is temporary ( 1 to 3 weeks).
B. Ear ointment (made of antibiotic/cortisone/antifungal) will need to be used once daily. Insert the tip of the tube deep in the ear canal and squeeze as your withdraw. Massage ear well to spread the ointment throughout the ear. It is not necessary to fill the ear canal each time or you will run out of it in 3-4 days.
C. Injections of cortisone with antibiotic are placed underneath the skin of the ear canal where it will calm down the pain and inflammation quickly. Results from this injection can occur in the first 24-48 hrs.
D. Oral antibiotics or Oral antifungals are dispensed depending upon the type of infection.
E. Ear mites: medication will be dispensed ( Revolution for cats and Cerumite for dogs ).
4. RECHECKING THE EAR: It is very important to recheck the ear in 14-21 days to make sure the infection is gone. Current cost of this ear recheck exam is $15.
5. PREVENTION by FLUSHING: Ear infections can be prevented by keeping the ears very clean. Place a 1 inch layer of dish soap ( Joy, Ivory, Dawn, etc) in a 16 oz plastic spray bottle then fill it with warm tap water. While pulling the ear away from the head and up slightly, spray this heavy soap solution 20-30 times vigorously into the ear canal. No matter how much your pet objects you are really not seriously hurting them and it is extremely necessary to do. Massage the ear well and let the pet shake its head. Then use another spray bottle filled with only clean water to flush out the soap and debris. You may need to repeat this process 2-3 times to get them clean. Rinse ear in the same fashion with another spray bottle containing only water. Do not worry about getting water in your pets ears as you must clean out the debris or the ear ointment will not work.
Special NOTE: Some dogs with allergies will need cleaning once a week or more and the constant every day or every other day use of ear ointment to keep from getting another ear infection. A large 8oz bottle of ear ointment is available to purchase if you need it.