Ear disease in dogs and cats

Ear disease is common in dogs and causes tremendous pain and discomfort. Frequent infections, what ever the cause lead to chronic changes in the ear and a simple treatment approach is rarely helpful.

Consideration of ear disease

When investigating a case of ear disease there are four factors which need to be considered:

  1. The primary cause. This is the disease that started the ear disease
  2. Secondary infection. This is the yeast and bacterial infection that results from the primary disease
  3. Perpetuating changes. These are the combination of changes in the shape, liumen and function that result from the primary and secondary factors.
  4. Predisposing factors. These are treatment, environmental or breed effects that make otitis more severe or more likely to occur

Each factor may need needs to be acknowledged to design optimal treatment.

Investigations that may be required

  1. A thorough clinical and treatment history
  2. Examination of the skin including the ears
  3. Cytology from the skin and ears
  4. Culture for bacterial isolation and susceptibility testing
  5. Flushing under anaesthetic
  6. CT of the ear structures

Ear disease appointments

Ear disease can be very painful. If this is the case, ask your vet for advice before your appointment. To ensure that clinical tests can be performed some drugs (particularly topical [in ear] treatments) may need to be withdrawn before the appointment. Before stopping any treatment always speak to your vet first.