Recurrent Ear Infections in Pets
Recurrent ear infections in pets can have many possible causes. Rather than just prescribing more topical antibiotic/steroid medications like Mometamax or Otomax, it is important for animal guardians and veterinarians to look at underlying causes to avoid frustrating relapses and repeat veterinary visits.Many animal guardians will often erroneously think that their animal companions have ear mites; however, ear mites can be easily ruled out by having the ear discharge examined under the microscope.
A proper veterinary otic exam can also rule out ear polyps, foreign bodies, and growths down the ear canals. The most common underlying causes of ear infections in dogs are inhalant/contact allergies and/or food allergies.
Amongst the many potential contact allergies are: molds, grasses, trees, dander, house dust mites, and pollens. Many of these problems tend to be seasonal. Diagnosis of inhalant/contact allergies is often made on clinical history; however, definitive diagnosis requires blood and/or skin testing. Treatment not only addresses the overgrowth of yeast or bacteria in the ear canals, but also must treat the underlying allergic causes either through symptomatic antihistamine or cortisone therapy, or through allergy shots.
Because many pets with food allergies will often present with recurrent ear infections, any pet with repetitive ear infections should also have a 6-8 week trial with a novel hypoallergenic diet such as rabbit, duck or venison based foods. Unless the potential underlying causes are addressed, pets will continue to suffer from relapses and veterinary visit expense.