PetMeds® Diagnosing Pets with Chronic Ear Infections
For pets that have chronic ear issues it is important to see your veterinarian to help sort out the many potential underlying causes of this frustrating condition. As discussed in previous blogs, chronic ear issues are most commonly due to pre-existing allergic skin disease, sometimes affecting other areas of the body as well. Most commonly these are due to inhalant/contact allergies and/or food allergies.
In dogs with floppy ears like Cocker Spaniels or Retrievers, anatomic issues can play a role as well. And while I will often recommend a great natural product like Zymox Otic with Hydrocortisone to help with chronic ear issues, it is important to have pets with chronic ear issues examined by a veterinarian so appropriate lab testing can be done which can help better guide specific treatment. This may include allergy workups, as well as the importance of making a swab of discharge from affected ears to examine under a microscope, which helps guide specific therapy. Veterinarians who perform this simple procedure (called a cytology exam) of the ears are better able to manage long term ear issues with appropriate prescription topical and/or oral medications.
In some pets, an ear culture is needed to see if resistant bacteria or yeast are involved as well. In those pets whose ears are too painful for guardians to medicate the ears at home, an ear flush done under mild sedation also may be needed at the veterinarian to get treatment back on the right path.