A frequent question that I get from clients is if what maintenance does my pets ears require. There are loads of products out there to treat and clean ears but in the majority of cases my advice is if it isn’t broken don’t fix it.
In the main your pet’s ears do not require anything done to them. If there is some debris on the inner side of the pinna (ear flap) then just wipe it with some wool or gauze, do not start putting drops in the ear unless you are advised to do so by a professional. If you irrigate an ear and don’t do it properly you could end up doing more damage than good. You could push a plug into the ear canal that could then become infected if moistened by an agent and then we could have a problem.
If you dog has hairs inside its ears then these need to be plucked, cutting them makes them grow back with more vigour, so it important to pluck these ears regularly, with regular plucking the procedure becomes less uncomfortable for your pet. Common breeds with this problem are poodles, waterdogs and schnauzers.
Your pets ear canal has two sections, the more exterior vertical canal and the inner horizontal canal which is separated from the middle chamber of the ear by the ear drum (tympanic membrane). If anything nestles in the horizontal canal it could be become plugged, at this juncture the problem could escalate dramatically.
If your animal’s ears start to smell then get it seen by a vet sooner rather than later. Depending on the problem the ear could be treated with a variety of products and in severe cases will need a course of systemic antibiotics and painkillers. Getting shown on how to clean your pet’s ears properly and thoroughly is the first step in getting those ears back to normal soonest.
Some dogs and cats are prone to ear infections. In the majority of cases these are allergy based. The external ear canal is an extension of the animal’s skin. If the dog is susceptible to allergies then allergens that come to rest inside the canal will cause an allergic reaction, ears will become inflamed and produce some serous fluid, bacteria and yeast will find this fantastic medium to grow in!!!
These pets will need regular ear cleansing with proper washes; the type will depend on your specific problem and which infections your animal is prone to. Regular cleansing, and proper drying will clean out allergens from the external ear, in this way there will not be a secondary inflammatory reaction and the chances of an infection decrease dramatically.
An untreated external otitis will lead to a rupture of the tympanic membrane and will lead to a middle ear infection, connecting the middle ear to the inner ear are three small bones, if the infection damages these bones then your pets hearing will be damaged irreversibly.
In summary, don’t touch your pet’s ears unless there is a problem, if this is the case seek veterinary attention sooner rather than later, your pet’s hearing could depend on this!!!