Summer Ear Infections

Coming into the summer, you need to be aware of some ear issues your pets could have. In dogs, yeast infections caused by Malassezia pachydermatis(yeast) organisms are extremely common. This is a normal yeast that lives on the skin, but with excess moisture entrapment or inflammation, this yeast can multiply and cause a greasy, brownish/grey discharge. The symptoms are head shaking, pawing of the ears, smell or odour, and head tilting or rubbing of the face on the floor when this infection causes discomfort. Seasonal allergies will cause more of a flare-up during this time of year. A good ear wash such as Otoflush® is a must to keep at home to clean out the debris that you can see. Ideally, it is best to clean the ears before they get overrun with yeast.
If, however, the problems persist, or if there is pain or hypersensitivity when touching the ears, bring your dog to the clinic for an appointment to have the ear canals checked. There could be a ruptured ear drum causing a persistent middle ear infection that would need specific medication to resolve.

For cats, the organism that most afflicts the ears is Otodectes cyanotis(ear mites). This causes otitis externa (inflammation of the outer ear canal). You may see a discharge from the ear.
The primary reason for this infestation is not keeping up with flea treatment. Most flea treatments will cover ear mites. Make sure to keep up with regular flea treatments.
If there is an ear infection, despite keeping on top of flea treatment, there is a possibility of atopy or food sensitivity. Less common reasons could be foreign bodies, ticks, or polyps in the ear canal.

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Kohimarama Vets

325 Kohimarama Road
St Heliers, Auckland 1071