The Most Common Reason Pets Got to the Vet..
From: Dr Andrew Jones
Author: Veterinary Secrets Revealed
Re: TOP 10 Reasons Dogs and Cats got to the Vet..
Good morning Veterinary Secrets Readers.
I spent another long weekend at the clinic..Summer brings
in many common emergencies.
In fact there are some pretty common reasons that I see dogs
and cats, yet many of those sick pets could be treated at home
with some natural home remedies- especially if you were to catch them
The MOST common reason that I see pets in my practice is due to:
That’s right, plain old infections of the ear.
This is very prevalent in the summer, where we have a higher
incidence of allergies, and dogs swimming, getting water in their
ears and getting them infected.
Cats present at the clinic with ear mites, and this is much more
common in kittens. In fact it is so common that we are treating
all the animal shelter kittens for ear mites before they are
So here is a short excerpt about ear infections..
Signs of ear disease
Every day we see dogs who have problems with their ears.
Signs of these ear problems include:
* Scratching or rubbing of ears and head
* Discharge in the ears
* Redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal
* Shaking of the head or tilting it to one side
* Pain around the ears
* Changes in behavior such as depression or irritability
Ear disease is one of the most common conditions we see in pets.
The medical name for inflammation of the outer ear canal is ‘otitis externa.’
It is estimated that up to 20% of the dog population is affected by
Causes of ear disease
Dogs can have ear problems for many different reasons. When we see
a dog with ear disease we need to think about the possibility of:
* Allergies such as atopy or food allergies
* Parasites – ear mites
* Microorganisms – bacteria and yeast
* Foreign bodies, e.g., plant awns
* Hormonal abnormalities, e.g., hypothyroidism
* The ear environment, e.g., excess moisture and ear anatomy
* Hereditary or immune conditions, and tumors
Allergies: Dogs with allergies, either to food or something they inhale,
often have ear problems. As a matter of fact, the ear problem may be the
first sign of the allergy. Since the allergy changes the environment
within the ear, we sometimes see secondary infections with bacteria or
yeast. If we just treat the infection, we are not getting to the root of
the problem. We need to treat the allergies too.
Parasites: The ear mite, Otodectes cynotis, is a common cause of ear
problems in cats, but less common in dogs. Some dogs are hypersensitive
to the mites, however, and the resultant itching can be intense. These
dogs may scratch so much they severely traumatize the ear.
Bacteria and Yeast: Numerous types of bacteria and the yeast, Malassezia
pachydermatis, cause ear infections. The normal, healthy ear has a good
defense against these organisms, but if the ear environment changes due
to allergies, hormone abnormalities, or moisture, the bacteria and yeast
can greatly multiply and break down these defenses.
Foreign Bodies: Plant awns, those little “stick-tights” that cling to our
clothes and our dogs’ fur, can sometimes enter the ear canal. Their presence
causes irritation, the dog scratches, and before you know it we have a
traumatized, infected ear So when you groom your dog after a walk in the woods,
be sure to check the ears, too.
Trauma: As we described above, self-inflicted trauma to the ear due to
scratching can exacerbate ear problems.
Hormonal Abnormalities: Deficiencies or excesses of various hormones can
result in skin and ear problems. Thyroid hormone, glucocorticoids produced
by the adrenal gland, and sex hormones all influence the health of the skin
Ear Environment: Bacteria and yeast could not ask for a better environment
to live in than a warm, dark, moist ear canal. Dogs with heavy, floppy ears
such as Cocker Spaniels may have ear problems due to the excess moisture that
builds up in their ears.
Other Causes: There are various rare hereditary diseases that occur in
different breeds or lines and affect the ears. These include dermatomyositis
in Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, and primary seborrhea in Shar Peis and West
Highland White Terriers. Squamous cell carcinomas, melanomas, and other tumors
can be seen in the ears.
Checking a dog’s earBecause there are many potential causes of ear problems,
we cannot just say it is a bacterial infection, dispense antibiotics, and
it will go away. Often, more work is needed. Your veterinarian can use an
otoscope to look down into the ear canal and determine the amount of
inflammation present, if the tympanic membrane (ear drum) is involved,
and if there are any foreign bodies, tumors, or other potential causes of
the problem. Swabs of the ear can be taken, smeared on a microscope slide,
stained, and examined for bacteria, yeast, and mites. A thorough history and
physical exam may help determine if this could be a hormonal, allergic, or
hereditary problem. If these are suspected, further diagnostic testing would
be needed. If a bacterial infection does not respond to the first antibiotic
therapy, a culture and sensitivity may need to be performed to select a
The treatment is going to depend on what caused the ear problem and what
secondary conditions are there as a result. Antibiotics may be used for bacterial
infections and antifungals for yeast infections.
In my book and course I give you specific natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal
Steroids such as dexamethasone are often included in these preparations to reduce
the amount of inflammation in the ear. In may cases we can avoid steroids with
a natural cleanser, BUT if they are needed TOPICALLY is the safest way to give them.
Ear problems caused by a systemic disease such as a hormone abnormality or allergy
must include a therapy that treats the whole dog, such as hormonal replacement
or allergy testing and hyposensitization (immunotherapy).
I always advise looking a hypo-allergenic food trial. At least feed a
more natural diet with less potential allergens.
Allergies: Allergies are commonly treated with regular ear cleaning with an
ear cleaning solution, antihistamines, and fatty acid supplements.
Sometimes corticosteroids are needed. These may be given in an oral or
injectable form, or they can be applied topically. Allergy testing and
immunotherapy (hyposensitzation) may be the best way to cure the ear problem.
Ear mites: Ear mites can cause a dry, dark, crumbly debris in the ear that
resembles coffee grounds. For this condition, ear cleaning followed by an
ear medication to kill mites will eliminate the problem, although the
treatment may need to be continued over several weeks depending upon the
Yeast: Yeast can cause severe ear problems. We usually observe a brown waxy
exudate and a bad odor. Daily cleaning of the ears will help, but often these
infections are difficult to treat, and special medications need to be given
since antibiotics do not kill yeast. If you suspect a yeast infection in your
dog?????s ears, consult your veterinarian.
I give some very specific remedies for Yeast in my book.
Bacterial Infections: Bacterial infections can also have a bad odor and often
have a more yellowish exudate. If it is a severe or chronic condition, ear
cleaning alone will not take care of the problem and antibiotics will
almost always be necessary. Again, consult your veterinarian. Ear infections
of the canal, if severe, can spread to the middle and inner ear, so prompt
attention to the problem is always best.
Regardless of the cause of the ear disease, we must always keep the ear
Your dog?????s ear is more L-shaped than yours, and debris loves to
collect at the corner of the L. To remove this debris, fill your dog?????s ear
canal with a good ear cleaner. Ear cleaners should be slightly acidic but
should NOT sting. Massage the base of the ear for 20-30 seconds to soften
and release the debris. Wipe out the loose debris and excess fluid with a
cotton ball. Repeat this procedure until you see no more debris. Depending
on your dog?????s ear condition, you may have to start out doing this twice a day.
Cotton applicator swabs can be used to clean the inside of the earflap and
the part of the ear canal you can see. They should NOT be used farther down
in the ear canal since that tends to pack debris in the ear canal, rather
than removing it.
Some ear problems are so painful, the dog must be anesthetized to do a good
job of cleaning the ears. You may find your dog does not like to have his ears
cleaned because it is uncomfortable. Talking to him during the process, stopping
momentarily to give him a treat if he is doing well (we do not want to reward
fussiness!) and doing something fun afterwards may all help.
After the ear is clean, let the dog shake his head and allow some time for
the ears to dry. Then you can apply any ear medication that was prescribed.
Preventing ear disease
The key to healthy ears is to keep them clean. Check your dog?????s ears weekly.
A slight amount of waxy buildup may be present in normal ears. If your dog
swims a lot, has pendulous ears, or a history of ear disease, routine cleaning
(often once to three times per week) is recommended. Use the same procedure as
described above. Excess hair around the ear can be clipped to allow more air flow. Treat any underlying condition that predisposes your dog to ear problems.
Remember, if your dog is showing severe discomfort, the ears have a bad smell,
or the ear canals look very abnormal, do not delay in contacting your
veterinarian. If your dog has a ruptured or weakened eardrum, some ear
cleansers and medications could do more harm than good.
P.S. If you are wanting some natural home remedies that you can
use at home to treat your dog’s ear infection check out my course
or membership site at:
It’s Your Pet. Heal Them At Home!
Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
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