With the warm weather, everyone is starting to spend more time outside with their pets. We continue to see many medical appointments concerning the patient's ears. We thought a post on ear infections and cleaning ears would be helpful to our clients. With the many ear appointments, we have also heard of many ways to clean the pet's ears. We would like to explain the correct way to clean the pet's ears for the health and happiness of your pet.
Is It Time To Clean Them?
Sometimes pet ears become build-up wax debris inside the canal, become irritated and reddened, or even swollen and ulcerated. There could be multiple causes of this including ear mites, ear infections, and allergies. If your pet has ear mites, the ears tend to have an excessive amount of black debris. Ear infections and allergies make your pet's ears highly irritated, red, swollen, and even ulcerated. A common way for dogs to get an ear infection in the summer is to get water in the ear canal from a bath or swimming. If the water is not removed it can become irritating to the ear and cause an ear infection.
We recommend having your pet seen for an appointment before having their ear's cleaned out as then the veterinary staff can determine the issue presented with the ears. A Veterinarian will look at the ears closely on the outside of the ear and inside the ear with an otoscope (a tool used to examine the ear canals). For further diagnostics, a veterinarian may take a small sample and look at it under the microscope to better determine what the presented issue is. If we know what is causing the ear to be irritated and or have wax build-up then we can treat the issue accordingly.
Once we have diagnosed the ear issue, we can recommend cleaning your pet's ears or perform the procedure for you. Depending on what is diagnosed, we may recommend veterinary professionals clean the pet's ears as they are trained to clean ears deep in the canal and not damage the ears.
Some dog breeds we recommend routine ear cleanings to prevent potential ear infections. Poodles and Poodle mixes are a great example of this as this breed has a trait in which hair grows inside the ear canal. This hair traps debris and moisture in the ear canal forming an ear infection. Routine ear cleanings with veterinary recommended ear cleaner is a great way to prevent ear infections.
Parts of Pet's Ears
If you will be cleaning your pet's ears you should know the three basic anatomy to your pet's ears. Knowing the anatomy of your pet's ears will lessen the chance of physical damage caused to the ears. The first part is the Pinna, also called the ear flap. This is the cone-shaped (also floppy) cartilage and skin forming the ear. Deeper in the ear is the canal. This is the hole seen by looking in the ear. The canal is commonly where ear infections are observed. The Tympanic Membrane is the third part to know. The tympanic membrane is also called the eardrum. The eardrum protects the inner ear from foreign objects and bacteria. The major function of the eardrum (hence the drum) is to sense vibration sound waves and convert the vibrations into nerve impulses that the brain can understand. If the membrane becomes damaged your pet may have trouble hearing and they may have trouble keeping their balance.
What Should Not Go In Ears
As we have mentioned, we have heard many different ways to clean your pet's ears. That means we have heard many things put in ears that should not be put in your pet's ears. Some examples are hydrogen peroxide, apple cider vinegar, alcohol, coconut oil, essential oils, and water. Placing these products in your pet's ears can damage the tympanic membrane, be highly irritating, and be caustic to the ears.
What Should Go in Ears
We recommend using veterinary recommend ears cleaners that can be found at a veterinary practice. Ear cleaners found at the veterinary clinic will be high quality, remove wax properly, and not damage your pet's ears. High-quality ear cleaners also have antibacterial or antifungal ingredients to help prevent ear infections. Certain cleaners are also better at removing wax build-up or drying ears. Veterinary professionals can recommend the best ear cleaner for your pet's ears.
How to Clean Pet's Ears
We have two different way we clean ears here at the clinic depending on the patient. We will explain both below.
Your pet's health and happiness is our priority. If your pet is having ear issues, recommend your pet to be seen by a veterinarian for this issue. The Veterinarian can then diagnose the issue and recommend the best course of treatment for you and your pet. Keeping your pet's comfort in mind, we do not recommend cleaning their ears with anything other than veterinary grade ear cleaners. Veterinary recommended ear cleaners will clean your pet's ears effectively and keep your pet happy.
If you have any questions about your pet's ears, give us a call at (605) 697-5252.