Ear Infections - Otitis Externa
Low numbers of bacteria and yeast are normally found in
the external ear canals of dogs and cats.
Disturbances of the normal flora allow bacteria and yeast organisms to
overgrow the ear canal. A thorough
search for an underlying cause should always be made. The most common cause of otitis
externa in cats is infection with ear mites. Dogs also are commonly affected. Typically, there is black ear debris of
“coffee ground” consistency, although in some animals, otic
discharge may be minimal to absent. Dogs
may be predisposed to recurring ear infections if they have heavy, pendulous
ears or excess hair in the ear canals.
The accumulation of cerumen (ear wax) and
moisture from poor air circulation predisposes these dogs to secondary ear
infections. Yeast otitis
may occur in dogs that swim or get water in their ears during their bath. Dogs with allergic diseases such as atopy, (an allergey affecting the
feet), and food allergy are prone to develop recurring ear infections. Typically, the inner surface of the ear
becomes inflamed and the dog may scratch or shake its ears. In chronic cases, the ear canals become
inflamed and secondary yeast otitis may develop. Other causes of otitis
externa include fungal infection, sis, foreign
bodies, and tumorsa.
Diagnostic evaluations routinely includes an otoscopic exam, microscopic exam of ear debris, and gram
stain of ear exudate.
If you have any questions about the health of your pet,
call us at 598 2512.