This is one of the most common diseases that vets working with pet animals face. The main area it affects is the external ear duct. This can cause great pain in the animal’s ear and as a consequence it doesn’t stop scratching itself and shaking its head. This is due to the inner part of the ear getting hot and it will eventually exude a bad discharge.

There are some breeds of dogs that are predisposed to Otitis; especially those with hanging ears and abundant hair inside of them, like the Cocker Spaniel, Poodle or Ihasa Apsos, although this disease is very common in all breeds of cats and dogs. There are also other predisposing or accelerating factors that causes Otitis to develop, such as stress or any other circumstance that reduces the immunity system. Excess humidity (due to baths, for instance) inside the ear can also cause Otitis.

Otitis is usually a very painful condition that needs immediate veterinarian assistance as it is very important to prevent this developing into a chronic state, because if this happens, the bacteria causing this infection become more resistant, causing severe damage in the ear duct, which can become almost closed as a consequence of the inflammation. In these cases, the treatment is very difficult.

The animal must be taken into the veterinarian clinic when the first symptoms arise, and medication with products for humans must be avoided. The first thing the professional will do is to find out if this is Otitis or not, since the presence of foreign bodies inside the ear duct or certain allergic reactions may cause similar symptoms. Once the Otitis is diagnosed, we must look for the cause. Generally, this is an infection caused by bacteria, fungus and yeast, although is very common to find Parasitic Otitis caused by mites, especially in cats. The nature of the infection can be usually diagnosed by the look of the secretion, although it is common to do cultures and anti-biograms in order to know exactly which the cause is and which is the most efficient treatment.

The most important thing to bear in mind is to avoid Otitis becoming chronic, because in spite of being a minor condition, it is really disturbing for the animal, and as we said, very difficult to be cured when chronic. The only answer in these cases is surgery and a long course of treatment to cure this problem.

Article written and supplied by Paco,

Clinica Veterinaria Puerto de Mazarrón.