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Your dog or cat can probably hear you opening a bag of treats from the other side of the house, but your pet may still have an ear problem. If you are like most dog or cat owners, you take very good care of your pet but you may overlook the care of your companion’s ears. Many pet owners avoid taking care of their pet’s ears out of fear of hurting their animal friend, but actively searching for common ear problems can improve the health – and even save the life – of your beloved cat or dog. Fortunately, our veterinarians at Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital can help you care for your pet’s ears.
The twisty, curvy and furry interior of your pet’s ears make it easy for parasites, bacteria, dirt and debris to hide. It also makes it difficult for bugs and debris to escape, potentially irritating and damaging the delicate tissues lining the inside of your pet’s ear canals. Checking your pet’s ears weekly for dirt, infestation and irritation helps you stay ahead of small problems before they develop into major health problems.
If your pet’s ears seem dirty, apply a liquid ear cleaning solution to a clean cotton ball or piece of gauze and gently lift away any dirt or debris you see. Do not use a scrubbing motion and do not attempt to clean your pet’s ear canal, as this can cause further irritation or damage.
During your weekly ear checks, look for signs and symptoms of common ear conditions that can affect your dog or cat. Ear mites, a type of high contagious parasite, are common among pets. Signs of ear mites include excessive itching and debris in your pet’s ear that looks like coffee grounds.
Bacteria, yeast, and debris in the ear canal may cause an infection. Signs of an ear infection include itching, redness, swelling, foul odor, and bloody, yellow or brown discharge from the ear. Hair loss or crusted, scabby skin may appear. Your pet may rub his ears on carpet or furniture, tilt or shake his head, lose his balance, or walk in circles. Left untreated, your pet may lose his hearing.
Dogs and cats are vulnerable to the barbed seed heads of the foxtail plant, which can work their way into any part of your pet’s body, from her nose to a patch of skin on her hindquarter. The foxtail plant, a common weed in Portland and other areas in the Western half of the United States, can cause serious infection in your dog or cat. The veterinarians at Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital use a special scope and tiny tools to locate and remove even the tiniest foxtail seeds from your pet’s ears.
Learn how to monitor your pet’s ears and spot small problems before they become big health issues. Make an appointment with Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital for more information on caring for your pet’s ears.
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