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Cat Ear Health

Jul 15, 2008
Ear infections and other ear related issues are the leading cause of irritation for your dogs and cats. In fact, vets often see dogs and cats with ear problems that their owners didn't know about. When you have a dog or cat, it is imperative that you check their ears on a weekly if not daily basis. Dogs tend to be more prone to ear problems because we let them outside more often, whereas cats are often indoor pets. A vet will hardly see a day without any ear related issues for dogs and cats. Most pets have itchy, reddened, bloody or crusty ears. In some cases, the ears can be infected to the point of swelling. Since these problems are frequent, it is important that all owners learn how to spot trouble and what causes that trouble.

If you are up on pet hygiene you may be able to see these little parasites before they decide to take up residence in the inner ear. Parasites, especially bacteria are very small. It is best to use a magnifying glass, and you may still miss them. Another leading cause of bacteria in the ear is water.

In rare cases, a blood vessel on the ear can burst to allow a large amount of blood to congeal in the ear. Surgery usually takes care of this outer issue, but this doesn't resolve the inner ear. The inner ear can be affected with several things. Water in the ear can be a main cause. The bacteria that live around water can get into the ear. Typically, a dog is more prone to water issues because they tend to swim, but if you bath your cat, the water could cause damage if it gets in the canal. The water has to get out somehow, usually through evaporation. However, if the environment doesn't allow for evaporation, the bacteria or other organisms can cause an infection in the inner ear. This happens when the water remains in the ear longer than it should. One of the reasons it can be detrimental is the growing of more bacteria. Bacteria replicates extremely fast.

So how do you treat an ear infection? Well, first you need to know that there is one. Then you can treat the ear infection with topical ointments that will kill bacteria. There are also sprays available if that works better for you. When the ear tissue is swollen then you need a little more help than just ointment. Antibiotics administered orally will help to gain control of a deeper infection. Most dogs and cats are going to be on this medication for ten days. In some cases, the topical ointment or spray can cause further damage. It is important that when you use these medications you clean out the ear canal by flushing. Flushing means that you place water at pressure to flush the puss and bacteria out of the ear. Flushing should be done by the vet. Most dogs and cats will not sit still long enough and get rather irritated with the procedures, so sedation works better.

The last method of helping your pet is surgery. If the other options have not worked or your pet has seen a great deal of infections in their lives there could be an underlying cause that you don't realize. Some dog or cat ears can grow with a defect or just have a small inner ear. This can cause a build up of debris like bacteria. The scar tissue which can result from multiple ear infections can also trap the bacteria to the point of causing severe pain for your pet. When this happens surgery to remove the scar tissue or to correct the imperfection in the ear canal is suggested. Your vet should explain the entire procedure to you and the benefits you pet can gain. With most dogs or cats after the surgery and healing process you can see a significant change. First you dog or cat will no longer be in pain. They will be happier after the surgery. They may also have an improvement regarding their hearing. They may answer you more often or come when you call at a softer voice.

Dogs and cats tend to heal rather quickly from surgery and you can usually notice an improvement within a few weeks with their hearing as well as behavior. Most animals that have pain will have an altered temperament. This can be a sign that something is wrong. Even though the dog or cat may have surgery there is still a potential for other infections. It is up to you are the owner to make sure you are providing the best health care and proper visits to the vet's office. Proper care can include frequent washing of the ear surface especially after a day outdoors.
About the Author
David Lee is the owner & designer of several pet sites. Find info on health like cat kidney disease, or accessories like cat furniture, cat trees and pet steps or for dog lovers German Shepherd training
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