Dottor Paolo Mascaretti Dermatologo veterinario a Torino e in Piemonte
Dottor Paolo MascarettiDermatologo veterinarioa Torino e in Piemonte

Otitis : tips for treatment and prevention

  •  Ear infections should not be overlooked: that's because they are very painful for the animal, and because    chronic ear infections often become proliferative and, if that happens, the only effective treatment is surgery.   Moreover, in most cases of purulent otitis, the tympanic membrane is perforated with onset of middle ear inflammation, much more difficult to treat and with possible neurological symptoms.
  • Therapies must be performed accurately: follow the instructions of the veterinary surgeon regarding doses and duration of treatment. If you have any doubt about the practical details of execution or other, ask your vet.
  •  Do not overtreat:  do not increase the dose or frequency and not extend duration indiscriminately. You        could make the situation worse. Do not use products recommended by anyone other than the Vet.
  • Topical therapies and ear cleaning :

        Drops: apply them trying to make them "fall" into the ear canal > immediately after, block the ear with
        the other hand to prevent from shaking his head > massaged for a few seconds, gently, the base of the ear

        so drops can pour down in depth.
        Cleanings: are often useful both before therapy (to make it more effective), both as prevention of
        relapses.  A truly thorough ear flushing can only be done by a veterinary surgeon (usually under anesthesia),

        but, in a less accurate way, can be done by the owner too.  Put gently the recomended ear cleaning liquid into

        the ear (warm), without penetrating deeply and avoiding air to enter>  immobilise the ear and massage it 

        from the base to the outside > then, let the dog shake his head and eject liquid > dry with paper the excess

        of fluid and debris coming out > repeat, if necessary, from the beginning.  If in doubt ask yor vet to show you 

        the technique.

  • Try to eliminate or minimize predisposing factors : almost always otitis are the consequence of an underlying problem.  The most common disease that predisposes to recurrent ear infections in dogs is allergy (see factsheets about it).    Some dog breeds have ears prone to ear infections for various anatomical reasons (eg. hair growing in the ear canal; pendulous ears; congenitally narrow ducts) > in these breeds ears should be monitored very carefully by the  owners.     Water (sea\ river etc, cleaning baths) penetrating into the ears predisposes the onset of otitis > try to avoid it; put a big cotton ball before shampooing; apply drying medications.  A common cause of acute otitis in summer are vegetal foreign bodies (awns) > try avoid infested lawns and check ears after the walk.
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Paolo Mascaretti, Dermatologo Veterinario a Torino