By Patricia Stephens, Owner, FloridaPets.net
Through the years we've shared our lives with many dogs and a few cats, some purebreds, most "mixed blessings," as I like to call the ones of dubious ancestry. We've faced down dog and cat fleas, ticks, heartworm treatment for one dog we found not far from our house, emotional issues due to past abandonment, abuse or neglect, seizures, various cancers, kidney disease (of both dogs and cats), chronic upset tummies, sudden aggression between two females who've lived together for over six years (which I will cover in a future blog post), eye infections, cataracts, hematomas, and some issues I can't even remember. But never stinky ears...until Lulu arrived.
She came to us six years ago through a Labrador rescue group in Central Florida and quickly became a beloved member of our family. Ear cleaning has always been part of everyone's general hygiene and Lulu received the same. One day we noticed her pawing her left ear like it was itchy or painful. We visited the vet and left with a diagnosis of ear infection. We learned that some breeds are more prone to such issues, including those with long ears, like Basset hounds, those who enjoy being in the water, like Lulu and her lab cousins, or those with hairy inner ear flaps, like poodles. The vet told us ear infections can be caused by food or grass allergies, ear mites, foreign bodies, or they might just be hereditary. She said we could help keep the infection from recurring by using a couple over the counter solutions in Lulu's ears on a regular basis, a plan which to this day has been successful. By the way, a friend of ours said her cat also suffers from ear infections at least twice a year caused by allergies, according to her vet.
Besides pawing or scratching the ear as with Lulu, dogs can have other symptoms that might indicate an ear infection like head shaking, loss of balance, even a bloody discharge from the affected ear. All this said I am not a veterinarian nor do I pretend to be one online. If you suspect your dog or cat might have an ear infection, don't delay getting veterinarian care. Left untreated, an ear infection can become extremely painful for your pet and possibly result in loss of hearing.