Ear disease affects at least one third of all dogs and up to ten percent of all cats at some time during their lives. These diseases are among the most painful and debilitating of all animal diseases. Fiber optic otoscopes have completely transformed the practice of otology in veterinary medicine.
What kinds of ear disease do pets get?
Chronic and acute otitis in dogs and cats is often initiated by allergies, parasites, or foreign bodies.
What are the symptoms of otitis?
Head shaking, scratching at the ears, head tilting, ear draining, difficult swallowing, and loss of balance are common symptoms.
How is ear disease diagnosed?
An ear examination begins with a physical examination, fiber optic examination, microscopic cytology, and possibly an ear culture. Advanced ear disease usually requires additional diagnostic testing under anesthesia such as deeper fiber optic examination, X-rays, and/or biopsies.
How is ear disease treated?
The specific treatment for ear disease depends on the disease diagnosed. Medications are always indicated and may include antibiotics and/or antifungals given orally and topically, ear cleaning solutions, and anti-inflammatory medications. Mild to moderately diseased ear canals and middle ears require deep fiber optic ear cleaning. Severe ear disease often requires conventional or laser surgery.