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Hear All About It – Protecting Ears
With Otitis externa, or chronic inflammation of the ear, being the largest claimed condition in Australia, Pet Insurance Australia takes a look at how you can prevent problems occurring in your dog and the reason why seeking help from a veterinary dermatologist is so important.
“In 2018 Otitis Externa topped the list for the top 10 claims in Australia,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “For many Australian dog owners, ear care is a major concern when it comes to the health and wellbeing of their pet.”
Dr Robert Hilton, a practitioner in the field of veterinary dermatology in the Melbourne and Geelong area, agrees that ear health is an important aspect of responsible pet ownership. Chronic and severe disease makes up a significant part of his referral practice
“Chronic changes in the ear canal leading to loss of self-cleaning and perpetuation of one infection after the other,” he says. “Most common primary cause is allergic dermatitis then the disease become self-perpetuating has chronic infection which repeats itself due to loss of self-cleaning.”
If your pet is suffering from a possible ear condition is it important you seek veterinary treatment quickly.
“It’s important that your pet is diagnosed and treated quickly,” Crighton says. “Follow up care is also vital to protect your pets ears from a continuing problem that can lead to narrowing of the ear canal and ear drum damage. The condition also causes a huge amount of discomfort to your pet.”
“Middle ear disease is a serious complication,” Dr Hilton adds. “Once the cycle of infection and loss of homeostasis is set up, the ear disease will progress, independent of the primary cause – often allergy – that initiated it.”
- Head shaking
- Ear scratching
- Discharge from ears
- Bad odour
- Whining when ear is touched
More extreme symptoms include:
- Head tilting
- Balance and coordination issues
- Scaling inside ears
- Hearing loss
“If your pet is suffering from reoccurring issues it’s best to seek the advice from a Veterinary Dermatologist,” Crighton recommends. “Correct and early treatment and prevention is key, as well as regular check-ups.”
Otitis Externa affects the outa-ear of the dog while Otitis Media is the middle ear or just behind the eardrum. The third and more complicated condition is Otitis Interna.
“For all pet owners it’s important to try and find the source of the problem, which in many cases is caused by an allergy,” Crighton says. “With all ear conditions only seek professional advice on cleaning, treatments and prevention.”