| Ear Infections
Ear mites, bacteria or yeast that multiply in the ear, particularly in damp environments, cause infections of the external ear canal.
What are ear mites? Ear mites are tiny, spider-like creatures that can be difficult to detect but are recognizable by the debris they leave behind (a brownish black discharge resembling coffee grounds). Ear mites are contagious.
Many ear infections are secondary to other problems, such as allergies or skin conditions. In some cases, an ear infection results if a foreign body gets inside the ear or from a tumor.
Some of the signs of an ear infection are: foul odor coming from the ear, frequent scratching and shaking of the head, tenderness or irritability in the ear, redness or inflammation or black, yellow or cream discharge from the ear.
One of the best ways to prevent ear infections is to avoid prolonged wetness in your pet's ears. Be sure to dry the insides of their ears after a bath or a swim.
Ear infections are much more common in dogs than in cats. Some dog breeds are more susceptible, such as cocker spaniels, miniature poodles and other floppy eared dogs. Air does not dry these breeds' ears naturally, as it does in dogs with erect ears.
Your veterinarian must diagnose the problem, and will prescribe the appropriate medication.
Nearly all ear infections that are diagnosed are curable. Early detection is important.