Why is my dog scratching its ear?

Ear disease is very common, and we see dogs and cats with anything from a mild to a severe infection.

Ear disease can get worse very quickly, causing damage the ear drum. There might also be a foreign body down there, such as a grass seed, or inflammation and irritation might be being caused by ear mites.

The sooner we investigate, the better!

It’s very dangerous to put ear medication into the ear if the ear drum isn’t intact,

and if a foreign body is present, it must be removed very carefully.

At Woodham Lane and Chertsey Vets, we have specialist equipment,

which means we can examine the ear canal and the ear drum properly, and can even show you a close up picture of the ear drum!

We’ve had two patients recently, who both presented with an itchy ear.

When we examined the first patient, under sedation, we found that he had an ear infection, lots of wax present, and a ruptured ear drum.

The second patient, who had identical symptoms, had an ear canal full of wax. When we examined a sample of this ear wax under the microscope, we found lots and lots of mites crawling around!

(This is a photo looking down the microscope, the red/brown material is wax, and the the little critter you can see with legs on the left, is an ear mite!)

After the correct treatment, both of these patients are now fully healed and back to normal, but they needed a completely different treatment plan, because the cause of the itchy ear was completely different.

So if you notice your dog or cat shaking their head or scratching at their ear

or you see a discharge, or sniff an unusual smell; the important thing is to get it checked as soon as possible, as earlier treatment means less pain and discomfort, and a quicker return to normal.

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