Ear Disorders in Dogs and Cats
Contents:
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    Ear Mite Infestation 
    Hematoma of the Ear Flap 
    Outer Ear Infection 
    Middle Ear Infection 
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Ear Mite Infestation
General Information:
Ear mites are tiny white parasites that live in the ear canals of dogs and cats.  These mites are highly contagious and frequently infest whole litters of puppies and kittens.  If more than one dog or cat is present in the home, and one is found to be infected, then all should be carefully examined for ear mites.
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Severe ear infections may develop as a result of injury to the ear canal by the mites.  A dark, crusty material is found in the affected ear canal.  Head shaking and ear scratching are common signs. 
In many cases the ears require a thorough cleaning before treatment.  An anesthetic may be necessary in severe cases to allow complete cleaning.  The mites can crawl to other parts of your petís body.  Therefore, a topical insecticide may be prescribed, depending upon your petís age, state of health and severity of the disease.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Hematoma of the Ear Flap
General Information:
Hematoma of the ear flap is an accumulation of blood between the cartilage and skin of the ear flap.  It is caused by damage to the cartilage from vigorous repeated head shaking or scratching at the ears with the back feet.  Occasionally the damage results from the ear striking a sharp edge during head shaking.
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The most common underlying causes of head shaking are ear infections, ear mites and fleas.
In most instances, general anesthesia is necessary for withdrawal of the hematoma fluid and surgical repair.  Treatment of ear infections and/or mites is necessary to allow healing and prevent recurrence of the conditions that caused the hematoma.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Otitis Externa (outer ear infection)
General Information:
Otitis externa is an inflammation of the external ear canal that begins at the outside opening of the ear and extends inward to the eardrum.  Causes include bacteria, fungi, ear mites, accumulation of wax, thick or matted hair in the ear canal, debris, impaired drainage of the ear, and infections from elsewhere in the body.
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The ears of dogs (especially those with pendulous ears) and cats are ideal for the growth of bacteria and fungi because they are moist and warm and contain wax and other debris.  The funnel shape of the ear canal effectively traps debris, further complicating treatment of infections.
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General anesthesia is often necessary to allow thorough cleansing of the ear canal and to obtain specimens for bacterial cultures.  The longer the infection has been present, the more difficult it is to clear up.  In severe long-standing infections, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem.  To be effective, the medication must contact microorganisms or mites deep in the ear canal.  To achieve this contact, the canal must be kept clear of debris, and the medication must be placed deep within the canal.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur:


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Otitis Media (middle ear infection)
General Information:
Otitis media (infection of the middle ear) usually results from infection of the external ear canal spreading into the middle ear.  Foreign bodies, debris, ulceration or improper cleaning may rupture the ear drum, allowing bacteria to reach the middle ear.  Signs of middle ear infection include odor, discharge, ear scratching, head shaking and head tilt.  The dog may appear to be sick.
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In some cases, prolonged (4-6 weeks) treatment may be necessary.  Laboratory tests, x-ray pictures, and surgery may be needed to correct the problem.
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Notify your veterinarian if any of the following occur: