Ear Problems in Dogs and Cats

Floppy, fluffy, pointy… whichever shape they come in, our pets can experience problems with their ears throughout their lifetime.

Some are common ailments that may happen frequently, others less so and could be indicative of underlying conditions.

Here are some of the signs of ear problems in dogs and cats that you need to look out for which may require a visit to your vet for advice.

Cat and dog party! Ear problems in pets

How can you tell if your pet has an ear problem?

Some signs are more obvious than others, but there may be an issue with your pet’s ears if:-

  • They are excessively scratching and rubbing their ears
  • Frequent shaking of head or ear twitching
  • Bleeding from the ear canal
  • Loss of balance
  • Ears appear reddened
  • There is abnormal or increased levels of discharge from the ears (it’s usual to have a small amount of wax in the ears)
  • Ears have become smelly

What can cause common ear and eye problems?

  1. Breed of dog – Certain dog breeds are predisposed to ear complaints, so if you have one of these breeds, this is an area you may have to pay more attention to on an ongoing basis. Dogs with long floppy (‘pendulous’) ears such as Spaniels, Setters or Bloodhounds are at particular risk, as are dogs with hairy ear canals such as Miniature Poodles and Schnauzers.
  2. Allergies –  Ear problems are often the first signs that your pet may actually have a skin allergy. Allergies to such things as fleas, pollen or foods can cause the lining of the ear to become itchy.
  3. Ear Mites – These parasites live on the skin’s surface, particularly in the ear canal. They’re transferred between animals on contact and eggs and mites can persist for several months as the life cycle of a mite takes approximately 21 days to complete.

How can you treat ear problems?

It’s not generally advisable to keep poking and prodding around in ears, but if you do notice some dirt or wax, then products like Douxo’s Ear Cleaner (available from Animed Direct) can help.

You should be aware of your pet’s general day to day behaviour and if you see some of the signs outlined above starting, or upon inspection, their ears are different to normal, contact your vet for advice.

If you have a breed prone to ear infections, your vet will advise you on how best to manage their ear health on a routine basis. Providing there is no infection or allergy, there are regular ear health products your vet may discuss with you.

If your cat or dog has ear mites, they will require treatment which could last for a few weeks. Your vet will prescribe something to get rid of those critters.

Allergies may take a little longer to identify, but vets may start by suggesting a change in diet to a sensitive skin recipe and offer some immediate relief and/or treatment if your pet has caused damage to their skin.

Looking for pet insurance?

Pet insurance can help you to cover veterinary fees in the event of unexpected illness or injury. With average claims for poorly ears standing at £572.38, it’s worth considering putting cover in place (MiPet Cover claims – June 2020-June 2021).

From ears to tail, we’ve got them covered with our LifetimeFlex lifetime pet insurance which offers up to £12,000 in vet fee cover. Your can flex your cover to suit your pet’s needs…and your budget! You can get a pet insurance quote online in minutes, or speak to our friendly team on 0808 164 8000.

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