Ear problems

IT IS difficult to talk about ear problems in our pets without understanding a little of the anatomy of the ear.

In simple terms the ear consists of the pinna (or flap), the external ear canal, ear drum, middle ear and inner ear - see the diagram below for further details of these structures.

Thankfully the majority of our pets have healthy ears but when problems do occur, most of these are associated with the external ear canal.

Disease of this area is technically called otitis externa (or canker).

In the healthy ear, the opening to the external ear canal is lined with healthy looking pink skin, with a fairly wide opening to the external ear canal.

The major signs of otitis externa include head shaking, and pain and redness of the external ear canal.

Additionally, a discharge may be present.

Causes of otitis externa commonly include ear mites and bacterial and fungal infections.

Additionally - particularly in the summer months - grass seeds may become trapped in the external ear canal causing a sudden onset of head shaking.

If you would like any further information or an examination of your pet's ears - please contact us to arrange a suitable time.

It is worth being on the lookout for the grass seeds (awns) of the meadow grasses.

These are encountered whilst out on walks and commonly work their way into pads or become trapped in dogs ears, usually causing severe head shaking.

In view of this, thorough inspection of the coat for grass awns is strongly recommended following walks.