A New Year and a New Puppy or Kitten?
Otitis is a term used to describe inflammation of the ear in cats and dogs, as a result of factors such as skin diseases, parasites and allergies, as well as other predisposing and perpetuating factors. In this factsheet, you’ll find a wide range of information about the condition, including which breeds are at risk of developing Otitis, causes and attributing factors, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. But, first things first, what exactly is Otitis?
Which Breeds are Predisposed to Otitis?
Unfortunately, some breeds tend to have a predisposition to Otitis. This does not mean that such breeds are guaranteed to develop Otitis throughout their lifetime, but they are at a higher risk of developing the disease. These breeds include:
On the other hand, breeds with the lowest prevalence to Otitis include:
What Causes Otitis in Dogs and Cats?
Otitis can be caused by a number of factors and other conditions which cause inflammation of the skin. Below you’ll find specific information about primary, predisposing, and perpetuating factors which may cause or be an attributing factor to ear disease.
Symptoms of Otitis in Dogs and Cats
Unfortunately, you can’t visibly see inflammation in the ear canals of cats and dogs, however, there are a number of signs and symptoms to look out for which usually indicate that something isn’t right. These may include:
- Shaking of the head
- Signs of pain
- Unusual, unpleasant odours
- Redness of the ear flap or entrance to the canal
- Ulceration or discharge at the entrance to the canal
How is Otitis Diagnosed?
To diagnose Otitis, veterinary dermatologists will usually conduct a thorough history alongside a clinical examination using otoscopy which allows them to see into the ear and assess the condition of the ear. This may need to take place under anaesthesia to allow use of video otoscopy for a more detailed assessment.
The ear canal is checked for stenosis, erythema, erosion/ulceration, glandular hyperplasia, exudate, and masses, whilst the tympanic membrane is examined for bulging, rupture, or changes in colour. Sometimes cleaning or flushing may be required to be able to see the tympanic membrane.
Your vet will also take samples which can then be used for cytology. Cytology is the microscopic examination of cells, which helps vets to understand what is causing your pet’s inflammation. It is usually minimally invasive, but can go a long way in making accurate diagnoses, and for informing treatment.
How is Otitis Treated?
Once the veterinary dermatologist has confirmed the diagnosis, they will then be able to recommend a suitable treatment plan. However, they must first have an understanding of what is causing the condition as one of the key treatment methods is to manage underlying causes. Another key method (both may be used in conjunction) is to prescribe antimicrobials or anti-inflammatories, but this will depend on the underlying cause of the condition.
To help matters along, pets will also be treated for the symptoms of Otitis, such as pain and itching, and the vet will often demonstrate how to effectively and safely clean pets’ ears, as this will be essential in managing the condition.