Does your dog scratch incessantly at his ear? Does his ear smell bad, or is there a discharge? Itchy ears are a common complaint in dogs, particularly among breeds like Spaniels with their long ears and Labradors that like to swim. If your dog has itchy ears you must get him to the vet as he could be suffering an infection, or have a foreign body lodged in his ear canal. If your dog suffers chronic ear infections, your vet will first determine whether or not he has an underlying allergy which may be the cause. Without identifying and treating the allergy, the ear infections will continue.
Never, ever self-medicate
It is essential that you never, ever try to treat your dog’s ear at home. Pouring something into your dog’s ear could damage his ear drum and permanently damage his hearing, no matter how gentle the home remedy claims to be. Should your vet prescribe medication, he or she will show you how to use it so that the eardrum is protected. And never, ever use earbuds on a dog.
Swollen or ‘cabbage’ ears
Sometimes a dog or cat’s ear flap will swell up. Your vet will investigate underlying causes, like ear mites or infection. Surgery is usually prescribed to rid the ear of the blood. If it isn’t drained, the ear becomes deformed or ‘cabbage-like’. This affects blood flow in the ear and can put the animal at higher risk of infections.
Given how sensitive and important our own eyes are, pet owners often become very stressed if their pets show any signs of eye discomfort yet there are only two serious eye emergencies pet owners need to worry about. They are: if the eye is hanging out of its socket, or if there is a foreign object in the eye. Any other problems must be seen by your vet as soon as possible but they are not considered emergencies.
Common eye ailments include:
- Corneal ulcer: surface injury to the eye as a result of trauma. It is usually easily treated, unless the pet owner has waited too long to bring the pet for treatment. There is no risk of sight loss.
- Dry eyes: this is a common problem among dogs that don’t produce enough tears. Symptoms include thick, yellow-green discharge. Chronic symptoms can leave scars on the eye, and the dog may go blind unless this condition is treated.
Never, ever self-medicate. You could permanently damage your pet’s eyes. The only time you apply ointment or drops to your pets is those that have been prescribed by your vet for that particular ailment.
If a cat has a sore eye or there is discharge, it is usually as a result of a viral infection like snuffles though it is always important to have it checked by your vet so that the correct treatment can be prescribed.
As with humans, your pets’ eyes and ears deserve professional attention. Sore eyes and itchy ears can be painful and irritating to your pet and the sooner you have them looked at, the better.