Ask the vet: All about the ears

RACQ, in partnership with Animal Welfare League Queensland, can help solve your pet problems.

RACQ, in partnership with Animal Welfare League Queensland, can help solve your pet problems.

Got a curly problem with your favourite pooch? Is your cat being too catty?

While animals can bring much joy into our lives, they are not always problem free. If there is an animal issue that you need help to solve, send your question to via RACQ to the Animal Welfare League Queensland experts, to find the answer.

All about the ears

Why does my four-year old dog get recurring ear infections? We practice good ear hygiene but seem to be always at the vet getting more products to help.

AWLQ experts say

Some dogs are prone to getting ear infections and there are often things an owner can do to help prevent recurrence and get on top of a recurrence when it happens. A dog that suffers allergic skin issues will often also have ear problems because the irritated skin in the ear canal becomes inflamed and secretes wax.

Some dogs like to swim and get water in the ears which can lead to infection (especially if its dam or river water). Others have hair filled ear canals or droopy ears that hang down and cover the canal or have genetically narrow canals. These lead to moisture retention and infection.

If present, allergies need to be addressed by attempting to determine what causes them.

Another suggestion is to ask your groomer to pluck hair from your dog’s ear canals at a regular interval.

There are ear cleaning solutions available that help break down wax and other debris and dry the ear out. These can be used maybe once a week to maintain ear cleanliness but more frequently if there is a build-up. Medicated topical drops are indicated if you vet determines there is an infection, usually bacterial and yeast. Some of these contain anti-inflammatory as well to break the inflammation-secretion-infection cycle.

In long term unresponsive cases your vet may take a swab to send off and see what bacteria grows and what drugs the bacteria are sensitive to.

Ultimately there are some surgical techniques to open up the ear canals if nothing gets on top of the problem.