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Reoccurring Ear Infections: Ivy’s Story

6 July 2021  

Ear infections are one of the most common conditions we see here at GWAH. Not only are they painful and itchy for our pups, but they can be very frustrating for their owners!

Little Ivy Came in with a red, sore, smelly, and itchy ear. This has been her fourth ear infection this year!

Ear infections are due to overgrowth of local bacteria or yeast in the ear canal. There is almost always an underlying cause that creates conditions suitable for these microbes to  overgrow- without addressing this, recurrence of the infection is likely. 

Common causes include water down the ears from bathing or swimming; humid ear canals due to large floppy ears as in the Cocker Spaniel or hairy ear canals as in the Poodle; or inflamed skin due to allergies- This is the case for poor Ivy.

To properly treat the ear infection we must first sample the discharge in the ear canal and perform cytology to identify if the overgrowth is due to yeast, or bacteria. This helps guide what ear drops will be most effective. 

Medication must be administered into the ear canal daily for a minimum of 14 days. After this time we repeat the cytology to ensure the infection has resolved. Sometimes the ear will look healed, but leaving a few pesky yeast or bacteria there can see the infection re-establish itself in a few weeks which is very frustrating for our pets and their owners. 

Once the infection is fully cleared it is essential we address the underlying cause. We are delighted to report Ivy’s nasty infection has resolved and she has commenced a regime of a weekly ear cleaner and steroid ear drops, as well as daily allergy medication to help prevent future ear infections.