Whether they’re floppy, fuzzy, folded, or standing upright, our pets’ ears are some of their cutest features. These pet-able appendages, however, can become infected, causing cats and dogs a considerable amount of pain and discomfort. Different types of ear infections include bacterial, fungal, vector-borne, or a combination. Understanding the common causes of these types of ear infections in dogs and cats will help you recognize infections and even prevent them altogether.

5 Most Common Causes of Ear Infections in Pets

1. Allergies

Pets with allergies of all kinds (environmental, food, and fleas) are more likely to suffer from frequent ear infections.

2. Excessive Moisture

A warm, moist, and dark place is the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive, making a wet pet’s ears the perfect location. To prevent your pets from getting ear infections, be sure to gently dry their ears after swimming and baths.

3. Floppy Ears

With their cute, furry folds and tucks that expertly trap moisture, floppy pet ears are more prone to infection than those that stand upright.

4. Parasites

Ear mites are small parasites that most commonly afflict kittens and puppies. These teeny bugs are difficult to see. Pet owners usually first notice small traces of ear mites that look similar to coffee grounds inside a pet’s ears. Itchy ear mites cause scratching and head shaking.

5. Chronic Conditions

Underlying infections and chronic health conditions such as thyroid and autoimmune disorders can also put pets at an increased risk of ear infection.

Signs Your Pet Has an Ear Infection

Symptoms of an ear infection include:

  • Incessant head shaking
  • Pawing at the ears
  • Rubbing ears on carpet or furniture
  • Blood, scabbing, or discharge around the outside of the ears
  • Unusual odor coming from the ears
  • Inflammation around the ears or face
  • Unusual eye movement
  • Trouble hearing
  • Loss of balance or disorientation
  • Unusual vocalization

Ear Infection Prevention and Treatment for Pets

The best way to prevent your pets from getting ear infections is to keep their ears clean and dry. If you suspect your dog or cat has an ear infection, we encourage you to schedule a house call appointment with Capital Home Veterinary Care right away. Our veterinarian will examine your pet, handle any necessary diagnostics tests, and determine the underlying cause of infection. We will then provide you with further instructions for treatment and prevention, which will vary depending on the reason for the infection.

To schedule an appointment for your pet or to learn more about at-home sick pet appointments and wellness exams, contact us today.