Cleaning your pet’s ears periodically is a part of good pet hygiene and is also a great way to be sure that you are picking up on problems as quickly as possible.

When performing this maintenance task, you may run across a few things you need to know more about. Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital wants you to know what to do with what you might find in pet ears. 

Say What?

To examine pet ears well, one must know their anatomy. The ear is actually a pretty amazing organ, made up of the pinna (outer ear flap), ear canal, ear drum, middle ear, and inner ear. 

Sound is channeled into the long, “L” shaped ear canal, where it vibrates the tympanic membrane (ear drum). This stimulates the middle ear to convert the sound to electrical impulses, which are then relayed to the brain by the inner ear. The ear also is essential in maintaining balance.

If your pet’s ears are not in tip top shape, things can get bad quickly. Signs of problems can include:

  • Pain or swelling
  • Redness
  • Increased discharge
  • Odor
  • Scratching the ear or holding it abnormally
  • Shaking the head
  • Balance changes

Close Encounters in Pet Ears

It is a good idea to clean most pet’s ears weekly or more. You might also take a closer peek if you are noticing any signs of trouble as previously listed. But what are you looking for? 

There are a few common things you might see when examining pet ears closely:

Exudate — Some wax production is normal, but in the face of infection or other problems, the exudate produced can become thick, foul-smelling, and even infected. Any change in your pet’s normal wax production warrants calling us to make an appointment

Ear mites — These foul little critters are parasites that colonize the ear canals. While they are not visible to the naked eye without magnification, their itch-inducing status and copious dark black excrement are easy to see. 

Aural hematomas — If there is a swelling of the ear flap, your pet may have an ear hematoma. These are caused by a burst blood vessel between the ear layers that creates an uncomfortable pocket. 

Foreign material — During your ear cleaning, you could certainly find things like bits of plant material, ticks, or other foreign objects down in the ear canal. If you cannot easily retrieve a visible foreign object, let us know so that we can help. 

Growths — Pets can also develop growths like tumors or polyps in the ear canal. This can lead to abnormal ear function and contribute to ear infections as well.

Your pet’s ears are vital to day to day function, and together we can ensure that we stay on top of their care. Along with periodic wellness examinations, letting us know when you think there may be a problem or notice an abnormal appearance as detailed can help us to get on top of the issue right away.