When you see your Veterinarian, they may want to do one or some of the following:
1) Cytology - take a sample of the debris (junk) in the ear, put it on a slide, stain it, and examine it under the microscope.
2) Culture and Sensitivity - done on chronic or recurrent ear infections to find out specifically what bacteria are in the ear, and what antibiotic they are sensitive to.
3) Allergy testing - either by putting allergens (thing that a pet could be allergic to) under the skin; or a blood test
4) Testing a blood sample for hypothyroidism of other blood tests.
5) Examine the ear canal to make sure that the ear drum is intact
You will often be instructed to clean the ears at home. Follow your Veterinarians instructions. This is what I have my clients do:
1) Fill The ear canal with ear cleaner.
2) With cotton, tissue or gauze wrapped around your finger, remove the cleaner and debris from the canal. The ear canal goes down and then in, like an "L", so it would be very difficult to puncture the ear drum with your finger.
3) I do NOT recommend using a Q-tip at home. Many of us Veterinarians will use them, but we know where the ear canal ends.
You will likely be putting medications in the ears at home, too, depending on the type and severity of the ear infection. Some infections have to be treated for a short course (10 days). Chronic or recurrent ear infections may need to be treated for weeks or months; or we may need to find a protocol where you put the medication in a few times a week.
Our House Call Vet has a medication compounded for chronic ear infections. A special pharmacy puts together a mixture of medications into a sheep lanolin base. This medication is put into the ear canal after Dr. Mazzola cleans the ear. You do NOTHING at home for 2 weeks. One of my client said that she has no problem following those directions: "do nothing!". The medication is slowly released into the ear canal over that two week period of time. In some pets, the medication can cause a decrease in hearing, because it is like putting a plug of wax in the ear. This is transient (not permanent). The ear is then rechecked in two weeks. Just like with other treatments, sometime we need to do multiple treatments or intermittent treatments. Many of Our House Call Vet's clients believe that this medication is magic! Some pets that have not had any relief in years, will have relief with this medication.
This information is not intended to be used in place of a good Veterinary physical exam and evaluation. It is informative only. Please contact Our House Call Vet or your Veterinarian to see how we can help with your pets ear infections.