Ear disease encompasses a wide variety of disorders with the most frequent being disease of the external or outer ear. External ear disease is a lot more widespread in dogs than cats and is a complex disease, which is often the result of underlying causes. Certain breeds of dogs such as German Shepherds, Labradors, West Highland Terriers, Boxers and Springer Spaniels are more prone to developing external ear disease. However all breeds of dogs and cats are at risk. As a pet owner it is important that you are aware of the disease as early detection and treatment is vital to ensure a good outcome for your pet.
What Causes Ear Disease?
There are a number of causes of ear disease the most common is atopy. Atopy is an allergic condition in dogs, which causes the skin to become itchy. The most common areas to be affected are the external ear canals and between the toes. Atopy is more commonly seen during the summer months but can occur all year round. Grass seeds can also be a problem during the summer, as they work their way into the ear canal. This causes the animal considerable pain and discomfort and allows bacteria and fungi to invade and thus further contributing to the animals’ discomfort.
Other causes of external ear disease include ear mites (much more common in cats than dogs), which live within the external ear canal and cause irritation and itching. Tumours physically block the ear canal and allow wax and debris to build up whilst other diseases affect the amount of wax and debris produced.