Pets

Pet answers: ‘ear ‘ear!

Keeping your pet healthy – and happy

My dog keeps getting ear infections and we never seem to fix her for long. What can we do?
Ear infections are one of the most common reasons for a visit to the vets and often it is very easy to appear to solve the problem but then the infection comes back. The ear is an especially easy place to get infections due to the closed in nature of the ear canals, making a lovely moist and dark area, and the presence of wax that can build up. Ear infections can be due to either bacteria or yeast or a mixture of both and they all make the ear very hot and inflamed. Most of these live naturally in the ear (although some nasty bacteria don’t normally) and it is an imbalance and a change in the nature of the ear thatleads to a downward spiral of inflammation, wax and infection. Treatment in the short term often relies on steroid antiinflammatories, antibiotics and anti-fungals all in an ear drop medication, and the majority will respond in a week. More complicated cases can require oral treatment as well and swabs may need to be taken if there is a suspicion that nasty bacteria are the cause of the infection or if there is a possibility of ear drum damage. The key is in the follow up. If your vet cannot confirm the infection is entirely gone it could quite easily flare up again quickly, but more importantly the follow up is an opportunity to discuss longer term management and risks. Skin allergies are one of the most common reasons for repetitive ear infections even if there are no other signs of the allergy and while some will require the allergy to be fully controlled, in other more mild cases a regular ear cleaning regime can control future issues.

My cat hates coming to the vets – how can I make it easier?
Sadly, I find that cats generally do dislike the vets more than dogs. This is not just due to the actual time in the consulting room but also the time in the waiting room and the journey there and back. To start with, stay calm! The calmer you are the less likely the cat is to sense something is wrong (easy for me to say…). Secondly, make sure you have a good cat carrier that has an easily removeable lid and ideally leave the basket out for a significant time before the appointment so your cat can get used to it. You can also use a pheremone spray such as Feliway to help de-stress your cat and make the basket less disliked. For the journey itself it is a great idea to cover the basket in a towel and place it in the footwell. For your time at the veterinary clinic it can be worthwhile when booking the appoinment to see if you can get a cat only time or to see how the practice seperates cats and dogs. When you are at the vets if they have raised basket stands this is ideal but keep the basket covered over. Lastly it is down to the vet to handle the cat well, but having that basket with the removeable lid is a great start as your cat does not need to be tipped out or dragged out to be examined. If you find a good cat vet stick with them but always remember that the experience for the cat starts the moment you get the basket out and doesn’t end till hours after you are home.

My dog has had a persistent cough for a few weeks, especially at night. Should I be worried?
I wouldn’t immediately be worried but I would definitely book an appointment with your vet. As with humans, a persistant cough can be caused by many things and some are serious. This can include primary lung issues, heart issues and throat issues and the vet will need to ask lots of questions and examine your dog to find out more. As ever, the sooner something is looked at the better.

Do you have a pet or animal health question? Send it to us at: . Cees will endeavour to answer all questions, whether published or not!

ceesbennettsmallCees Bennett BVetMed MRCVS Veterinary surgeon and Joint Venture Partner at: Peterborough Vets4Pets 231-233 St Paul’s Road Peterborough PE1 3RL Tel: 01733 890777 & Bretton Vets4Pets Inside Pets at Home Unit 2 The Bretton Centre Peterborough PE3 8DN Tel: 01733 261094   

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