Sandra Grable, CVT, a dermatology technician at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital, offers this advice to avoid common ear infection mistakes:
Do not skip ear cytology and otoscopic examination. "Ear cytology is something simple and relatively inexpensive, and it doesn't require a lot of time," Grable says. "Cytology will allow you to properly treat the infection, instead of treating what isn't necessary or treating the wrong organism. Characteristics of odor or exudate alone shouldn't substitute for cytologic evaluation."
Find the underlying cause. "It's essential to find the cause of the problem and work up the case for possible food or environmental allergies, tumors, foreign bodies, or other causes of disease," Grable says. "It's important for pet owners to understand that the organisms causing an infection are opportunistic, and there are always one or more underlying reasons why the organisms are growing."
Be persistent about follow-up care. "Follow-up care is important as well as treating the infection for the appropriate amount of time and selecting the correct route of administration," Grable says. "Scheduling recheck appointments and repeating cytology and otoscopic examinations at those visits is essential to ensure the otitis is responding to treatment and the owner is compliant with the treatment protocol."