Ear infections are very common in both dogs and cats, and can sometimes be very frustrating for pet owners. It is not unusual for ear infections to be a manifestation of allergies – either food allergies or inhaled allergies (hayfever.) I remember treating Puff, a 4-year-old German Shepherd who had been fighting with ear infections for her entire life. The owners had been using various cleaners and medications prescribed by veterinarians and had resigned themselves to the fact that Puff would have infections at least four times a year. When I first saw Puff, I ran a simple test that costs under $40 and takes about 10 minutes in the clinic. This ear cytology allows us to see what types of organisms are causing the problem. Puff ™s ear cytology revealed yeast rather than bacteria. She needed her ears cleaned and dried, and then anti-fungal medications, not antibiotics. Puff received oral anti-fungals and topical treatments and we were able to clear the infection quickly. We then tried food trials. We didn ™t just change to another commercial diet. We fed Puff a prescription diet designed to not elicit allergic responses – it essentially has no complete proteins in it. Puff ™s ear infections did not return. We were then able to find a less expensive diet that maintained Puff ™s healthy ears.
Not every ear infection is the result of food allergies, and many pets do require life-long maintenance treatments to minimize recurrence of infections. However, our doctors are dedicated to finding cost-effective ways to keep your pets comfortable without interrupting your lifestyle. Come visit us.
by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP