Tag: cytology

“Hear” are the Facts about Ear Infections

Have you ever noticed your dog scratching at their ears or shaking their head a lot? Hair loss or redness around the ears? Have you ever seen a yucky (totally scientific term), waxy debris in the outer ear? Or perhaps noticed an odor that is quite unpleasant coming from the ears? Let’s not forget our feline friends. Have you seen scratching behind the ears, discomfort when the ears are massaged, or a dark, crusty debris in the ear canal that resembles coffee grounds? Unfortunately, these are a few of the symptoms of an ear infection.

There are different causes of ear infections in dogs and cats. Usually they are caused by yeast, bacteria, or parasites such as ear mites. Dogs, like humans, have certain organisms feline_feveroccurring naturally. It is only when these organisms are given an environment to multiply that they can cause problems. Cats are lucky in that they have ear infections much less frequently than dogs but the causes can be more troubling. In cats the cause is usually ear mites (which can be contagious to other cats), allergies, or an abscess from a bite (the bite can lead to other illnesses such as feline leukemia or FIV).

Do their ears hang low, do they wobble to and fro?

Some canine breeds are predisposed to ear infections due to their ear canal characteristics. Dogs with long, 2-2floppy ears such as Basset Hounds, or heavy skin folds like Shar Peis are examples. They are more likely to get an ear infection because debris and microorganisms become trapped, which can lead to an overgrowth. Often water loving breeds such as Labradors and Goldens spend time at lakes, swimming pools, or beaches. Wet ears can create the perfect environment for bacterial or yeast overgrowth. Some breeds like Poodles and Schnauzers often have long hair in their ears which can trap debris and lead to an infection as well. Ear infections are also very common in pets with allergies. Any pets with hot spots due to flea allergy dermatitis are more likely to develop ear infections as are any pets with skin allergies.

As with any type of infection, it is best to treat as soon as possible. Outer ear infections can lead to more serious middle ear infections in which the ear drum may rupture. From there, an inner ear infection and hearing loss is possible. These infections can be quite painful as well. Much better to treat sooner than later!

34881717_228366501285964_8554352003428384768_nOnly your veterinarian can diagnose and treat an ear infection. She or he will first need to obtain a history and examine your pet. A sample (swab) from inside your pet’s ear canal will be collected. A slide with the material (ear cytology) and if necessary, a culture will be prepared so that the doctor can determine if there is an infection. If so, we’ll know what type of organism is present. This will help determine the proper course of treatment.

There are many treatment options for ear infections. There are drops that you can administer daily after cleaning the ears or packings that stay in the ear canals for two weeks. Depending on how severe the infection is, we may also send your pet home with pain medications. No matter how you treat, it’s important to follow up to ensure that the infection is completely resolved.

R_aurocinAs the old adage goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Prevention is most definitely the way to go! Make sure your furry friend’s ears stay clean and dry. This is especially important for dogs who swim. The clinic offers products for at home care. We are also more than happy to show you how to clean your dog’s ears so you can you feel comfortable and confident doing it at home. If you are concerned that your pet is at risk for an ear infection please call the clinic and talk with a vet tech or doctor. If you suspect your pet has an ear infection, please set up an appointment to see the veterinarian.

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By: Kathy Berrier

I Gave the Medications – Now What?

cat_at_vet_examWhile annual exams are crucial to your pet’s health, medical progress exams are also an important part of your furry pal’s health plan. In fact, they are just as important as their annual exams!

Medical Progress exams can help us with keeping track of any changes in your pet’s individual values. Bringing your pets in for regular exams also allows us establish a baseline of what is considered “normal” and “abnormal” for your animal. This leads to better health care because of the consistency, allows us to diagnose conditions sooner, and allows us to better assess and address chronic issues.

Ear Exam Dog 5For example, let’s say your pet comes in for an examination. Her ears are all red, inflamed, have an odor and are painful to your pet. The doctor looks sets up an ear cytology and looks at it carefully under the microscope. She confirms that there is an abundance of yeast and bacteria on the slide. To treat the ear infection, the doctor prescribed ear cleaner/antibiotics, with instructions to see your pet back in 2 weeks for a medical progress exam.

In about a week, you notice that your pet’s ears appear to be better. No more itching or shaking their head, and you’re pleased. The medications must have cleared up the infection! You figure that there’s no need to come back in for that medical progress exam because the ears are better and there’s no need to spend more money.

615473-dog-and-sadA few weeks later, however, you discover her ears have doubled in inflammation, redness, soreness, and she’s in a lot of pain. Not only is the infection back, but it’s worse than before! That’s because the infection was never completely gone before and has flared up with a vengeance.

Now you have to return to the clinic and the veterinarian must repeat the cytology and other necessary tests, which in turn costs you more. Odds are that the infection won’t even respond to the same treatment this time because it is now resistant to the previous course of medications. Your girl is going to need different medications now as well. Animals’ bodies are changing all the time, so it’s important that tests are redone, especially if a medical progress exam was not followed through the first time.

Now your pet’s ears are having double the trouble, and so is your wallet!

moneyHere’s the catch! Your dog or cat could be free of symptoms and still have an underlying infection or other disease that your veterinarian will be able to monitor best with medical progress exams.

This doesn’t just apply to only ear infections. Skin infections, urinary tract infections, eye injuries, wounds, upper respiratory infections…all of these (just to name a few!) are common issues that require following up with your veterinarian. In some cases, especially for reoccurring issues, further diagnostics (such as cultures or blood work) are needed to pinpoint the exact treatment needed for your pet.

It is important to follow through with medical progress exams so that we can ensure that all infections and diseases are being properly controlled and treated. After your pet’s initial visit for whatever issue is causing them discomfort, you’ll be asked to schedule their medical progress exam before you’re invoiced out. That way you don’t have to worry about remembering to schedule something later on, it’s already been taken care of!

All of us at TLC know that your pets are family to you. We want to do everything we can to make sure that they stay healthy and happy!

happy dog

By: Alexus Farr