Thursday, Jul 9, 2020
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Ear flushing technique

As a practicing veterinarian, the most common problem I see in dogs and cats are skin and ear infections.  Today we will discuss how one manages the constant ear infection that we see today.  Canine ear disease is a prevalent and persistent problem.  The large variety and quantity of veterinary topical Otic preparations available to the pet owner demonstrates the demand for a wide range of therapeutics for the ear conditions.

The primary cause of ear infections includes allergies (atopy, food allergy), parasitic diseases (ear mites) and metabolic disorders.  Other perpetrating and predisposing problems such as exercising and cleaning, and the use of inappropriate cleaning products also contribute to the prevalence of ear problems.  Identifying and managing the primary disease are the goals of treating most cases of ear infection (Otitis Externa).  Overall, the therapeutic approach to chronic ear disease is truly an art, and there is no blanket approach for treating.  The most important first step in management of any case of ear infection is to properly clean the external ear canal and flush the middle ear cavity if the eardrum is absent or diseased.  In mild cases, ear flushes may be performed with gentle restraint, but in most cases, the ears are painful enough to warrant heavy sedation.  In more severe cases of chronic ear infection, general anesthesia is necessary.  Commonly used solutions include Epi-otic and Ceremine, an ear-cleansing solution by a doctor of veterinary medicine and normal saline.

In office ear flushing, a bulb syringe is an excellent and relatively safe flushing apparatus.  Saline solution is an effective cleansing agent.  Using a bulb syringe, fill the entire ear canal with a decent cleansing solutin.  Place a clean, dry cotton ball into the opening of the ear.  Massage into the external canal using a circular motion.  Remove the exudates with a cotton ball or cotton-tipped applicator.

Today, because of the increased rains and increase in humidity, we are seeing more cases of fungal infection, most notably Malassezzia infection.


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