Ear irritation should be dealt with quickly

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Most of our furry, four-legged friends will often have a good old scratch at their ears, if this becomes more frequent, however, it may be a cause for concern.

The ear is made up of three parts, the pinna (the outer flap) and external canal, at the bottom of which lies the ear drum, which separates the outer part from the middle and inner ear.

Disease of the ear is a common complaint in dogs and cats, and most commonly involves the pinna and narrow canal. This is known as otitis externa. Signs to look out for include head shaking, constant itching of the ear, redness and smelly discharge, which if left untreated can all lead to a painful and unhappy pet.

Otitis externa, more often than not, has an underlying cause which has triggered the itching and subsequent trauma, leading to infection of the ear canal with other bugs from the skin and environment.

The main underlying issues are allergies – these may affect other areas of the body which will similarly cause over grooming and scratching; ear mites – these tiny parasites with the scientific name of Otodectes cynotis live in the wax of the ear canal, are passed by contact and for that reason are commonly found in puppies and kittens; the last common underlying cause of ear disease is a foreign body, such as sand or a grass seed, which can find their way down the canal and become stuck.

Usually with a foreign body, your pet will suddenly become distressed and start scratching their ear frantically, often before signs of redness or discharge have appeared.

These problems can become complicated if left untreated so if you spot any of the signs described above, pop your animal into the vets for a thorough examination.

We will have a good look at the ear and down the canal to assess the condition of the lining and for any foreign material with the aim to start treatment as early as possible.

By EILISH BUSBY, Vet

l Robson and Prescott would like to offer its congratulations to vets Eilish Busby and Chris Green, and nurse Nicola Bell on finishing the Great North Run. Between them, they have raised nearly £1,000 for Cancer Research, Guide Dogs and Dogs for the Disabled.