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Ear Infections – Why do I Need to Come in for an exam?

Scratching. Rubbing. Smelly. Sounds like an ear infection, right? So why does my pet need an exam to get medications when I already know the problem?

This is a commonly asked question in the veterinary clinic. Here is a look at a few reasons why your veterinarian will not prescribe ear medications without an exam first:

1. Yeast, bacteria and bugs, oh my!

There are several different culprits that can be the cause of your pet’s discomfort. These include yeast (fungal infection), bacteria or ear mites. To find out what is happening inside your pet’s ear, a sample may be taken from the ear and examined under the microscope to determine what kind of infection we are treating. Without knowing what we are treating, we may end up treating the wrong thing which in the long run, can cause more harm than good.

2. Follow the beat of the (ear)drum!

There are several ear medications and cleaners that can be toxic to the inner ear. This is why it critical that the ear is examined by a veterinarian to determine if the eardrum is intact. The eardrum can only be visualized using a special piece of equipment called an otoscope that has a cone-like tip to be able to see down into the “L” shaped ear canal. If the eardrum is found to be ruptured, a different course of medication may need to be considered.

3. Complications

There are some complications that can come about when dealing with an ear infection. For example, with excessive scratching, an aural hematoma can develop. This is caused by the layers of cartilage in the pinna (outer ear) separating and filling with blood and serum, which is not only painful for your pet, but much more invasive to treat. Other complications can develop by “self-treating” your pet’s ear infections. For example, if you are using an antibacterial drop to treat a yeast infection – firstly, it will not work, secondly, by killing off the bacteria in the ear, you are giving the yeast more of a chance to thrive and flourish in the ear.

Do you think the signs above describe your pet? Make an appointment to see your veterinarian today.

Written by Jessica Sirovyak, RAHT

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Last updated: May 25, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 25, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. ONLINE CONSULTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE

If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

4. NEW PET OWNERS

Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

5. OPERATING HOURS

We are OPEN with the following hours:

- Monday to Friday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Sunday: CLOSED

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Mill Creek Animal Hospital