Pet - Vet Blog - Brooker Ridge Animal Hospital

Go to content

Main menu:

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Published by in Pet Insurance ·
Tags: PetHealthInsurance
 
Pet Health Insurance

Pet Health Insurance
 
Owning a pet can be expensive. Just the food, regular checkups and miscellaneous everyday costs can be a strain on your wallet. But if the unfortunate event arises that your pet needs emergency or life saving veterinary care, the financial strain can be a substantially larger burden.
 
That is why pet insurance can be an excellent investment. But often times we hear from owners that the premiums are so pricey they wonder, is pet insurance really worth it?
 
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward, and it really depends on a multitude of factors, and selecting a plan that best suits you and your pets needs. Here are some considerations for you if you are thinking about getting pet insurance.
 
How does pet health insurance work?
 
Before even considering whether or not you should get pet insurance, it is important to understand how this form of insurance works. Unlike human health insurance, most pet insurance plans will reimburse you for the costs of your veterinary care. You will pay for the services of your vet, and either request your veterinary office to submit the invoice to your insurance company, or obtain a duplicate itemized receipt that you will submit to your insurance company. In either case, an insurance claim form will have to be filled out, and sent with the receipt. From there, your insurance company will then send a reimbursement check within a specified period of time.
 
 
What does pet health insurance cover?
 
The coverage you will receive from your pet insurance plans depends on the type of coverage, and company you have selected.
 
There are three types of pet insurance coverage plans;
 
1.     Accident coverage
 
This type of coverage helps cover the costs of the unexpected. This may include issues such as torn ligaments, broken bones or bite wounds. All pet health insurance companies offer accident coverage, and you will have to research different companies to understand the difference in their exact coverage of such incidents.
 
 
2.     Illness Coverage
 
The coverage you will receive in this type of plan will often vary based on your pet’s age. For this type of insurance coverage, it is also best to get this when your pet is younger, to reduce pre-existing exemptions, and receive a lower monthly cost. Illness coverage can cover ailments such as UTIs, allergies, cancer and others.
 
 
3.     Wellness Coverage
 
This is an optional coverage plan. You may choose to cover the cost of wellness expenses yourself. Alternatively, you can invest a little each month with your pet insurance, so that your insurance company covers the costs of routine vet visits. This can include annual exams, heartworm testing, routine vaccinations, flea, tick & heartworm treatments, and more.
 
The expenses associated with routine veterinary care can be quite costly, especially when considered as an up-front expense. This is why more and more pet insurance companies are offering this type of insurance plan, often including it as an add-on to the other pet health insurance plans.
 
How much does it cost?
 
Obviously, the costs of insurance will vary depending on the insurance company, selected plan, and the insurance company’s assessment of your pet. When an insurance company is assessing your pet they will look at factors including age, breed, your geographical location, pre-existing conditions, and more. You can research pet insurance companies, and obtain quotes from them, either online or over the phone. It is suggested that you get quotes from at least three different companies to find the best value (the best value indicates the best coverage for the price). Best price or popularity do not necessarily reflect the best value, make sure to critically assess and research each company and their coverage.
 
 
Is pet insurance only offered to dogs and cats?
 
Pet insurance is not only available to cats and dogs, there are plans that will cover rodents, birds, horses and other pets.
 
 
Is pet insurance a good idea for me and my pet?
 
This depends. Often times modest, monthly payments we can budget for are much more manageable than unforeseen costly emergency expenses. In the event that your pet is injured in an accident, or develops a severe illness, insurance can provide you the peace of mind that you can cover a costly, unexpected veterinary bill. Some emergency veterinary bills can cost thousands of dollars, which can be hard to afford upfront, and abruptly. While it is not guaranteed any unexpected expenses will be covered fully by you insurance, most will cover at least partial expenses for these unexpected costs, allowing you to afford any necessary, costly interventions that are needed to keep your pet happy and healthy.
 
Typically, pet insurance is better value if obtained when your pet is young. This is because it reduces the amount of exempt pre-existing conditions your insurance provider will refuse to cover. If your pet develops a condition after you have insurance, it is more likely it will be covered, depending on the plan you have. Although you may be able to obtain insurance for an older pet, the monthly premiums will be significantly higher. Depending on what the insurance company is willing to cover, it may not be justifiable to you to pay higher premiums for an older pet.
 
You may also wish to discuss the matter with your veterinarian before you decide to get insurance or not. Your veterinarian can recommend based on the breed of your pet if insurance is valuable, and may also have some insights and recommendations on deciding between different insurance providers.
 
 
As mentioned, deciding whether or not to get pet insurance can be a complicated matter, as it depends on a multitude of factors. If you have any questions or wish to gather further insights on selecting the right provider or plan for you and your pet, we would be happy to help.
 
 
Looking for a vet clinic in Newmarket area? Please call us at 905 898 1010 to book an appointment.
 
 
Sources:
 
 



Fleas

Published by in External Parasites ·
Tags: PetFleas
 
Fleas, Ticks, Worms, Oh My!
How to Protect Your Pet from Pests and Parasites
Cat Fleas
 
 
Fleas
What are fleas?
Fleas are small, parasitic insects that feed on blood from mammals and birds. Adult fleas typically feed several times a day, through biting their host. There are over 2000 flea species globally, however the one that is most commonly found on our furry loved ones is the Ctenocephalides felis, also known as the cat flea. They are just a few millimetres long, wingless and a brown or reddish colour. While they are flightless, their back legs are designed for jumping, they are able to jump up to 30cm high, which means they can jump up from the ground onto your pet with ease.
 
Are fleas a serious concern?
Fleas are often thought of as just a nasty nuisance, but they can pose serious health risks to your pet. Since fleas will feed multiple times a day, your pet is being bitten multiple times daily, which painful, itchy and uncomfortable for your furry loved one. If your pet is persistently itching the bites, this can lead to skin infections and hairloss. Furthermore, some animals can become allergic to fleas, and then develop flea allergy dermatitis.  If an infestation of fleas is severe and persistent it can actually lead to significant blood loss, causing anaemia. A heavy flea infestation can be lethal, especially for smaller or younger animals. Some fleas can carry infections and other parasitic entities, that can infect your animal. Fleas may carry a bacteria known as Bartonella which can cause fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes. Fleas can also carry a form of intestinal tapeworms known as Dipylidium caninum that absorbs nutrients from your pet’s digestive system.

Where are fleas commonly found?
Fleas are most active in early August to early October, but can be active year round. They thrive in well-regulated, indoor temperatures, and if one flea enters your home, it can likely lead to an entire infestation. So even if your pet lives strictly indoors, there is still a risk they can develop a flea infestation. The cat fleas will rarely bite humans, so you may not know you have a flea infestation unless you check your pets.

How can I tell if my pet has fleas?
To assess your pet for fleas, first examine them for “flea dirt” which is black particles the size ground pepper. This is the easiest sign to see of a flea infestation, since fleas themselves are often harder to see. But how can you tell if it is actually flea dirt? The most sure way to identify flea dirt on your pet is to rub or comb the dirt from your pet onto a white piece of paper. Then transfer the debris to a damp piece of paper. If the debris turns red or rust-colour this is likely a sign that it is indeed flea dirt. The reason the debris will change colour like this is because flea dirt is actually flea waste material, and the material will turn red when wet, as it is residual blood the flea has ingested from your pet.  Other obvious signs of a flea infestation is irritated, itchy skin.

Do fleas only stay on their host?
If your pet has fleas, unfortunately this means it is likely there are fleas inside your home. Since they are little travelers, often times fleas will be without host, inside the home, and able to infect your pet after they have been treated, or spread to other animals in the home, if the house is not properly treated. Vacuuming is important for getting rid of fleas, but you may also want to consider treating your home with insecticide as well. Make sure when you vacuum for a flea infestation that the vacuum bag is thrown out promptly, to prevent them from escaping and re-infesting the home.  To treat your pet for fleas, you will have to bring them in to your veterinarian to receive proper treatment. Even if you notice only one pet that has fleas, it is recommended that you have all pets in the home treated, since fleas can go undetected for quite some time and tend to spread quickly.
How can I protect my pet against fleas?
Prevention is the best approach to take when it comes to protecting your furry loved ones from fleas. Prevention can come in many forms, and can be available in pet stores or through your veterinarian. Although there are some good treatments available through pet stores, not all are effective, and therefore it is recommended that flea prevention is acquired from your veterinarian.
 
Sources:
 



Zoonotic Diseases

Published by in Zoonotic Diseases ·
Tags: ZoonoticDiseasesinPet
 
Zoonotic Diseases in Cats
Angry Cat
 
Many diseases are species specific.  That means that in general, you won’t share an illness with your pet.  Some diseases, however, are zoonotic. That means that they cross species barriers – they are things that you can catch from your pet.  Zoonosis occurs when bacteria, parasites, fungi or viruses are transmitted to humans through blood, saliva, urine and feces. Diseases can be transmitted through vectors as well – intermediaries like mosquitoes, fleas and ticks.

 
Bacterial Infections
The most common bacterial disease transmitted from cats to humans is Bartonellosis, or Cat-Scratch Disease (or Fever). People usually get bartonellosis when they are bitten or scratched by an infected cat.  Fleas and ticks may also transmit the disease. Symptoms include swollen and inflamed lymph nodes (mostly around the head, neck and arms), headache, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and achy muscles and joints. Healthy people will generally recover well, although it may take several months to be completely free of the disease. As with any illness, people with compromised immune systems are at risk of more severe infections and complications that in rare cases may result in death.
 
People usually get salmonellosis from eating food contaminated with salmonella. Cats who eat raw meat or wild birds can transmit salmonella bacteria in their feces. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, and stomach pains that occur within one to three days of infection. Salmonellosis usually resolves on its own, but serious cases will need medical attention.

 
Parasites
Parasites include internal and external varieties.  External parasites include fleas and ticks, which can be vectors for zoonotic diseases as well as causing inflammation and itching from bites.  Internal parasites include roundworms and hookworms, which are transmitted through contact with infected feces.  Depending on the worm, symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea or bloody stool – which can sometimes contain the worm – as well as shortness of breath, lethargy, nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, rashes, and a cough or difficulty breathing.
 
Internal parasites also include protozoa, which are single-celled organisms. Cats often pick up the protozoans from eating infected birds or rodents, and can also get it through fecal contamination from another cat that is infected.  People can pick up the protozoa when they clean their cat’s litter box, so make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after dealing with any pet waste. The most common protozoal diseases transmitted to humans are toxoplasmosis, giardiasis, and cryptosporidiosis, all of which mainly cause diarrhea. Immune-compromised individuals may develop a more serious illness and need medical attention.

 
Fungi
The most commonly seen zoonotic fungus is ringworm. It often develops in environments with a large number of animals living together. Despite the name, ringworm is not actually caused by a worm. It is a fungal skin infection.  Humans can get the infection from handling an infected animal. The fungal spores are often dropped on shed hair and skin cells, so you don’t necessarily need to touch the affected skin directly. Cats and humans have different reactions to ringworm. Cats develop a grey, scaly, dry patch of skin.  People will often get a round, red, scaly, itchy lesion.

 
Viruses
Most viruses are species-specific, which means that a cat virus will travel amongst cats, but not transfer to humans, and human viruses will travel between humans but not affect cats. The primary zoonotic virus is rabies.  It affects every warm-blooded species, and can be transmitted to a person if they are bitten by an infected animal. Cats are very vulnerable to rabies. It affects the central nervous system, and is generally fatal. Humans are a bit more resistant and have a higher survival rate, but the virus can cause permanent damage. Post-exposure vaccination can help stop the disease if your cat has been previously vaccinated against rabies, but once symptoms occur death usually follows within ten days. There is no treatment for rabies. In most of North America, vaccinating your pet – even strictly indoor cats – is legally required.

 
Prevention
If you have a compromised immune system, it is recommended that someone else clean up after your pet.  Even completely healthy people should take precautions. Vaccinate your cat, keep their food and water dishes clean, avoid directly handling used litter and clean the box completely at regular intervals. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, and keep your cat indoors.
 

If you have questions or concerns regarding zoonotic diseases, call our veterinary clinic in Newmarket Aurora area at 905-898-1010. Our veterinarian in Newmarket is happy to help you and answer your question.

 
Sources:
 
 
 
 



Pet Obesity

Published by in Obesity ·
Tags: PetOverweightandObesity
Pet Obesity
Obese Cat
Chubby pets are often considered adorable, but the implications of their extra weight are not as sweet. With our furry loved ones, even just a few extra pounds of weight gain can have serious health implications. Excess weight can increase the risk of developing preventable diseases and health conditions. Liver disease, arthritis and diabetes are just a few examples of the diseases your pet is at risk for when they are overweight.
 
 
How Does Excess Weight Affect My Pet?
Stress on Joints
Similar to humans, your pet's musculoskeletal structure is designed to function optimally at a certain weight. Even just a few excess pounds can be debilitating to their joints, and create pain and discomfort for your pet. The primary medical condition associated with obesity in canines is osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease). Additionally, canines who are overweight are more likely to have cruciate Ligament ruptures, which are quite painful, and costly to fix. In recent years, the prevalence of arthritis is increasing at an alarming rate in our feline friends as well, due to excess weight. There is no cure for arthritis unfortunately. Arthritis is managed through minimizing the pain your pet experiences from the condition.  
 
High Blood Sugar & Diabetes
 
If your pet is eating an inappropriate diet or portion of food, paired with insufficient exercise, they will likely develop issues with regulating their blood sugar levels. Often times this is because your pet's pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin (the hormone that regulates glucose in the bloodstream) or your pet's body is not able to use the insulin effectively. When their blood sugar levels increase, this can lead to Type II diabetes. Like arthritis, there is no cure for diabetes particularly in dogs, and managing diabetes in your pet is expensive and demanding. Managing diabetes often requires daily, routine insulin injections, strict dietary restrictions and frequent visits to your veterinarian to monitor the progress of the condition. Ineffective management of diabetes can have serious, and even fatal, consequences.
 
A recent study found that the prevalence of diabetes has increased 90% in both cats and dogs between 2011 and 2016. Furthermore, this study notes that obesity was one of the leading preconditions for diabetes.  
 
High Blood Pressure
 
Often times obese pets will develop high blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension has been deemed the "silent killer" because often times high blood pressure may not be identified as a health condition your pet is experiencing before it is too late. High blood pressure can lead to kidney disease, heart and vascular disease.
 
If your pet has recently put on excess weight, it might be a good idea to ask your veterinarian about conducting a blood pressure test. If identified earlier on, interventions can still take place to reduce the impact hypertension may have on your pet. This includes increasing exercise, changing to a low-sodium diet, implementing a weight loss plan and in more critical cases, putting your pet on medication.  
 
 
Respiratory & Vascular Problems
 
Excess weight can impose stress on your pet's heart and lungs, making it difficult for them to breathe and have proper circulation. Obese pets are more likely to develop tracheal collapse particularly small and toy breeds, which can lead to several other health conditions including heart disease, chronic kidney insufficiency and enlarged liver. Furthermore, pets who have brachycephalic skull structures (Pugs, Shih Tzus, Mastiffs, Persians, Himalayans, Burmese, etc.) may be at particular risk for respiratory issues related to obesity. This can increase their likelihood of developing Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) which is a debilitating respiratory condition. Proper respiratory function and circulation are critical to your pet's overall healthy function and decreasing their likelihood for a multitude of serious health conditions. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is one of the best approaches to maintaining proper respiratory and circulatory function.
 
 
There are various other health hazards your pet is at risk for if they are overweight. Your pet's immune function can be compromised, leading to other various health problems. Cats who are overweight are more likely to have bladder and urinary tract disease, and also kidney disease.  Often times dog who are overweight may develop intervertebral disc disease, which may require expensive surgical procedures to fix. Overweight animals are also more likely to have dermatitis, and increased anesthesia risk. Overall, the life expectancy of your pet decreases significantly if they are overweight. The health risks associated with obesity in pets are immense and severe.

 
How Can I Tell if My Pet is Overweight?
This is an important conversation to have with your veterinarian, as often times it may be difficult to assess on your own if your pet is at a healthy weight or not due to factors such as breed, age and their coat type. This is one of the reasons routine, annual visits to your veterinarian are important, so they your pet's weight can be accurately monitored. You should also try to weight your pet routinely, if possible. You can try placing your pet on a scale you have at home, or alternatively, weigh yourself first, and then while holding your animal, weigh yourself again and derive your pet's weight from the difference. If your pet is too large or unmanageable to be weighed on a scale you have in your home, you can always bring your pet into your veterinarian clinic to be weighed on their scales designed for animals.
 
Another way to monitor if your pet is at a healthy weight is to run your hands along the sides of your pet's chest. You should be able to feel their ribs easily. If you cannot feel their ribs, this is a sign that most likely your pet is overweight. Note that depending on your pet's coat (if it is thick or long) it may be more difficult to feel their ribcage. This is a very rudimentary test of your pet's weight, and consultation with your veterinarian should be done in addition to this.

 
How Can I Get My Pet to Lose Weight?
Unfortunately pet weight loss can be quite challenging, and can take quite some time, this is why it is important to try and maintain a healthy weight. Consistency and dedication are required to see weight loss in your pet. Here are some tips:
 
· Portion Control and Calorie Counting: Similar to humans, one of the best places to start with creating a weight loss plan is to set and follow a strict calorie limit diet. Your veterinarian can calculate the right calorie intake for your pet, and then the amount of food to be given to adhere to this calorie limit.
 
· Prescription or Specialized Diets: There are several dietary options suited to weight loss plans that are not just low calorie or low fat, but contain a specialized nutrient blend that can create a feeling of fullness for your pet. Ask your veterinarian which diet is right for your pet on their weight loss journey.
 
· Reduce or Eliminate Treats & Snacks: Treats can be an important part of training and your established reward system for your pet, however, treats should be given only when necessary and should be a healthy options for your pet. Ask your veterinarian which treats are best.
 
· Make Them Work for Their Food: Treats and meals should be a reward for your pet, so when possible try to schedule your walks and playtime prior to meals. Additionally, there are toys or slow feeders that enforce your pet to put in a little effort for their food. This can be an engaging and stimulating activity for them, while also preventing them from eating their food too quickly, which can help promote better digestion.
 
· Exercise: Of course as we all know, exercise is an important component of weight loss. Depending on your pet's current condition, extensive or high intensity exercise may be too strenuous. Try to gradually increase the length of playtime or your daily walks, to help increase their stamina and promote weight loss.
 
Maintaining a healthy weight, or managing obesity can be a difficult task, and each furry friend may present unique challenges to this task. But it is important to remember how critical a healthy weight is to your pet's overall health.
 
Here at Brooker Ridge Animal Hospital in Newmarket, we are happy to help you find the best way to achieve your pet's optimal weight. If you have any questions or would like to discuss a weight loss plan, please give us a call.
 
Looking for a veterinary clinic in Newmarket? Give us a call at 905-898-1010 and we'd be happy to see you and your furry friend!
 
Sources:



Goopy Eyes in Pets

Published by in Eye Problem ·
Tags: GoopyTearyPetEye
Goopy or Teary Eyes in Pets
Runny eye pet
Just like people, dogs can have eye discharge.  It can be thick or watery, sometimes it’s just in the morning, and sometimes it’s breed-related.  Sometimes it’s completely harmless, but sometimes it’s a symptom of a medical condition.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS)
KCS, or Chronic Dry Eye in layman’s terms, is a chronic, painful, and potentially severe condition.  It caused by reduction in tear production which can be resulted from canine Distemper virus infection, sulfonamide toxicity, NSAID therapy, long term using of atropine, facial nerve injury, and immune mediated diseases. Frequently, the only symptom owners notice is mucoid thick white or yellow discharge from one or both eyes.  In some dogs, the sclera (white part of the eye) can be red.  Some dogs will rub their eyes, either with a paw or by rubbing their face on the carpet or on furniture.  In longer-haired breeds such as Poodles, the hair around the eye can become matted from the discharge.

KCS can be confused with other problems, such as allergies, but there is a quick and painless test that can diagnose the condition.  The Schirmer Tear Test uses little strips of a special paper to measure tear production.  If the eye doesn’t produce enough tears, it won’t be properly lubricated and can cause irritation.  In most cases veterinarians run Fluorescein Eye staining test to rule out corneal ulceration. Untreated, KCS can cause permanent damage to the eye.  It can result in darkening of the cornea, corneal ulcers, corneal scarring, and chronic pain.  Severe changes can cause vision loss, and some dogs may become fearful or aggressive about their face being touched due to the pain.

Treatment for KCS is fairly simple, but is usually lifelong.  Your dog will need eye drops to help the eye produce tears, and can also benefit from moisturizing eye drops or a lubricating ointment.  Sometimes your vet may use topical immunosuppressant agent such as Cyclosporine A 0.2%-2% bid in conjunction with short term use antibiotic eye drops or ointments. With treatment, your dog will be comfortable and pain free.

Foreign Matter
Your dog’s eye can also develop discharge if there is or was something in the eye.  It can be anywhere from a bit of dust or an eyelash to a piece of grit or sliver of wood.  If your dog doesn’t normally have eye discharge, its sudden appearance can signal a problem.  If your dog got something in their eye, the eye will water in an attempt to flush it out.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.  Either way, it’s worth having it checked out.  Even if the matter comes out on its own, there is the possibility that it scratched the eye while it was in there.  Your veterinarian can do a quick test to make sure there is no injury or ulceration.  A Fluorescein Eye Stain test will show any abrasions, ulcers, or other irregularities, as the stain sticks to damaged areas of the cornea.  The vet will then examine the eye with a light to determine where, if anywhere, the stain indicates a problem.  Foreign matter can usually be flushed out with a saline eye wash, and if there is no damage to the eye, that’s the end of it.  Any damage will require further treatment.

Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the lining of the eye.  It can be caused by allergies, injury, KCS, foreign matter, bacterial, Chlamydia, fungal, or viral infection, and many other things.  Signs can include red eyes, inflammation, any kind of eye discharge, excessive blinking, squinting the affected eye, crustiness around the eye, pawing or rubbing the eye, or even keeping it completely closed.  The first step is generally to flush the eye to make sure there is no foreign matter.  Your veterinarian may also do a Schirmer Tear Test and/or a Fluorescein Eye Stain.  Depending on the cause, treatment can include pain medication, antibiotics, eye wash, antihistamine, or other medications such as Lysine oral supplement  that believed having antiviral effect against feline herpes virus.  

Epiphora (Runny Eyes)
Excessive tearing is characterized by watery, teary eyes.  It will often stain the fur, and can result in a wet, gooey mess and even infected skin.  It can be caused by allergies, irritating dust, trauma, corneal ulcers, Feline upper respiratory infection, conjunctivitis, eye inflammation (ophthalmitis), abnormal eyelashes (entropion is a condition where the eyelid rolls inwards causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye), tear duct problems, and sometimes simply the way the dog’s eyes sit in their face. Stubby-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs are more prone to congenital epiphora. If the problem is caused by inflammation or infection it can be treated medically, but it is because a physical defect or tear duct problem, eye surgery may be necessary.


Other Conditions
Genetics, physical characteristics, various eye diseases and some systemic diseases can call cause watery or goopy eyes.  It’s important to have all eye problems evaluated by a veterinarian, particularly if they appear suddenly.  Sometimes treatment is as simple as keeping the area around the eye clean to prevent skin infections, and can be as significant as surgery to correct a serious problem.

If you are looking for a vet clinic in Newmarket, call us at 905-898-1010.

Sources:





Caring For Pet’s Ears

Published by in Ear Cleaning ·
Tags: Petearscleaning
Caring For Your Pet’s Ears
Clean dog Ear
Our pet’s ears can be an ideal dwelling for infectious bacteria or mites. Whether floppy or upright, belonging to a feline or canine, it is important to monitor your pet’s ears, and know how to spot signs of trouble.

What Should I Be Looking For When Examining My Pet’s Ears?
Ear problems are one of the most common problems veterinarians see. That's why it is important for pet owners to properly assess their pet's ears routinely. Here are some common potential signs of a health problem when examining your pet’s ears;
•\tRedness; When your pet’s skin appears red, this can be a sign of infection. Often times the skin will also be swollen or feel hot.
•\tDischarge; When noting discharge from your pet’s ear, this is a common sign of infection.
o\tYellow or reddish-brown ear discharge can be a sign of ear infections as the result of allergies, excessive bathing or swimming, polyps or overproduction of ear wax
o\tBlackish-brown ear discharge could be a sign that your pet has ear mites. Often times this type of discharge may look like coffee grounds, or dried shoe polish
•\tOdour; Often times when a pet has an ear infection there can be an unpleasant odour coming from the ear
•\tForeign Objects; Look for any debris or other foreign objects when examining your pet’s ear. This can include traces of grass, pebbles, or burrs, but also often ticks can latch inside the ear and go unnoticed.
Other signs to watch out for in respect to the health of your pet’s ear include;
•\tPain; Does your pet react to you examining or touching their ears? Signs of pain can include yelping or whining, or your pet resisting you. This can be a sign of infection
•\tScratching; Obviously, pets do occasionally scratch their ears, which does not pose concern. If your pet is repeatedly, persistently scratching their ears this can be a sign of irritation and infection. Frequent scratching can cause bleeding or further contribute to infection.
•\tHead Shaking; Similar to scratching, most pets may occasionally shake their heads, which is not a concern. If they are shaking their head persistently and frequently this may be a sign of irritation and infection.
If you observe your pet displaying any of these listed signs or symptoms, you should speak with your veterinarian. Ear infections can often be treated and resolved swiftly with the proper treatments as prescribed by your veterinarian. Appropriate treatment will not only resolve the problem, but also make your pet feel much more comfortable!

How Can I Prevent Ear Problems?
Not everyone's pet will require routine cleaning or preventive measures. Depending on your pet's breed or species, cleaning may not be necessary.
Most cats are able to clean their own ears, and maintain good ear health on their own. However if your feline friend has "unique ears", like a Scottish Fold for example, maintaining clean ears on their own may be difficult. You may also notice if your cat is neglectful with grooming, their ears may not be sufficiently cleaned. Another factor to consider is whether or not your cat lives exclusively indoors or not. Cats who are going outside are more likely to have debris get in their ears and increase the risk of infection. In cases like these, it may be necessary for you to lend a hand.
Canines are not able to clean their ears like cats do. Dogs who swim or are bathed frequently are more likely to develop ear infections. Moreover, dogs who have prominent, or long canal hairs are more likely to develop ear infections, and their canal hair should be plucked or trimmed. Certain breeds are also at higher risk of developing ear infections, such as Basset Hounds, due to their floppy ears. You can discuss with your veterinarian further the risk factors associated with ear infections that your canine friend may be susceptible to.
If your pet maintains clean, healthy ears on their own, it is recommended that you do not clean their ears routinely. Persistent and excessive cleaning can actually increase the chance of infection.
However, if your pet appears to struggle with maintaining clean ears on their own, or has suffered from ear infections in the past, there are some recommended preventative measures you can take. Discuss with your veterinarian options for ear cleaning solutions they recommend.

Pet Ear Cleaning Steps
To clean your pet's ear with ear cleaning solution recommended by your vet , just follow these simple steps-
•\tGently lift your pet's ear upright to expose the ear canal. Administer the ear cleaning solution in the ear.
•\tWhile still holding the ear flap out of the way, gently massage the base of the ear for approximately 15 to 20 seconds.
•\tRemove dirt and debris by using a piece of gauze or cotton ball. Cleaning with the gauze or cotton ball need only be superficial, and should only have contact with the area of the ear you can see. Attempting to clean further down the ear canal can risk damage to your pet's ear canal.
•\tReward your pet once complete before starting on the other ear.
•\tRepeat the cleaning process on the other ear.
Often times your pet will have the inclination to shake their head as you are cleaning their ears, which is perfectly fine. While some of the cleaning solution may get on you or around your environment, this is actually helpful for pet to clear out excessive cleaning solution. You may hold a towel over your pet's head to try and reduce the amount of solution flying around the environment.
Depending on your pet's comfort levels with you touching their ears, or even the sensitivity they may experience, you may find that your pet is resistant or uncooperative. While it may help to have a family member or friend assist you with the process, it is important to realize when you may need to stop. If your pet is squirming and resisting then you may risk accidental damage to the ear canal. Take breaks as needed throughout the process, to keep your pet safe and comfortable. Also, make sure to reward your pet as much as possible throughout the process.
If you are finding it unmanageable to successfully clean your pet's ears, we are happy to help!
If you are looking for a veterinary clinic in Newmarket, please give us a call at 905-898-1010\t

Sources:
How to Clean Dog Ears











Brooker Ridge Animal Hospital - 107-525 Brooker Ridge, Newmarket, ON - T: 905-898-1010
Back to content | Back to main menu