World Hearing Day 2022: PDSA tips on ear problems in pets

The 3rd of March marks World Hearing Day, raising awareness of the importance of early identification and intervention for hearing loss.

Ear problems are common in pets and are often very painful, but our four-legged friends can’t always tell us they are suffering.

PDSA vet nurse Nina Downing said: “Dogs with skin allergies or those with floppy ears can be predisposed to developing ear infections, as well as those with excessive hair growth in the ear canal. If you own one of these types of dog, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms to look out for.

“Signs your pet may have an ear problem include excessively scratching at their ears, shaking their head, red or swollen ears, lots of dark brown or yellow wax, or a bad smell coming from the ears. Severe ear problems can cause other symptoms too, like loss of balance or head tilt, as the inner parts of the ear help to control balance.

“If you notice any of these signs speak to your vet for advice as soon as possible. Over-the-counter treatments might make your pet’s ear seem better without solving the underlying problem and in some cases using eardrops or cleaners without veterinary advice could make the problem worse.

If your vet advises you to clean your pet’s ears, follow PDSA’s step-by-step guide and watch our video to make sure you have the right technique:

Nina adds: “Sometimes, pets can develop serious ear problems that don’t go away easily with treatments like ear drops or tablets, so your vet might need to do further investigations. If they need to flush out the ear, they’ll give your pet a sedative or general anesthetic, like they would for an operation, as this can be very painful. In severe ongoing cases of ear disease, surgery to remove the affected parts of the ear canal might even be considered.”

For more pet health advice, visit PDSA’s website:

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.

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