Ear Problems

Pet Ear Infections Treatment

As the premier bird hospital in Phoenix, headed by the first avian bird specialist in Arizona, Dr Hillary Frank, we have good news for birds. They'll be glad to hear that ear infections are rare in their species. For cats and dogs, however the news is not as good, especially for breeds of dogs such as cocker spaniels and Bassett hounds who have long earflaps covering their ears. Cats also suffer ear problems. Fortunately, there are preventative steps caregivers can take to spare their pets the agony of an ear infection and its accompanying ear pain.

ear infections

Ear Infection in Cats

The news regarding the prevalence of ear infections is also good for cats, but compared to birds, the glass is half full. While they are rare, they do occur. And when they do, if the cause is not ear mites, which is a common problem, determining the problem involves a lot of sleuthing on the part of our vet. It could be allergies, a mass, or even foreign matter lodged in the ear canal. The first step our veterinarian will take is to look at your kitty's ear with an otoscope and if any debris is present, gently take a sample to view under the microscope to determine whether it is mites, bacteria, or yeast.

Depending on what she finds to be causing the acute infection, will either prescribe an antibiotic, antifungal, anti-parasitic, or a corticosteroid. Treating an ear infection is straightforward and the results are usually immediate, the important thing is that you recognize the signals your cat sends. If she paws at her ear, scratches it frantically, or tilts her head in the direction of that ear as if trying to dislodge something, she is letting you know she has just experienced a sudden pain. There may also a waxy build-up, black or yellowish discharge or redness or swelling of the ear flap.  These are all similar to the symptoms of an acute ear infection in dogs.

Ear Infection in Dogs

The dog ear serves as the perfect incubator for bacteria or yeast to grow. In fact, ear infections are one of the common reasons we see so many dogs, especially those with floppy ears like beagles, dachshunds, or the cockers and bassets, in fact any type of hound. Their ear flaps evolved to shield the inner and middle ear but unfortunately, also provides the dark moist conditions nasty things like ear mites, yeast, and bacteria thrive in. As in the case of cats, the important things is that you let our vet take a look as soon as possible if you notice your dog is shaking his head almost violently, scratching his ear or if you notice any of the following:

  • Unusual moisture or a wet sound in the ear
  • Unpleasant odor emanating from the ear
  • Redness, swelling, or heat
  • Painful to the touch

Our veterinarian will take the same steps as she does with cats in reaching a diagnosis. However, she may also order lab work to make sure there isn't an underlying cause like hypothyroidism or an autoimmune disease. Treatment will depend on the cause but most likely be either an antibiotic in the form of a pill, spray, cream, or ointment. Preventative steps such as keeping their ears clean and dry will go a long way in keeping their ears free of infection

North Central Animal Hospital is Here For You

If you think your pet is suffering from an ear infection, give us a call for an appointment. And if you have a bird, or are thinking of getting one, remember that Dr. Frank and our pet hospital staff are here for you, as they are for all the pets in the greater Phoenix area. We are standing by to help you!


Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule


7:30 am-6:00 pm


7:30 am-6:00 pm


7:30 am-1:00 pm


7:30 am-6:00 pm


7:30 am-6:00 pm


7:30 am-6:00 pm