While the outside of the ear can give us part of the clinical picture, it is vital to examine the entire ear canal to:
- Visualise the ear drum - is it intact or ruptured? If the ear drum is ruptured and the middle ear is affected, this may dramatically change the vet’s treatment plan.
- Assess ear canal health and exudate - is the canal inflamed, stenotic (thickened) or ulcerated? Is there much ear wax, or is there purulent debris? An assessment of this will help the vet determine which medication and treatment is best suited to your pet. For example, if the ear canal is full of exudate, a full ear flush under general anesthetic may be required before treatment can commence. This is to ensure the medicated ear drops penetrate the surface of the canal, and not just sit on top of the wax lining the canal walls.
- To check for foreign bodies - such as aural polyps or grass seeds which can be the underlying cause of ear infections.
If your pet is head shaking or scratching at their ears, speak to your local veterinarian about having their ears checked