Otitis, an inflammation of the ear, is a common problem in dogs and cats. Otitis is categorized into three different diseases by location within the ear canal: otitis externa, otitis media, and otitis interna. Otitis externa, which is extremely common in dogs and cats, is a dermatological disease that affects the skin of the external ear canal and can be acute or chronic. Otitis media and otitis interna are less common diseases in dogs and cats.
Otitis externa is complicated due to several distinct factors. The primary, and most common (more than 70% of cases), cause of chronic otitis externa is allergy (food, environmental, flea, and other allergies). Unfortunately, the primary factor, allergy, initiates the inflammatory process within the ear canal and induces the development of secondary factors, such as bacterial or fungal infections. Primary causes can initially be asymptomatic and hard to detect. Therefore, the disease can sometimes be identified only when secondary infections develop with a variety of signs and symptoms.
Secondary infections make the disease more complicated and harder to treat due to the resistance of different bacteria and fungi to antibiotics. Some dog breeds, such as Cocker spaniel, German shepherd, Poodle, Basset hound, and some cats, especially Persians and Siamese, are predisposed to otitis externa. To avoid the problems with the treatment of otitis externa, that can become chronic in your pets, you must determine the primary cause of the disease in time. A simple allergy test for dogs, cats, and horses can help you to determine all offensive food and environmental allergens to eliminate from daily exposure and diet, in order to help prevent the development of secondary infection.
All pet and animal owners should pay attention to allergy signs in their pet and immediately contact veterinarians if any appear. A veterinarian can help by ordering an allergy test for the pet for specific allergens based on the observations of symptoms to prevent secondary infections and chronic conditions of the disease.