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Maltese and Ear Infections
Ear infections are very common in dogs, although less so in cats. Two types are most often seen: otitis externa, infection of the external ear canal, and otitis media, infection of the middle ear. Although any dog or cat can get an ear infection, some breeds appear to be more prone than others. Dogs with pendulous ears, like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds, or dogs with hairy inner ear flaps, like Miniature Poodles and Schnauzers, tend to have a higher occurrence of ear infections. In cats, the Persian breed seems to be more prone to such infections.
Most ear infections are easily and successfully treated. But if left untreated, they could result in serious damage.
Otitis media usually results from the spread of infection from the external ear canal to the middle ear. Also, foreign bodies, debris, ulceration or improper ear cleaning can rupture the eardrum and allow infection to reach the middle ear.
Diagnosis and Treatment
What is involved in an ear exam? Your veterinarian will use an otoscope-an instrument that provides light and magnification-to view the ear canal. He or she will determine whether or not the eardrum is intact and if any foreign material is present. If this is very painful to the pet, sedation or anesthesia may be necessary to complete the exam.
Next, your veterinarian will take a sample of the material in the canal and examine it under a microscope. This is called cytology, and allows the doctor to determine the organism causing the infection. If more than one organism are culprits, multiple medications or a broad-spectrum medication is necessary.
If your veterinarian finds a foreign body, a tick or a very heavy buildup of debris, sedation will likely be required to remove the irritant or to allow a thorough cleansing.
A middle ear infection can be more difficult to clear up. Diagnosis and treatment may include lab tests, X-rays and even surgery. Four to six weeks may pass before the infection disappears, and often during this time you will be told to restrict the activity of your Teacup Maltese Puppy .
For both types of infection, you should keep water from entering your Teacup Maltese Puppy 's ears. Follow-up visits to your veterinarian are very important to make sure treatment is working and the infection has disappeared.
Remember, the longer infection is present, the harder it is to get rid of it. If an ear infection goes untreated, your Teacup Maltese Puppy will continue to be in pain. Your pet's head shaking and scratching can cause further problems, such as broken blood vessels that require surgery to correct. Chronic infections can harm the eardrum and close the ear canal. Surgical reconstruction of the ear canal may then become necessary.
Because cats are normally resistant to ear infections, other problems should be explored. Your cat may have an unusually shaped ear canal, or its immune system could be suppressed. Have your veterinarian test your cat for the feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), both of which affect the immune system. Also, diabetic cats tend to be prone to ear infections, so testing for diabetes may be indicated.