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Listen Up! Ear Cytology for Dogs and Cats

earcheck

Did you know, after dental disease, ear disease is one of the most common diseases seen in veterinary practices?

From mild inflammation or severe middle ear infection, approximately 15 – 20% of canine patients and 6 – 7% of feline patients have some kind of ear disease. Determining the cause of ear disease is often a difficult task. Your veterinarian will recommend and ear cytology in many cases. An ear cytology is a laboratory procedure that allows us to microscopically (under a microscope) see what is ‘growing’ in a patient’s ear.  Although we will do a comprehensive physical examination and look into your pet’s ears with an otoscope we can only ‘see so much’. Bacteria and yeast are too small to see with the naked eye and come in many types (species).  Once we take a swab of the ear, we will roll the debris-laden swab onto a microscope slide, fix and stain the slide and then look under the microscope for microbe identification.  Without this test, we are just guessing about which medications to use and there are dozens of medications to choose from.  Clearly, successful treatment of ear disease can be expedited if we know exactly what we are treating and with which medications.  If you have ever had an ‘ear-ache’ you know that they can be painful, so in addition to prescribing the needed medications for treatment the veterinarian will discuss pain management with you.

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