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The next time you see your pets head shaking and flapping its ears in the wind, please do not assume that the problem is internal in the ear

A number of cases that we see over a year period where the animal is presented with suspect ear canal infections are not infected at all. The animal is definitely irritated around the ear area but the internal canal is clean and not inflamed

In dogs, especially German Shepherds, the problem is often associated with small wounds around the perimeter of the ear lobe. These wounds can be very small and are difficult to see but are usually easily felt when you run the ear between the thumb and the forefinger.

The area feels roughened and you may feel small scabs in the hair. If you shave the area you will see small raised areas and they bleed very easily if you run your fingernail over the area.

These damaged areas are associated with biting flies that are attracted to the earlobe because of the heat from the blood supply that is just under the skin. These small insects attack the ear lobe and cause small erosions that proceed to become infected. That, in turn, attracts other flies and biting insects to the area so the ear lobe becomes infected and irritated. When this happens the animal starts to flap its ears.

In cats the flapping head and ear syndrome can be associated with ear mites OUTSIDE the ear – these mites can and will walk over the skin around the head and even though the ear canal is not infected the cat will astir show irritation from the skin around the ears.

So how do you prevent these problems?

If the animal is having problems from the biting insect, it is recommended that you mix 1ml PERMOXIN (available from your vet) to 40mls of baby oil and then apply this to your animals ears twice a day (preferably early morning and again around 5 pm in summer)

For cats with ear mites that are travelling over the body – we recommend that you got o your vet who can supply a liquid that you can syringe down the animal’s throat. Alternatively, there is a new product called REVOLUTION that is a spot on that you apply once a month to the skin of the animal

An added advantage  to the REVOLUTION is that it also kills fleas for the same one month period

REVOLUTION is restricted to sale through your veterinarian

So if your animal is showing signs of ear or head irritation then please check out the associated areas and not just assume the problem is in the ear canal

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