Full Circle Presents: ALL EARS Part Two

The Red, Smelly, Goopy, Inflamed Ear

Your pet’s ears are the canary in the gold mine of health.  When the skin is healthy, the internal organs are working well, the immune system is balanced, the diet is good, external parasites are absent, ears will be a beautiful pale pink with just a hint of yellowish brown to dark brown waxy debris.   There will be no appreciable odour and your pet will only occasionally scratch near his or her ears.

If your dog or cat’s ears are red, smelly, full of goopy, sloshing sounding debris or perhaps are chock full of thick black debris, have ulcers on the edges , have swollen ear flaps, lumps or bumps and your poor pet scratches, rubs or cries constantly,  you have the symptom of a disease.  For example, thick black debris in a four week old barn kitten is often a case of ear mites but it could also be a serious  bacterial infection.  Ulcers on the edges of ears may signify self trauma from scratching due to sarcoptic mange mites,  or they may be symptoms of immunologic or vascular disease.  If your dog has one ear that is often itchy and infected, food allergies may be involved. If the outer ear flap has a large bulging blood filled swelling, your pet has what we call an aural hematoma which is secondary to any inflammation of the external ear canals and associated head shaking and scratching. Many dogs that swim regularly in Halifax, Dartmouth, and Bedford lakes get a type of bacterial infection related directly to repeatedly creating a damp environment inside the ear coupled with exposure to water borne bacteria.

Veterinary care is very important to determine the underlying problem and to direct you to the appropriate treatment. At Full Circle Vets, we will direct you to the necessary diagnostic tests which may include cytology; taking a swab of the debris in the ear and examining it under the microscope, and culture; attempting to grow organisms on a culture plate to identify the offending bacteria.  A culture is usually done with a sensitivity test as well to determine what antibiotics are appropriate to treat the ear.  If  food allergy is suspected, you may be asked to do a food elimination trial either with home preparing or specific veterinary hypoallergenic foods.  If autoimmune disease or hypothyroidism are suspected an array of blood tests may be needed.  Some lumps and bumps are of no consequence and some may need to be surgically removed and submitted for analysis in case treatment for cancer is required.

Once the diagnostics are finished or underway, treatment choices can be made and your friend’s path to relief can begin. Full Circle Vets ‘ final ear care blog will focus on topical treatments for ear cleaning (remember leave the inside of the ears alone unless there is a good reason to do otherwise) and treating common ear problems.

Participate in the Full Circle of Veterinary Care!

Our dynamic, passionate and dedicated customer care team wants you to experience inspired, integrated veterinary health care.  Our broadly educated veterinarians, technologists and clerical support staff meld conventional veterinary medicine and surgery with diverse special interest fields including: nutrition (commercial and home prepared feeding plans), diagnostic ultrasound, acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, canine rehabilitation, feline focused medicine and more.  Take the first step and join us online at www.fullcirclevet.ca to learn more and to link to our Facebook page.






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Last updated: November 24, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we can continue providing our full range of services, under certain restrictions. As our province enters the next phase of the reopening plan, we have some updates to share with you about our safety measures.

We are continuing to see all cases by appointment only including Canine Rehabilitation Services, Animal Chiropractic, TCVM Consultations, Bloodwork for Referral Services, Wellness Exams, Vaccines and more!



We are OPEN with the following hours:

- Monday to Friday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED

Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives Inc.