Ear infection is probably the most common problem I see in pets in Hong Kong, especially in dogs. Our warm, humid climate promotes increased levels of bacteria and yeast in the environment, as well as increased ear wax production, providing a great place for these bugs to live and grow. Some pets are much more prone to ear infections due to their ear shape, skin type and underlying allergies.

The most common signs of ear infection include shaking the head, scratching or rubbing the ears, and in many cases a foul smell and discharge from the ear canal. Professional tip: yeast infections cause a yellow-brown discharge and tend to smell like dirty socks, whereas bacterial infections cause a creamy discharge and smell like rotting meat.

Most ear infections are treated with medicated drops, as well as anti-itching and antibiotic medication. For pets prone to repeat infections, I recommend regular weekly ear cleaning with a gentle ear cleansing solution to help reduce the waxy build-up. Professional tip: don’t put ear cleansing solution directly in the ear. Instead, wet a cotton ball first and use that to clean the ear. This will prevent excess cleaning fluid remaining in the ear, and the cotton ball will also help dislodge any material and debris.