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How to spot ear infections sooner with QSM diagnostic tools

March 15, 2023
4 minute read
How to spot ear infections sooner with QSM diagnostic tools - Whistle

Ear infections are a common health issue for dogs (floppy-eared ones especially) that can cause significant discomfort and pain—and they seldom go away on their own. In most cases, waiting to get your pet treatment will actually cause the infection to get worse and be more painful. And if left untreated, they can cause serious complications for dogs such as hearing loss, hematomas of the ear and sometimes the need for surgery.

Signs of an ear infection in a dog

While it’s not always immediately obvious that your pup has an ear infection, there are some tell-tale signs you can watch for. These include:

  • Scratching or pawing at the ear
  • Redness inside of the ear
  • Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
  • Abnormal odor to the ear (they should definitely not smell like Frito-Lay corn chips)
  • Head shaking or occasional tilting 
  • Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
  • Rubbing ear on the floor or furniture

The infection may be severe if your pup shows any of these symptoms:

  • Swelling of the ear pinna 
  • Warm to the touch 
  • Vocalizing when scratching the ear due to pain
  • Head tilt
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Signs of hearing loss
  • Walking in circles
  • Unusual eye movements

If you note any of these, advise your veterinary office when making the appointment, they will likely need to schedule an urgent care appointment for your dog.

Common causes of dog ear infections

Wondering what’s causing the infection in the first place? Here are a few common triggers:

  • Environmental allergies
  • Food allergies
  • Excessive moisture from bathing or swimming 
  • Foreign bodies such as grass awns or foxtails
  • Ear mites
  • Endocrine issues such as hypothyroidism
  • Rarely other issues such as autoimmune diseases, polyps or other masses that include some types of cancer.

How modern technology helps catch (and treat) ear infections sooner

Keeping an eye out for known signs of an ear infection is great, but using new technology to monitor your pet’s health even when you’re not watching is even better. Whistle smart devices track behaviors that can be associated with ear infections like licking and scratching. If our AI notices a change in these behaviors, we’ll send you an alert. So you can investigate and take action ASAP.

At-home diagnostic tests for pets are now becoming more common, helping pet parents expedite the treatment timeline. Take QSM Diagnostics, for example. With a QSM at-home testing kit on hand, you can begin the diagnostic process as soon as you book an appointment for a potential ear infection.

While your veterinarian will still need to do an exam to ensure all potential factors are accounted for, getting testing done early means you cut down on the time between the initial visit, waiting on test results, and getting treatment started.

Traditionally, when you arrive at your veterinarian for an ear infection, they will order important testing to ensure they pick the correct medications to help your pet recover quickly. Unfortunately, some of these tests can take several additional days, resulting in further delays in getting treatment started.

With a QSM test, you can speed up this timeline. Now pet parents can collect a sample and send in swabs from home to find out what is causing the issue. QSM’s ear test even includes a culture and sensitivity which can help to detect the type of bacteria responsible for an infection which enables your Veterinarian to choose the best antibiotic to best help treat your pet, helping them to have the results in hand by the time the appointment arrives.

Sound like something you’d like to add to your pup’s care plan? You’re in luck. We’ve partnered with QSM to offer Whistle subscribers 15% off testing kits, so you can step into action as soon as their next health issue arises.

Whistle has partnered with QSM Diagnostics to provide safe, accessible and effective tools for diagnosing ear infections. If you do buy through our links, Whistle may earn a commission.

Why early testing makes a difference

One very important benefit of early testing is that it allows your veterinarian to only use antibiotics when appropriate. It also helps them select the correct antibiotic. Knowing what is causing the irritation—whether it’s a foreign body, yeast infection, bacterial infection, or something else—helps them pick the best treatment the first time around. Thus eliminating repeat visits for the same issue or it becoming a chronic problem.

Resistant bacteria may seem like a far-out threat, but the healthcare choices you make for your pet (and family) make a difference. In fact, The World Health Organization has actually listed resistant bacteria as one of the top 10 global public health threats.

That’s why products like QSM are a welcome change. By using antibiotics only when and where they’re needed, these kits not only help to speed up recovery times, but also help in the fight against emerging antibiotic resistance.

Ready to redeem your 15% off a QSM kit? Shop now using code WHISTLE15OFF.

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