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Des Moines, Iowa 50321
Phone(515) 280-3100

ISU Student Experience

Ears, Eyes and Anus . . . almost everything you wanted to know.

Animals, animals, animals.  We love them but sometimes they are a little broken.  Small things can become very big things in a very short amount of time.   As humans we have the ability to feel something coming on before we start to see the signs and we can try to alleviate the inevitable.  Since our pets can not communicate we have no idea something has been bothering them until we see the signs.  Most people assume the ears, eyes and anus are areas where you dont' really NEED to see a veterinarian.  However, not true.  These are three areas where no over-the-counter or over-the-phone solution is a possibility. 

Let's consider the ears first.  We can see our pet shaking their head, scratching at their ears.  Doesn't take long before it's not-stop shaking and scratching.  Then it progresses to inflamed (pink or red and warm to touch), discharge, smells horrific!   You may notice the ear flap looks "fat".  All things that need to be seen by a doctor.  Many times we believe we can call our veterinarian and just have them give us something for the ear "infection".  How do we know if it's an infection?   This is something that you can not just take a guess at!!  A veterinarian needs to see your pet.  They will most likely perform a cytology of the ear -- swab inside the ear and look at under a microscope.  There are different treatments depending on what is actually the problem.  If you treat for one and it's the other . . . not gonna make you or your pet happy!  If the ear is "fat"  -- most likely a hematoma has formed from all the scratching and shaking so now that has to be fixed as well.  Fixing the cause of the shaking and scratching is first and the hematoma just makes everything so much more fun!  Some people want the doctor to try and drain the hematoma with the hope it takes care of the problem (markedly less expensive) but usually the ear swells right back up and will need a procedure performed which includes lancing the ear and a beloved e-collar.  Can't risk anymore scratching!  More medications may be added to this protocol if allergies are contributing to the scratching, shaking and discharge. 

Eyes next!!  Seems like everything is fine one minute, you turn around and their eye is full of matter or watering like Niagra!  What the heck??  Probably just dusty in the room or they scratched themselves!  It's amazing how eye issues with our pets seem to come on quickly and if you act quickly will usually go away just as fast as they came.  Again, there is no quick over-the-counter or over-the-phone fix.  The veterinarian needs to see the patient to look at the eye.  Depending on what the problem is . . . two totally different types of medication.  Treatment for one could cause lots of problems if the actual problem is something totally different.  The doctor will most likely perform a "staining" of the eye to check for injury.  Eyes are delicate so waiting too long for treatment can be devastating.

Anus . . . everyone loves to see your little dog scoot their bottom across the floor.  Big or small it's just soooooo cute!!!  Especially when you just purchased new carpet or just finished renting the Rug Doctor!  Lots of people think this is behavioral and scold their pet.   Again, no quick fix.  You need to see your veterinarian.  Could be intestinal parasites, full anal glands, allergies, matted hair, plus so much more.  If you take your pet in to see a doctor immediately, the "fix" is usually quick and inexpensive.  If you procrastinate, things can advance from simply full anal glands to an anal gland abscess (which requires sedation, procedure, medications, e-collar), some tangled hair can become a fecal matt (which requires sedation, clip and clean, medications, e-collar) . . . . I'm sure you catch my drift.

Now the big question is what to do when it's 5pm on Sunday , 10pm on Wednesday or Christmas Eve?   The ER at Iowa Veterinary Specialties is open 24 hours a day, every single day of the year.  No appointment needed.  Just grab your pet, come on in.  A veterinarian will see your pet and get treatment started right away.  You will be back home in a couple of hours and everyone will feel much better. 

Published on October 4, 2016

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