Video Otoscopy has revolutionised how we treat ear infections. Hundreds of animals have been successfully treated over the last 15 years and many have been saved from expensive surgery thanks to the ability to safely and effectively clean the external ear canal and, if necessary, the middle ear.
David has been using a Storz video otoscope to manage otitis cases since 2004 when he attended a wetlab course on the subject at Vienna University Vet School during the 4th World Congress in Veterinary Dermatology.
The amazing clarity of the images and the ability to really seen into the ear and asses the condition of the ear drum made him realise the limitations of using a standard hand-held otoscope. Up until that time ear cleaning had been done with the hand held otoscope and a syringe attached to a cut down urinary catheter.
Often the flushing was done half-blind due to the design of a hand held otoscope with the light source and magnifying lens some distance from the tip. It was difficult to really see what was going on deep inside the canal and determining the exact state of the ear drum. Also it was impossible to accurately take biopsies, perform myringotomies (where the a hole is deliberately made on the ear drum for the purposes of dealing with cases of of middle ear disease) and properly monitor progress of a case.
The Storz video otoscope has a very bright light source which, via fibre- optics, comes from the very tip, providing excellent illumination of the ear canal. There is a working channel with opens at the tip which allows flushing and aspiration tubes, flexible grasping and biopsy forceps and flexible curette to be placed accurately into the ear canal where they are required.
A camera is attaches to the scope so the procedure can be seen in massive magnification on a screen and it can also be recorded so we can point out to owners exactly what is going on inside their pet’s ear. After each video otoscopy procedure we go through our findings with the owner and the progress of a case from initial visit to resolution can be documented.
To become proficient at video otoscopy takes time and in the early days there was a bit of a learning curve, but now, after treating hundreds of dogs and a smaller number of cats, David has become very skilled at using this fantastic piece of equipment.
Video otoscopy and ear flushing of a case of otitis nearly always requires a general anaesthetic due to the fact that the ear is such a sensitive structure. It is vital there is no movement of the animal to perform this procedure safely and effectively. The number of times the procedure has to be done is dependent on the case.
Some cases just require it once, whereas other cases need it several times over a few weeks, particular those cases of pseudomonas otitis where the canal is ulcerated and there is a huge build up of bacterial biofilm and there is a concurrent middle ear infection, or if there is chronic pathological changes that need reversing.
We’ve listed our videos below so that you can see first-hand the affects and type of treatment that is required to resolve some common yet complex problems.
Find out what ear mites look like
Find out how we view chronic ear infections using the Storz Video Otoscope
Peeling debris off an opaque ear drum
Pseudomonas Otitis of 10month's Duration Resolved in 16 Days
See an unusual case of loose hyperplastic skin in a dog with chronic otitis
Chronic Polypoid Ceruminous Gland Hyperplasia
Severe Ceruminous Gland Hyperplasia
Otitis Externa and unrelated Primary Secretory Otitis Media in a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Myringotomy in a Dog
Despite these detailed videos, it can be difficult to spot ear diseases simply because they are hidden deep inside the ear. We’ve listed the primary causes and highlighted the symptoms of ear and skin conditions on relevant pages to help you to remain vigilant against them.
If you’ve noticed skin or ear problems in your pet, it’s vital that you contact specialised veterinary professionals before symptoms worsen. To book an appointment with our small animal skin and ear experts, simply call us below or email us on email@example.com.