iStock_000015015776_LargeLooking at your pet’s ears is a standard part of a routine wellness exam and can be a valuable diagnostic and treatment modality. Most people have had their own ears examined at some point with a device called an “otoscope,” a hand-held tool that allows visualization of the ear canal and ear drum. The process isn’t much different for pets.

However, when there is an escalation in your pet’s condition, or a standard otoscope evaluation isn’t giving the results needed, your vet may refer you to us for video otoscopy. This is cutting-edge technology that allows us to practice the very best medicine at OVRS.

What Video Otoscopy is

When we perform video otoscopy, the procedure is very similar to any other time your pet has had an otoscopic examination. The difference lies in the fact that this otoscope has a tiny camera attached to the otoscope cone, and fiber optics transmit the images of the ear to a video monitor.

The projected image is also magnified, allowing us to see much more detail than with traditional methods.

In addition, the video otoscope also has a channel that allows the operator to flusch the canal with water and vacuum dry as needed. Special instruments can also be passed through this channel, to allow us to clean, grab objects or even take biopsies.

Occasionally, patients will allow us to examine the ears with video otoscopy while they are awake. This is a convenient way to look for infections or foreign bodies, and the pet owner can also see what the veterinarian is seeing. Multiple people can see into the ear canal with great lighting.

However, most patients with otitis are too itchy or painful to hold still enough for good examination. Sedation or anesthesia is necessary in order to get useful images.

Furthermore, most services require a patient to be absolutely still (biopsy, polyp extraction or myringotomy for example). Cleaning or sampling of irritated or ulcerated ears can be painful to the awake patient. For these reasons, sedation or general anesthesia are usually important for video-otoscopy.

What We Can Do with Video Otoscopy

Veterinary otoscopy is a very safe procedure that can provide us with a tremendous amount of information. The benefits over traditional otoscopy include:

  • It allows better, more detailed visualization
  • It allows us to remove fluid from the ear
  • We can more effectively clean debris from deep in the ear canal
  • We can help to treat allergic ear conditions
  • It allows us the ability to clean behind a ruptured ear drum
  • It lets us efficiently clean wax, infection, and even ear mites from the ear
  • We are effectively able to diagnose and biopsy tumors in the ear
  • We can retrieve foreign objects from the ear canal
  • It lets us acquire precise samples for bacterial culture
  • We can evaluate the middle ear

Routine pet otoscopy can miss problems that are easily seen with our video otoscope. By utilizing this tool we are able to provide your pet with the best and most effective treatments.

If your pet is suffering from ear problems or you feel he or she could benefit from video otoscopy, please give us a call.