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Ear Cytology Test in Dogs

Ear cytology testing in dogs is common.

When you take your dog to the veterinarian for an ear problem or one is discovered by the doctor while you're there, an ear cytology test is likely to be on the list of recommendations. Here's what it is and what it tells the vet.

What Is an Ear Cytology?

Ear cytology is a test in which the veterinarian gathers a sample of the discharge in a dog's ear on a cotton swab. That swab is then rolled over a microscope slide. If the doctor wants to look for ear mites, he or she can do that with the slide at that time. If bacteria, yeast, or other cell types are the more likely culprits of the problem, the vet will heat fix and stain the slide before looking at it under the microscope.

This test is non-invasive and doesn't require anesthesia unless the dog is naturally aggressive or has an extremely painful ear. It is also usually a reasonably affordable test and can give the veterinarian a lot of information about what's going on with a dog's ear.

What Information Does an Ear Cytology Give a Veterinarian?

Under the microscope, a veterinarian can identify yeast organisms, bacteria, white blood cells, red blood cells, and ear mites in a sample of ear debris.

While a small number of bacteria and yeast are typically found on the skin inside the ear canal, if there is an overabundance of those organisms in conjunction with signs of discomfort and extra discharge from the ear, the doctor will most likely diagnose an ear infection.

Sometimes, the results of an ear cytology test trigger a recommendation for further testing. For example, if an overgrowth bacteria are found on the slide, the doctor might recommend doing a culture and sensitivity test on the ear debris to narrow down the type of organisms present and determine what medication they might be susceptible to.

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Otitis Externa: Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear Mites in Dogs

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Ear Hematomas in Dogs

Culture and Sensitivity Skin Test in Dogs

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