Our Erin vets see a lot of ear infections in dogs. Most dog ear infections are easy to treat if caught early. Here are some signs that your pooch might have an ear infection and what you should do.
Your Pup's Ears
Because of the shape of their ear canals dogs tend to be more susceptible to ear infections than people. If your dog spends a lot of time in water or has long floppy ears they will be even more prone to ear infections since moisture can become trapped in the ear and create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
By taking a little extra care with your pup's ears you can help to prevent your pooch from developing an ear infection, and if your pup does get an infection, by seeing a vet early there's a good chance that it can be cleared up quickly and easily. Left untreated ear infections in dogs can develop quickly and result in symptoms such as balance and coordination issues, pain and in severe cases facial paralysis.
Causes of Dog Ear Infections
Bacteria is most often the cause of ear infections in dogs, however, yeast, fungus and ear mites can all cause your pup's ears to become infected and painful. Some other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
There are three types of ear infections that can occur in dogs depending upon where the infection has occurred;
- Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear. (Outer ear infection in dogs).
- Otitis media indicates an infection in the dog's middle ear. (Middle ear infection in dogs)
- Otitis interna which are infections of your pet's inner ear. (Inner ear infection in dogs)
Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs
Ear infections can be very painful or uncomfortable for your pooch. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection contact your veterinarian immediately to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing and reduce the chances of complications.
If your pup is suffering from an ear infection you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pawing or rubbing at the ear
- Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
- Odor in the ear
- Redness inside of the ear
- Head shaking
- Tilting head
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
- Swelling of the ear
If your dog's ear infection is more severe you may notice other symptoms such as:
- Indications of hearing loss
- Loss coordination or balance
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles
Treatment for Ear Infections in Dogs
If your dog is diagnosed with an ear infection your vet will take the time to clean your dog's ear with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications appropriate for treating your pet's ear infection. Your veterinarian may also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.
With treatment in the early stages, an uncomplicated ear infection will typically clear up within just a week or two. If your dog's ear infection is more severe or is caused by an underlying health condition, treatment may be more challenging and may take months to resolve. In many cases, more severe cases result in chronic ear infections in dogs or repeated ear infections over the course of the pet's lifetime.
Carefully following your veterinarian's instructions will be essential to clearing up your dog's ear infection as quickly as possible. Not finishing prescriptions, or stopping treatment before the infection has completely cleared can lead to a recurring infection that becomes increasingly difficult to treat.
Follow-up appointments with your vet are highly recommended for dog ear infections. While it may look as if the infection has cleared there may still be traces of infection that are difficult for owners to spot. Finishing treatment before the infection has fully healed can lead to recurring symptoms that are difficult to treat.
How to Prevent Your Dog From Getting an Ear Infection
At Houston County Animal Clinic in Erin we believe that prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to ear infections. To help prevent your pup from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your pet's ears clean and dry.
Speak to your primary care veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears every week, and always dry your dog's ears whenever they come out of the water.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.