Ear infections are a quite common reason for dogs to have to visit us at Montecito Pet Hospital. Thankfully, most ear infections in our canine companions are relatively easy to treat if they are caught early. Here are some of the signs of ear infections in your dog and what to do if your pup's ears aren't as healthy as they should be.
Your Dog's Ears
Dogs are often more susceptible to ear infections than people because of the shape of their ear canals. If your dog swims often, or has long and floppy ears, they will be more prone to ear infections as well. This is because moisture can become easily trapped in your ear in order to create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
Having said that, with a little extra care you can help to prevent your pooch from developing ear infections.
If your canine companion has an ear infection, by seeing a very early there is a good chance that it can be cleared up easily and quickly. Ear infections in dogs, if left untreated, can develop into health issues like coordination and balance problems, pain for your pup and in more severe cases, facial paralysis.
Causes of Dog Ear Infections
Bacteria is the most common cause of ear infections in dogs. However, fungus, ear mites and yeast can all cause your pet's ears to become painfully infected. Some other causes of dog ear infections includes foreign objects lodged into their ears, tumors, polyps and physical trauma.
There are three types of ear infections seen in dogs depending upon where the infection has occurred;
- Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear. (Outer ear infection).
- Otitis media indicates an infection in the dog's middle ear. (Middle ear infection)
- Otitis interna which are infections of your pet's inner ear. (Inner ear infection)
Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs
Ear infections can be quite painful or uncomfortable for your pet. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection, contact your vets as soon as possible and to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing the first place and reduce the chances of complications arising.
Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:
- Pawing or rubbing at the ear
- Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
- Redness inside of the ear
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
- Odor in the ear
- Head shaking
- Tilting head
- Swelling of the ear
If your dog's ear infection is more severe you may notice other symptoms such as:
- Indications of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Loss coordination or balance
- Unusual eye movements
How Dog Ear Infections are Treated
If your pup is diagnosed with an ear infection, your vet will take some time to clean your dog's ear with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any anti-inflammatory or antibiotic medications that may appropriate for treating your pet's infection. Your veterinarian may also prescribe them topical medication and instruct you on how 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 clear 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.
We highly recommend follow-up appointments with your vet when it comes to dealing with dog ear infections. While it may look like your pup's infection has cleared, they may still have traces of infection that are difficult to spot. Finishing the treatment before the infection has fully healed may lead to recurring symptoms that are difficult to treat.
Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs
Our Montecito vets 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.
Ask your primary care vets about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears. Then, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears each week and always dry their ears when 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.