Our vets in Everett diagnose a lot of ear infections in dogs, particularly in dogs with floppy, adorable ears. While most ear infections are easily treated if caught early, you should know common signs of dog ear infections, and what to do if your dog's ears develop an infection.
Ear Infections in Dogs
While some of our canine companions may have adorably floppy ears, the shape of their ear canal can leave them more vulnerable to infection than their humans. Dogs that swim often and dogs with floppy ears have an even higher risk of ear infections since moisture can become trapped in the ear.
This creates an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply. If untreated ear infections are left to develop into serious infections, more severe symptoms such as coordination and balance issues, facial paralysis and severe pain can occur.
Fortunately, in many cases, if you take a little care you might be able to prevent your dog from developing ear infections. If your pup does develop an infection, there is a good chance the infection can easily and quickly be cleared up by bringing your dog into your vet early on.
Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
While bacteria that's trapped in the ear is a primary cause of ear infections in dogs, foreign objects lodged in the ear, polyps, tumors, ear mites, fungus, yeast and trauma can also cause these painful conditions.
Different Dog Ear Infections
Ear infections in dogs can be classified based on where the infection has occurred:
- Otitis external infections occur on the outside of the ear.
- Otitis media points to an infection in the dog's middle ear.
- Otitis externa are infections of your pet's inner ear.
Signs That Your Dog Might Have an Ear Infection
For dogs, ear infections can be very uncomfortable, and even painful in some cases.
If your pooch shows any of these signs of an ear infection, contact your vet right away to schedule an examination for your dog. To help prevent more severe symptoms from developing, it's important to have ear infections treated early.
Symptoms of ear infections in dogs include:
- Scratching or pawing at the ear
- Yellow, brown or bloody discharge
- Redness inside of the ear
- Odor in the ear
- Head shaking or tilting
- Swelling of the ear
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
- Rubbing ear on floor or furniture
More severe ear infections in dogs can lead to symptoms such as:
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Signs of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
Treatment For Your Dog's Ear Infection
If your pup is diagnosed with an ear infection your vet will clean your dog's ear with a medicated cleanser and prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications appropriate for treating your pet's ear infection. The vet may also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.
Uncomplicated dog ear infections that are caught early typically clear up within just a week or two. If your pup's ear infection is more severe or is due to an underlying health condition, treatment may be more challenging and may take months to resolve.
In many cases, more severe cases result in chronic or repeated ear infections over the course of the dog's lifetime.
Carefully following your veterinarian's instructions is the key 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.
It is strongly recommended that you return to your vet once your dog's treatment is complete in order to ensure that the infection has been cleared up. Although it may look as if the infection has cleared there could still be traces of infection that are difficult for pet parents to spot. If any of the infection is left there is a good chance of symptoms recurring.
Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs
To help prevent your dog from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your pup's ears clean and dry. Speak to your vet about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, and take the time to gently clean your pup's ears every week.
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.