Our South Charlotte vets see a lot of ear infections in dogs, particularly in dogs with adorable floppy ears. The good news is that most ear infections are easy to treat if caught early. Here are some of the most common signs of dog ear infections, and what you should do if your dog's ears develop an infection.
Ear Infections in Dogs
Due to the shape of a dog's ear canal our canine companions are more susceptible to ear infections than we are. In dogs that swim frequently and dogs with adorable floppy ears there is an even greater risk of ear infections developing due to moisture becoming trapped in the ear, creating the ideal environment for bacteria to multiply.
If ear infections in dogs are left untreated in the early stages much more serious infections can develop, increasing the risk of more severe symptoms such as facial paralysis, balance and coordination issues, and severe pain.
Luckily in many cases, with a little care, you can prevent your dog from developing ear infections, and if your dog does develop an infection, by seeing your vet early there's a good chance that the infection can be cleared up quickly and easily.
Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
While bacteria trapped in the ear is a primary cause of ear infections in dogs, these painful conditions can also be caused by yeast, fungus, ear mites, foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, or even tumors or polyps.
Different Dog Ear Infections
There are three types of ear infections seen in dogs depending upon where the infection has occured;
- Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear.
- Otitis media indicates an infection in the dog's middle ear.
- Otitis interna which are infections of your pet's inner ear.
Signs That Your Dog May Have an Ear Infection
If your dog develops an ear infection they are likely to feel very uncomfortable and in some cases, the ear may be very painful.
If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection contact your vet straight away to book an examination for your pooch. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing.
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.
If your pooch is showing signs of an ear infection contact us today to book an examination for your four-legged friend. Our experienced South Charlotte vets can diagnose the underlying cause of your dog's ear infection and provide effective treatment.
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