Ear infections are common among dogs. Unfortunately, they can cause a great deal of pain to your canine companion. Here, our vets in Kingman talk about how ear infections occur in dogs and how to treat them and get your pup feeling great again.
How the Shape of Your Dog's Ears Affects Their Ear Health
The shape of your dog's ear can actually have an effect on their ear health and can cause an increase in ear infections. If your canine companion loves to swim or has long floppy ears they will be even more susceptible to ear infections since moisture can become trapped in the ear and create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
Luckily, there are some ways that you can help to prevent ear infections from happening and bringing your dog to the vet at the first signs of an infection can help them feel better quickly and with fewer complications. 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.
How do ear infections occur in dogs?
While bacteria are the leading cause of ear infections in dogs there are a number of possible causes including yeast and bacteria. Other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, ear mites, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
There are three types of ear infections seen in dogs depending on 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)
Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs
If your dog has an ear infection then chances are that they are in quite a bit of pain. 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.
Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:
- 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 the ear infection is severe you may notice that your pooch displays other symptoms such as:
- Indications of hearing loss
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles
Treatment Options 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 healing 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 exams 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 Dog Ear Infections From Occurring
Our Kingman 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.
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.