Our vets in Lancaster frequently encounter ear infections in dogs, especially those with charming long floppy ears. The good news is that most ear infections can be easily treated when detected early. Here are some signs of ear infections in dogs and steps to take if your pup's ears are not in their best health.
Your Pup's Ears
Dogs tend to have a higher susceptibility to ear infections compared to humans because of the shape of their ear canal. Furthermore, if your dog frequently swims or has long floppy ears, they become even more prone to ear infections because trapped moisture creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
The type of Ear infections in Dogs
Dogs can experience three types of ear infections, known as otitis externa, media, and interna. The most common is otitis externa, or an outer ear infection, which happens when there is inflammation in the outer ear canal. Otitis media and interna refer to infections of the middle and inner ear canal, respectively. Middle and inner ear infections in dogs often result from the spread of infection from the external ear.
Middle and inner ear infections can be severe and can result in deafness, a loss of coordination and balance, and, in severe cases, facial paralysis.
It is important to take your dog to the vet should you notice any signs of infection so they can begin treatment right away!
Causes of Ear Infections
Bacteria in the ear primarily cause infections, but yeast, fungus, and ear mites can also lead to painful infections in your pup's ears. Other factors contributing to dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, traumatic incidents, and the presence of tumors or polyps.
Ear Infection Symptoms in Dogs
Ear infections can cause your dog significant discomfort or pain. If your dog exhibits any of the following signs of an ear infection, promptly get in touch with your vet to schedule an examination for your pet. Taking early action to address ear infections can stop more severe symptoms from emerging.Common symptoms of bacterial ear infections in dogs include:
- Pawing or rubbing ear
- Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
- Redness inside of the ear
- Odor in the ear
- Head shaking
- Tilting head
- Swelling of the ear
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
If your dog's ear infection is more severe, you may notice other symptoms, such as:
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Signs of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection
If your dog has an ear infection, your vet will clean your dog's ear with a medicated cleanser and prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication to treat the infection. Your vet may also give you a topical medication and provide instructions for applying it at home.
With treatment, an uncomplicated ear infection caught early will typically clear up within just a week or two. If your pup'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 or repeated ear infections throughout the dog's lifetime.
It's crucial to follow your vet's instructions diligently to speed up your dog's recovery. Failing to complete the prescribed treatment can result in a recurring infection that's harder to treat.
Taking your dog back to the vet for a follow-up appointment is 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 pet parents to spot.
Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs
Our veterinarians advocate prioritizing prevention over treatment for ear infections. To prevent your pup from developing ear infections, it's essential to maintain cleanliness and dryness in your pet's ears.
Consult your veterinarian for advice on an appropriate ear-cleaning solution for your dog, and make sure to clean your dog's ears on a weekly basis delicately.
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.