We treat a lot of bacterial ear infections in dogs here at our Edgewater veterinary clinic. Fortunately, most dog ear infections are easy to treat if diagnosed early. Today our vets share some signs that your pup might have an ear infection and what you should do.
Severe ear infections in dogs are more common than in people due in large part to the shape of their ear canals. If your dog spends a lot of time in the water or has long floppy ears they will be even more prone to ear infections since moisture can become trapped in the ear and create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
By taking extra care of your pup's ears, you can help to prevent an ear infection, and if your pup does get an infection, by seeing a vet early, it can likely be cleared up quickly and easily. If left untreated, ear infections in dogs can progress quickly, causing symptoms such as loss of balance and coordination, pain, and, in severe cases, facial paralysis.
Common Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
Bacterial ear infections in dogs are the most common however, yeast, fungus, and ear mites can all cause your pup's ears to become infected and painful. Dog ear infections can also occur due to foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
There are three types of ear infections that can occur in dogs depending upon where the infection has occurred;
- Outer ear infections or otitis externa in dogs
- Middle ear infection or otitis media in dogs
- Inner ear infection or otitis interna in dogs
Signs That Your Dog Might Have an Ear Infection
Ear infections can be extremely uncomfortable, if not painful, for your dog. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms of an ear infection, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an examination. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent the development of more severe symptoms and reduce the likelihood of complications.
If your dog is suffering from an ear infection it may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- 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 your dog's ear infection is more severe you may notice other symptoms such as:
- Indications of hearing loss
- Loss coordination or balance
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles
How Ear Infections in Dogs Are Treated
If your dog has an ear infection, your vet will clean it with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications that are necessary to treat your pet's ear infection. Topical medication may also be prescribed by your veterinarian, and you will be instructed on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.
An uncomplicated ear infection will usually clear up within a week or two if treated early on. If your dog's ear infection is severe or caused by a medical condition, treatment may be more difficult and may take months to resolve. More severe cases frequently result in chronic ear infections in dogs or repeated ear infections throughout the pet's lifetime.
Following your vet's instructions precisely will be critical to resolving your dog's ear infection as soon as possible.
Failure to complete prescriptions or discontinue treatment before the infection has completely resolved can result in recurring, chronic, or more severe ear infections in dogs, which can become increasingly difficult to treat.
Follow-up appointments with your veterinarian are strongly advised for dog ear infections. While it may appear that the infection has cleared, there may still be traces of infection that owners are unable to detect.
Preventing Ear Infections in Your Dog
When it comes to ear infections, our veterinarians at Animal General in Edgewater believe that prevention is always better than treatment. It is critical to keep your canine companion's ears clean and dry to help prevent an ear infection.
Consult your primary care veterinarian about the best cleaning solution for your dog's ears, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears once a week, and always dry your dog's ears after 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.