Ear infections in dogs are a common condition seen by our Greensboro vets, especially in dogs with long floppy ears. Fortunately, most dog ear infections are easily treated if caught early. Here are some of the most common signs of ear infections in dogs, and what to do if you think your dog might have an ear infection.
Your Pup's Ears
The shape of your pup's ear canal makes your dog more susceptible to ear infections than people typically are. If your dog swims frequently or has long floppy ears they will be even more prone to ear infections since moisture can become trapped in the ear, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to grow.
That said, with a little extra care you can help to prevent your dog from developing ear infections.
If your pooch does begin showing signs of an ear infection, by seeing a vet early there's a good chance that it can be cleared up quickly and easily. Left untreated a severe ear infection could quickly develop, possibly resulting in symptoms such as loss of balance or coordination, pain and in severe cases even facial paralysis.
Causes of Dog Ear Infections
Bacteria is the number one cause of ear infections in dogs, however, yeast, fungus and ear mites can all cause your pup's ears to become infected and painful. Some other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
There are three types of ear infections seen in dogs depending upon 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)
Common Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs
Just like ear infections in people, dog ear infections can be very painful or uncomfortable. If your dog shows any of the following signs contact your vet immediately to book an examination for your pooch. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing and reduce the chances of complications.
Signs of Ear Infections in Dogs
- 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 Dog Ear Infections are Treated
If your pup 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.
An uncomplicated ear infection that is treated early 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 infections result in chronic or repeated ear infections over the course of the dog's lifetime.
Carefully following your vet's instructions will be essential 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 or chronic ear infection that becomes increasingly difficult to get rid of.
Follow-up appointments with your vet are highly recommended when it comes to ear infections. While it may appear that the infection has cleared there could 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 Ear Infections in Dogs
Our Greensboro vets believe that prevention is better than treatment when it comes to ear infections. To help prevent your pet from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your dog's ears clean and dry.
Ask your vet 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 be sure to 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.
Is your pooch experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of an ear infection? Book an appointment with our Greensboro vets today for your canine companion.
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