Ear infections in dogs are fairly common, particularly in dogs with adorable long floppy ears. But most ear infections are easily treatable if they're caught early enough! Here, our Clinton Township vets share some of the signs of dog ear infections and what owners should do about them.
Your Pup's Ears
The shape and size of the average dog's ear canal makes them far more susceptible to ear infection than humans. The warm and spacious nature of a dog's ear makes it a breeding ground for bacteria.
That said, with a little care you can help to prevent your dog from developing ear infections, and if your dog does get an infection by seeing a vet early there's a good chance that it can be cleared up quickly and easily.
When ear infections are left untreated in the early stages much more serious infections can develop that can lead to symptoms such as balance and coordination issues, severe pain and in some cases facial paralysis.
Causes of Ear Infections
Bacteria within the ear is a primary cause of infections. 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, ear trauma, and tumors or polyps.
Ear Infection Symptoms in Dogs
Ear infections can be very uncomfortable or painful for your dog. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection contact your vet straight away to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing.Common symptoms of ear infections in dogs include:
- Pawing or rubbing ear
- Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
- Redness inside of the ear
- Odor in the ear
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
- Head shaking
- Tilting head
- Swelling of the ear
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
- Loss coordination or balance
- Signs of hearing loss
Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection
Once the ear infection is diagnosed, your vet will start with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication needed for the 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, 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 over the course of the dog's lifetime. It is vital to closely follow all of your veterinarian's instructions and using up the full prescription so your dog doesn't become immune to antibiotics.
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
Prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to ear infections. To help your dog avoid ever getting an uncomfortable ear infection in the first place, keep their ears clean and dry. Speak to your veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, and how often you should clean them (typically once a week is recommended).
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.