Common Dog Ear Problems


Dog Ear Problems And Their Treatments

Dogs are prone to a number of ear diseases, some more common than others. Also some of the diseases listed below are mor commonly seen in certain breeds. For example dog breeds with long ear flaps are more prone to otitis externa than dogs with short ear flaps.

Ear disease make up about 20% of all cases a veterinarian sees.

Preventing Dog Ear Problems

Keeping the ear canals dry can prevent ear infections. When bathing dogs put some cotton wadding into their canals to keep them dry.

After your dog swims be sure to try the ears out with a cotton ball.

Also after your dog has been out running around in tall grass our the woods, be sure to check under the ear flap for foreign objects or awns.

Plucking of hair in the ear canals is not recommended. When the hair in the ear canal is plucked serum oozes out and is a good place for bacteria to grow. This is probably the reason why poodles and other breeds that have been recently groomed are prone to ear infections.

Common Ear Diseases and Problems

Cuts and Bites: Ears are easily bitten in a fight. Minor cuts and bites can often be treated with cleaning and topical antibiotics. If the cartilage in the ear flap is exposed than a vet needs to examine it.

Ear Allergies: Allergic skin diseases and food sensitivies often show up as inflamed itchy ears. Also ear canals can often fill with a brown serum. In order to treat these conditions the underlying allergy should be treated first.



Swollen Ear Flap: If you find dog ear swelling that suddenly appears, it is probably due to a hematoma, which is an accumulation of blood in the ear flap. A vet must drain the blood from the ear flap. This is a hard condition to treat because they frequently reoccur.

Fly Bites: Flies love to bite the face and ears of dogs. The tips of ears are most vulnerable to fly bites. To prevent fly bites on your dogs ear use an insect repellent. Infected ears can be treated with antibiotic ointment.

Frostbite: In colder climates ears are very vulnerable to frostbite because of their thinness. If the ear is frostbite the skin will appear pale and sometimes blue. If it appears that tissue that is frostbitten is turning black or dying a vets help is needed.

Otitis Externa: This is the most common ear disease and what is most commonly referred to as dog ear infections. This is where the outer ear canal is infected. An infected ear canal will appear red, inflamed, and painful. Dogs with ear infections often shake their heads. The most common causes of these infections are bacteria and yeast. In minor cases repeated cleaning of the ear will resolve the issue. In more severe cases medication is needed.

Ear Mites: Otodectic mange or mites are very small mites that live in the ear canal. These are highly contagious between dogs and cats, but not for humans. Puppies are most susceptible. A brown exudate forms in the ear canal that almost looks like coffee grounds. A miticide is needed to treat ear mites in dogs. Tresaderm is common treatment.

Otitis Media and Otitis Interna: These are infections of the middle and inner ear canals respectively and are very serious conditions that require vet treatment.

Labyrinthitis: Diseases of the inner ears can cause dizziness. Labyrinth is part of the inner ear that helps control balance. When there is an infection, the dogs balance is off. A head tilt is a sign of this. The side of the head tilted down is the side that is infected.

Deafness: Dogs can become deaf at any age. Puppies are not able to respond to sound until day 11 so you cannot tell if a puppy is deaf before that age.

Medications like gentomycin can also cause deafness in dogs.

Dalmatians have the highest incidence of deafness.

Old dogs lose their hearing around 10 years of age. It may not be noticeable if the dog can still see. Return to Dog Health page.

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