Dog Ear Infections

Dog ear infections can be one of the most difficult, frustrating, and expensive experiences a dog owner can have, not to mention the dog’s pain. It is one of the most common reasons people take their dogs to the veterinarian, and often times it means lots of repeat visits. While the majority of ear infections are easily treated, for some dogs it is a recurring disease.

Breeds
Breeds like Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles, and Schnauzers are prone to more ear infections because of pendulous ear flaps or hairy ear canals. Also pet with dog allergies are prone to ear infections, and dogs that like to swim.

Location
There are three different locations in the ear that a dog could have an infection. These are otitis externa, otitis media, and otitis interna. While otitis externa is the most common type of infection, otitis media and otitis interna are more dangerous because these are inner ear infections. Otitis means inflammation of the ear. If otitis externa is severe enough it can rupture the ear drum and move into the middle ear. This is why veterinarians should always check to see if the eardrum is intact.



Causes
There are several causes of dog ear infections. The most common ones are bacteria and yeast. Other minor causes of ear infections are tumors, wax buildup, mites, and foreign bodies like fox tails and grass awns.

Symptoms
Dogs with ear infections normally scratch a lot at their ears and shake their heads. If you lift the ear flap and look closer you will likely see that the ear is red and swollen, and is warm to the touch. Also there is an offensive odor and possibly drainage. In severe cases of head shaking aural hematomas can happen. These appear as swollen ear flaps. To the touch the ear flap feels soft and warm. This is blood accumulating in the ear flap due to damage from severe head shaking. While not a life threatening condition, it should be treated by your veterinarian soon. Normal treatment for this condition is draining the blood clots from the ear flap.

Diagnosis
Ear infections are diagnosed by a veterinarian during the physical exam using an otoscope. Here they will likely examine the eardrum for damage. Also they will take a swab of the ear canal and examine it under the microscope to help determine the type of infection.

Treatment
Treatment varies depending on the cause of the infections. For dog ear infections caused by bacteria usually antibiotics are used, either drops into the ear canal or oral antibiotics if the infection is severe. Yeast infections are treated with antifungals. Most ear infections are a combination of yeast and bacterial infection so combination therapy is used.

In severe cases of recurring ear infections surgery might be necessary. This type of surgery is called an “ear canal ablation” because the surgeon changes the structure of the ear canal. During this surgery the ear canal is widened or shortened to allow better drainage of the ear canal.



*Home Cleaning Tips*
One of the most important ways to solve dog ear infections is to do a daily ear cleaning. Your vet will likely give you a cleaning solution to put into your dog’s ears.

To clean your dog’s ears, lift the flap and fill the canal with the cleaning solution. Then massage the ear for about 30 seconds and then let your dog shake their head to help loosen any wax or debris. Then take some tissue and wipe the ear dry. Then take the medication the vet gave you and put several drops directly into the ear canal as prescribed.

Prognosis
The prognosis varies depending on the breed of dog, type and severity of infection, and the ability of the owner to treat the dog at home on a regular basis.

Prevention
Owners of dogs prone to ear infections should do weekly ear cleanings. This not only helps in preventing infection, but helps to keep the owner informed about the condition of the ears. Your Veterinarian can recommend a good ear cleaning product. If your dog has hairy ear canals make sure you have your groomer pluck these on a regular basis. Also if your dog is prone to ear infections, try to prevent them from swimming and getting the ear canals wet.

Summary
Dog ear infections can be one of the most frustrating and expensive experiences a dog owner can have. But will early treatment and preventative care the problem should resolve quickly. Frequent visits to your veterinarian, although inconvenient, are necessary for a cure.



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Common Dog Ear Diseases

Dog Ear Swelling

Dog Eye Ears Problems

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Pet Allergies

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my dog  
is an american stafford terrier mix and she keeps scratching and shaking her head. i have tried various treatments but we cannot find one to get rid of …

ear is greyish/blackish 
my dog's right ear is greyish in colour on the inside, does this indicate a ear infection? I have been using a cleaning solution which says it treats ear …

My dog is tilting her head Not rated yet
If my dog is tilting her head and yelping when I grab her ear is it an ear infection? Cuz now she's limping? ***** Tilting of a dog's head is a very …

shaken doggie syndrome Not rated yet
I tried cleaning my dog's ears with some tissue and now she won't stop shaking her head! What should I do? Will she be ok?

how do you restrain dog during ear treatment Not rated yet
My 15lb Maltese mix fights like Mike Tyson. I am afraid I am traumatizing the poor baby to clean and treat ear. How can I restrain him effectively w/o …

hydrogen peroxide and q-tips Not rated yet
Hydrogen peroxide and q-tips save me alot of money.

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