If they are diagnosed early ear infections in dogs are generally easy to treat. In this blog, our Tucson vets discuss the signs of ear infections in dogs and the steps you should take if you believe your pup's ear may have an infection.
The Ears of Your Dog
The shape of a dog's ear canal puts it at a higher risk for ear infections than humans. If your pooch has long floppy ears or spends lots of time in the water they will be even more susceptible to ear infections because moisture can get trapped in the ear and build an environment that's ideal for bacteria to thrive.
By providing your pup's ears with a little extra care you can help keep your dog from developing an ear infection. If your pooch does happen to develop an infection, take them to the vet early so there will be a good chance for the infection to clear up easily and quickly. If your dog's ear infection goes without treatment it can quickly lead to symptoms such as balance and coordination problems, pain, and in serious situations facial paralysis.
The Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
Most of the time bacteria is what causes ear infections in dogs, although, ear mites, fungus, and yeast could also lead to your pooch's ears becoming painful and infected. Several other causes of ear infections in dogs include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
Dogs can develop three different kinds of ear infections depending on where the infection is occurring:
- Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear. (Outer ear infection in dogs).
- Otitis media indicates an infection in the dog's middle ear. (Middle ear infection in dogs)
- Otitis interna which are infections of your pet's inner ear. (Inner ear infection in dogs)
Signs & Symptoms of Dog Ear Infections
Ear infections can be very painful or uncomfortable for your pooch. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection contact your veterinarian immediately to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing and reduce the chances of complications.
If your dog is suffering from an ear infection you might see them displaying one or more of these symptoms:
- Odor in the ear
- Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
- Redness inside of the ear
- Pawing or rubbing at the ear
- Tilting head
- Head shaking
- Swelling of the ear
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
If your dog has a more severe ear infection you may notice other symptoms including:
- Loss coordination or balance
- Indications of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
Treating Ear Infections in Dogs
If your dog 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.
With treatment in the early stages, an uncomplicated ear infection 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. Often, more severe cases result in chronic ear infections in dogs or repeated ear infections over the course of the animal's lifetime.
It's essential for your to carefully follow your vet's instructions so your dog's ear infection can clear up as quickly as possible. Stopping treatment before the infection has completely cleared or not finishing prescriptions can cause a recurring infection that becomes more difficult to treat.
Follow-up appointments with your vet are 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 owners to spot. Finishing treatment before the infection has fully healed can lead to recurring symptoms that are difficult to treat.
Preventing Dog Ear Infections
At Spanish Trail Pet Clinic in Tucson we believe that preventing infections from developing in the first place is the best form of treatment. To help keep your four-legged freind from developing an ear infection it is important to keep their ears dry and clean.
Talk to your veterinarian about the best ways you can clean your dog's ears, take the time to carefully clean your dog's ears every week, and always dry your dog's ears every time 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.