Ear infections are a painful condition that can commonly affect dogs of all sizes and breeds. Here, our veterinary team in South Plainfield shares some information about the causes and symptoms of ear infections in dogs and how they can be treated to get your dog feeling good again.
How Your Dog's Ears May Work Against Them
Dog ear canals are shaped differently than humans which can lead to a number of potential issues. While they are cute this can mean even more issues if your dog has longer ears that flop over. This is because moisture can become more easily trapped in the ear and create an ideal environment for bacteria or yeast to thrive.
As long as you take the time to properly clean and dry your dog's ears on a regular basis you can help to prevent ear infections. The important thing is to bring your dog to the vet right away f you notice the signs of an ear infection. Left untreated ear infections in dogs can worsen quickly and result in symptoms such as balance and coordination issues, pain, and in severe cases facial paralysis.
The Commonly Seen Causes of Ear Infections
while bacteria is the most commonly seen cause of ear infections in dogs, it is not the only possibility. 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.
Your vet will classify your dog's ear infection based on one of three possible locations:
- Otitis external (outer ear infections)
- Otitis media (middle ear infections)
- Otitis interna (inner ear infections)
The Signs & Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs
One thing is for sure, if your dog is suffering from an ear infection they are likely in a lot of pain. If you happen to notice any of the following symptoms related to ear infections in your dog you should contact the vet right away to schedule an examination. By having this condition diagnosed as early as possible the infection can be managed before it develops any serious complications.
Here are some of the symptoms that are typically seen with 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
With severe ear infections in dogs, you may notice other symptoms such as:
- Indications of hearing loss
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles
Treatment Options For Dog Ear Infections
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. In many cases, more severe cases result in chronic ear infections in dogs or repeated ear infections over the course of the pet's lifetime.
Your vet will provide you with detailed instructions and a prescription to give to your dog each day. You will need to follow the dosage and instructions carefully in order to ensure that your dog recovers as quickly as possible without any issues. You should always finish your dog's entire prescription, even if they seem to be back to normal. Stopping treatment before the infection has completely cleared can lead to a recurring infection that becomes increasingly 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.
Preventing Ear Infections From Occurring
Prevention is the best protection when it comes to your pup's ears. Always be sure to thoroughly dry your dog's ears any time they have been in the water. You can also speak with your vet about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears and take the time to gently clean them every week.
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.