Ear infections are a common problem in dogs, especially in dogs with long floppy ears. Today, our Ocala veterinarians discuss the symptoms of ear infections in dogs, as well as what you should do if your dog's ears aren't as healthy as they should be.
Your Dog's Ears
Because of the shape of their ear canals, a dog's ears are more susceptible to ear infections. If your dog swims frequently or has long floppy ears, he or she is more susceptible to ear infections because moisture can become trapped in the ear, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
If your dog does get an ear infection, seeing a vet as soon as possible will increase the likelihood that it will be cleared up quickly and easily. However, if the early symptoms of infection are ignored, much more severe ear infections can develop, causing symptoms such as loss of balance and coordination, pain, and, in severe cases, facial paralysis.
Causes of Bacterial Ear Infections in Dogs
Bacteria are by far the most common cause of ear infections in dogs; however, yeast, fungus, and ear mites can all cause your pup's ears to become infected and painful. Foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps are some of the other causes of dog ear infections.
Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs
As you might expect, ear infections can be excruciatingly painful for your dog. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms of an ear infection, contact your veterinarian right away to schedule an examination. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent the development of severe pain and other serious symptoms.
Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:
- 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 inside the ear
- Swelling of the ear
Severe ear infections in dogs can lead to symptoms such as:
- Hearing loss
- Loss coordination or balance
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles
How Dog Ear Infections are Treated
If your dog has an ear infection, your vet will clean it with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications that are necessary to treat your pet's ear infection. Your veterinarian may also prescribe a topical solution and instruct you on how to apply it to your dog's ear at home.
An uncomplicated ear infection will usually clear up in a week or two if treated promptly. If your dog's ear infection is severe or caused by a medical condition, treatment may be more difficult and may take months to resolve. More severe cases frequently result in chronic or recurring ear infections throughout the pet's life.
It is critical to carefully follow your veterinarian's instructions to clear up your dog's ear infection as soon as possible. Failure to complete prescriptions or discontinue treatment before the infection has completely resolved can result in a recurring infection that becomes increasingly difficult to treat.
Follow-up appointments with your veterinarian are strongly advised for dog ear infections. While it may appear that the infection has cleared, there may still be traces of infection that owners are unable to detect. Finishing treatment before the infection has completely healed can result in recurring, difficult-to-treat symptoms.
Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs
When it comes to ear infections, our Ocala veterinarians believe that prevention is always preferable to treatment. It is critical to keep your pet's ears clean and dry to help prevent an ear infection from developing.
Consult your veterinarian about the best cleaning solution for your dog, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears once a week, and always dry your dog's ears after he comes 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.