At our Yucaipa veterinary clinic, we see a lot of dogs with ear infections. Most dog ear infections are easy to treat if caught early enough. Today, our veterinarians discuss the signs and treatments for ear infections in your dog.
Dogs tend to be more susceptible to ear infections than people due in large part to the shape of their ear canals. If your dog spends a lot of time in the water or has long floppy ears they will be even more prone to ear infections since moisture can become trapped in the ear and create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
By paying extra attention to your dog's ears, you can help to prevent an ear infection, and if your dog does get an infection, by seeing a vet as soon as possible, it's likely to be cleared up quickly and easily. Ear infections in dogs can progress quickly, causing symptoms such as loss of balance and coordination, pain, and, in severe cases, facial paralysis.
Common Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
Bacterial ear infections in dogs are the most common however, yeast, fungus, and ear mites can all cause your pup's ears to become infected and painful. Dog ear infections can also occur due to foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
There are three types of ear infections that can occur in dogs depending upon where the infection has occurred;
- Outer ear infections or otitis externa in dogs
- Middle ear infection or otitis media in dogs
- Inner ear infection or otitis interna in dogs
Signs That Your Dog Might Have an Ear Infection
Ear infections can make your dog very uncomfortable, if not painful. If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms of an ear infection, contact your veterinarian right away to schedule an appointment. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent the onset of more severe symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
If your dog is suffering from an ear infection it may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- 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
If your dog's ear infection is more severe you may notice other symptoms such as:
- Indications of hearing loss
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles
How Ear Infections in Dogs Are Treated
If your dog is diagnosed with an ear infection, your veterinarian will clean the ear with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications necessary to treat the infection. Your veterinarian may also give you instructions on how to apply a topical medication to your dog's ear at home.
When treated 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 throughout the pet's lifetime.
Following your vet's instructions carefully will be essential to clear up your dog's ear infection as quickly as possible. Not finishing prescriptions, or stopping treatment before the infection has completely cleared can lead to recurring, chronic, or more severe ear infections in dogs that may become 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 can still be traces of infection that are difficult for owners to spot.
Preventing Ear Infections in Your Dog
When it comes to ear infections, our veterinarians at Green Valley Veterinary Clinic in Yucaipa believe that prevention is always better than treatment. It is critical to keep your dog's ears clean and dry to avoid an ear infection.
Speak to your primary care veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears every week, and always dry your dog's ears whenever 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.