Ear infections are something our vets often see in dogs, especially in ones with big floppy ears. Luckily, if ear infections in pups are found early they are generally easy to treat. In this blog, our Cave Creek vets discuss the signs of ear infections you should look out for and what could happen if they aren't treated quickly.
The Ears of a Dog
Dogs are generally at a higher risk of developing ear infections than humans, because of how their ear canals are shaped. If your pooch swims a lot or has ears that are long and floppy they are even more susceptible to ear infections because moisture can get trapped in the ear building an ideal environment for bacteria to live and grow. There are also different types of ear infections a dog can suffer from including inner ear infections, outer ear infections, and middle ear infections.
However, with a bit of extra care, you can help protect your pooch from getting an ear infection.
If your furry friend does develop an infection, see your vet as soon as possible because the earlier it's addressed the better chances the infection has of clearing up quickly and easily. If the condition goes without treatment dogs can quickly develop symptoms including pain, balance and coordination issues, pain, and in severe situations facial paralysis.
The Causes of Ear Infections
The most common cause of ear infections in dogs is bacteria, but, fungus, ear mites, and yeast can all contribute to your dog's ears becoming painful and infected. Some other reasons for ear infections in dogs include trauma, foreign objects getting lodged in the ear, and polyps or tumors.
The Signs and Symptoms of Dog Ear Infections
Ear infections can be uncomfortable and very painful for your pup. If your dog shows any of the symptoms of an ear infection that's listed below contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an examination for your pooch. Treating ear infections early can help prevent more severe symptoms from arising and lower the chances of any complications.
Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:
- Redness inside of the ear
- Pawing or rubbing at the ear
- Odor in the ear
- Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
- 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 could notice other symptoms such as:
- 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 could also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.
An uncomplicated ear infection treated in its early stages will probably clear up within a week or two. If your dog's ear infection is more severe or is caused by an underlying health condition, treating it could be more challenging and could take months to resolve. In many situations, more severe cases lead to chronic or repeated ear infections over the course of the pet's lifetime.
Follow your vet's instructions carefully, because it's essential for clearing up your dog's infection as quickly as possible. Not finishing prescriptions, or 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. Finishing treatment before the infection has fully healed can lead to recurring symptoms that are difficult to treat.
How to Protect Your Dog from Ear Infections
Our Cave Creek vets believe that prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to ear infections. To help prevent your pup from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your pet's ears clean and dry.
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.