Dog Ear Infections
Dog ear infection is the most common among dog ear problems and the most common of all problems affecting dogs. Due to their floppy ears, poodles, golden retrievers, basset hounds, and cocker spaniels are the most vulnerable breeds and include those breed that is allergy-prone.
These infections are usually caused by bacteria and yeast. Normally, these are present in your dog’s ears but some still unknown factors trigger them to over-multiply and cause infection. This overgrowth is not normally seen unless you inspect your dog’s ears.
The Causes of Dog Ear Infections
Ear infection in dogs is a rather common aliment. Flop-eared dogs are mostly susceptible to it, as air flow inside their ears is not as good as dogs with upright ears.
There are many reasons why dogs suddenly develop ear infection. And knowing what caused them can actually lead to the proper cure of the disease.
Listed below are the common reasons of dog ear infections. Knowing these causes can pave the way to a more effective prevention of this disease:
1. Presence of foreign bodies in the dog’s ear.
If there’s anything trapped inside your dog’s ear, it is very likely to trigger infections. Dog infection caused by the penetration of a foreign body inside the ear may require surgery to remove. In milder cases, flushing out may work.
2. Bacterial or yeast infections
Bacteria can cause infections not just in the ears but in different parts of the body as well. They may not initiate the disease but they can definitely worsen the case. But then again, high concentration of bacteria in the ear can trigger skin diseases that could later on become a bad case of ear infection.
3. Ear mites
Ear mites are very common in young dogs. If you know for a fact that your dog is suffering from these parasites, it won’t be a surprise if it would suffer from ear infection as well. Mites could spread on the different parts of the dog’s body. This happens when dogs scratch their head and ears.
If ear mites are common in younger dogs, older dogs are more prone in tumors developing in the wax glands. If this is the main cause of ear infection in your dogs, the only solution is tumor’s surgical removal.
5. Food intolerance and allergies
Ear infections can be caused by your dog’s irritation to certain foods. You know this is the cause of the problem if your dog’s ear infection keeps on recurring. Try to recall the food items that your dog had eaten prior. These are the most common culprits. Try not to feed them to your dog and see if the infection would recur.
6. Other underlying diseases
If your dog is prone to different types of disorders like scaling, hormonal issues, and immunity problems, high are the chances that it would develop ear infection in the long run. While it may not indirectly cause the problem, studies show a link between a dog’s set of underlying diseases to the ear infection.
7. Puppy Strangles
Puppy strangles is most fittingly described as swollen lymph nodes. This is one complex disease that can cause ear infection primarily because it is one of the disease’s symptoms. If you suspect that this is the problem your pet is suffering from, be sure that you take it to the vet right away for immediate diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms Of Dog Ear Infections
While dogs can’t directly tell you what’s troubling them, you can look for symptoms that indicate they are suffering from certain aliments. Such is the case with dog ear infections. Dogs will exhibit unnatural movements. The most common symptoms of dog ear infections are:
Does your dog shake its head frequently? If so, this is a symptom of something in your dog’s ear that it is trying to get rid of. Sometimes, it could be something as simple as a small foreign object. Or it could be water that has dripped to dog’s ears during shower. A careful examination of your dog’s ears may indicate what
the abnormal headshaking gesture and lead to a quick resolution to the problem.
Cocking the head
If your dog cocks it head in unusual manner and angle, this is a symptom of an ear infection. Like the headshaking mannerism, dogs will do anything they can to try remove that something that blocks their ears. In cases of an ear infection, it is most likely a high volume of ear wax that is bothering your dog.
Consistent ear rubbing
Dogs scratch a lot. But rarely do they do it on one particular area alone – unless there is an infection in that area. Excessive scratching is a symptom of a problem. Things that can cause dogs to scratch their ears are mites, bacterial infections, and skin disorders. And all of these are causes of ear infections in dogs.
Foul-smelling ear wax discharge
It is normal for dogs to have earwax. However, if the earwax your dog excreted is too much and has a foul-smelling odor, this is a symptom of a dog ear infection. To be sure and to provide immediate help for your dog, take it to the veterinarian. The vet could prescribe ear drops to your pet. Just apply it on problem ear regularly for a quick recovery.
Inflammation, redness, and tenderness in the area
These symptoms are direct indications that there’s a problem in the skin of your pets. The skin won’t get red, inflamed, or tender unless it has been splintered, wounded, or cut. There are quite a number of reasons why dogs develop skin erosions in their ears. And unless attended to right away, they could develop into a severe case of dog ear infection. Dog owners are advised to always check the ears of their dog after bath. Or take them to the grooming center as frequent as possible.
This particular symptom of a dog ear infection shows that the dog is suffering from the worst case of the disease. Rarely does mild ear infection trigger balance problems. But if it does, then your dog needs immediate help from a pet expert near you.
Dog Ear Infection Treatments
- After the vet has checked your dog, he should prescribe some antibiotics to help clear out the infection. Depending upon the extent of the disease, anti-microbial ear drops should be sufficient. Otherwise, oral medications may have to be added to the water or food of your dog.
- Your veterinarian should be able to give you good advice on how to make your dog take its medicines.
- For severe cases or those that keep coming back, anesthesia and ear flushing might be given to your pet. If your dog has a tendency to infections, ask your veterinarian for some ear-drying solution. Again, the first and last word against
- At home, you can help your pet ease the infection by cleaning the problem areas.
- Use a cotton swab, and not Q-tips, for this procedure. Q-tips can hurt your dog’s ear with a sudden abrupt movement.
- So to be safe, use plain cotton balls rolled to a length to clean the ears of your dog.
- Regular cleaning of the infected area is necessary to prevent ear wax build-up, which in turn, could compound the problem.
It is very much recommended that you make regular visits to the vet for as long as the infection is still there. This would allow the vet to properly monitor the disease and adjust the medications as necessary. While it is quite okay to perform home medications on your pet as per the vet’s advice, it isn’t right to miss a consultation session, especially if the vet required you to come back.
Proper hygiene is very important to pets. Through it, all types of body infections can be prevented. However, in the case of ear infection, the problem could be triggered with something as simple as a few drops of water being trapped in your dog’s ears. So after your dog’s bath, make sure that its ears are perfectly dry. Be careful when bathing your dog too. Under no circumstance that you should wet the insides of the dog’s ear.
For ear infections caused by tumors, surgery is the usual treatment procedure. Such procedure will take place in the veterinarian’s clinic. And depending upon the vet who will perform the surgery, you dog might need to stay there for a day or two during the entire course of treatment. For milder cases, a two-hour surgery may be sufficient.
If foreign objects had penetrated the ears of your pet, it might be necessary to flush it out. Again, a veterinarian should help you out with this. Don’t attempt this treatment procedure at home because it could be very dangerous to the inexperienced.
Preventing Dog Ear Infections
Ear infection in dogs, no matter how common, can easily be prevented with the right hygienic practice. Dogs that are well-kept and well-groomed rarely acquire any type of diseases. The health of your dog is in your hands. You can keep your pets active, cheerful, and strong for long years. That is, if you know how to take care of them.
To prevent ear infection in your dogs, it is important that you take it to the grooming center regularly. This is most applicable to dogs with floppy ears, like the Cocker Spaniel. The ears of these dogs are virtually closed, leaving minimal air circulation inside.
Therefore, the instance of wax accumulation in the ear is high. Also, these breeds of dog tend to grow hair follicles inside their ears. And those small stubs of fine hair block the air from entering even more. Regular ear checks are necessary so that your dog is not only groomed but healthy as well.
However, a lot of pet owners think that they have to clean the ears of their dogs. This isn’t really necessary, unless ear wax is evident on the outer ear. The ears of the dogs have its natural way of cleaning itself. So it shouldn’t be touched every single day, really. And if you must, use cotton balls rolled to a length. Q-tips can harm the ears of your dogs so never use it if you have to clean its ears.
Another way to prevent ear infection is to make sure that your dog’s ear is dry after every bath. Keep the inner ear from getting wet as well. Water trapped in the ear of the dog can trigger infection. And if bacteria combine with it, all the more the infection is going to be worse.
Since mites can cause ear infection too, you have to make sure that your pet is mite-free and flea-free all the time. You can purchase over-the-counter anti-mite and anti-flea powders and sprinkle them on your pet after bathing. This powder would serve as a protection to your pets because its special formulation keeps all parasites away.
Ear infections may be caused by foreign objects finding its way in your dog’s ear. While this is quite unlikely to happen, it may still occur. Always know where your dog goes. Foreign objects can be anything from ticks, small leaves, stems, or stones. This could occur to pets that are always active and are mostly outdoors all the time.