Ear infections are a common problem in dogs, especially in dogs with long floppy ears. Today our Knightdale vets share the signs of ear infections in dogs, and what you should do if your pup's ears aren't as healthy as they should be.
Your Dog's Ears
A dog's ears are more susceptible to ear infections because of the shape of their ear canals. If your dog swims a lot 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.
If your pooch does get an ear infection, by seeing a vet early there's a good chance that it can be cleared up quickly and easily. That said if the early symptoms of infections are left untreated much more severe ear infections can develop, often resulting in symptoms such as loss of balance and coordination, pain, and in severe cases facial paralysis.
Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
By far the number one cause of ear infections in dogs is bacteria, however, yeast, fungus, and ear mites can all lead to your pup's ears becoming infected and painful. Some other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs
As you can imagine, ear infections can be very painful for your dog. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection contact your vet immediately to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent severe pain and other serious symptoms from developing.
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 pup has 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 vet may also prescribe a topical solution and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.
With early treatment, an uncomplicated ear infection will typically clear up within 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 could take months to resolve. More severe cases often result in chronic or repeated ear infections over the course of the pet's lifetime.
Carefully following your veterinarian's instructions 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 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.
Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs
Our Knightdale vets believe that prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to ear infections. To help prevent your furry friend from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your pet's ears clean and dry.
Speak to your vet about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears every week, and always dry your dog's ears whenever your pooch 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.