Ear infections are a common reason that we see New Ulm dogs, especially those with folded or floppy ears. Ear infections can become serious but are typically easy to treat when caught early enough.
Your Dog's Ears
Dogs are vulnerable to ear infections because of the shape of their ear canal. Dogs who swim a lot, or have floppy ears are even more susceptible due to the constant moisture trapped in their ears, creating a perfect climate for bacteria to grow.
The good news is that in many cases, with a little effort on your part, you can prevent your dog from developing an ear infection. If your dog does develop an infection, by seeking veterinary care quickly there's a good chance that the infection can be cleared up quickly and with ease.
On the other hand, if your dog's ear infection goes untreated in the early stages a much more serious infection can develop, possibly causing serious symptoms such as facial paralysis, balance and coordination issues, and severe pain.
Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
There are a number of different causes of ear infections in dogs. While bacterial infections are the most common cause of ear infections in dogs, yeast, ear mites, and fungus can all cause your dog's ears to become infected and uncomfortable. Other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
Types of Dog Ear Infections
There are three types of ear infections seen in dogs;
- Otitis media indicates an infection in the dog's middle ear.
- Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear.
- Otitis interna which are infections of your dog's inner ear.
Symptoms of An Ear Infection in Dogs
If your dog does acquire an ear infection they are going to feel very uncomfortable and can experience some pretty painful symptoms. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection contact your vet straight away to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing.Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:
- Odor in the ear
- Redness inside of the ear
- Yellow, brown or bloody discharge
- Scratching or pawing at the ear
- Swelling of the ear
- Head shaking or tilting
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
- Rubbing ear on floor or furniture
If your dog is suffering from a more severe ear infection you may notice other symptoms such as:
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Signs of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection
If your pooch 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 medication appropriate for treating your pet's ear infection. The vet may also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.
Proper treatment in the early stages tends to allow the ear infection to clear up in a week or two. More severe cases, or those caused by underlying conditions can be challenging to treat, and could lead to months of diligent care. In many cases, more severe cases result in chronic or repeated ear infections over the course of the dog's lifetime.
Carefully following your veterinarian's instructions is the key to clearing 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.
Taking your pup back to the vet for a follow-up appointment is 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 pet parents to spot.
Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs
Our vets believe that prevention is always better than treatment. To help prevent your dog from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your pup's ears clean and dry.
Speak to your vet about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, and take the time to gently clean your pup's ears every week.
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.