Ear infections are a common problem in dogs, especially in dogs with long floppy ears. Today, our Orange Park 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 it 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 dog does get an ear infection, seeing a vet as soon as possible will increase the likelihood that it will be cleared up quickly and easily. However, if the early symptoms of infection are ignored, much more severe ear infections can develop, causing symptoms such as loss of balance and coordination, pain, and, in severe cases, facial paralysis.
Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
Bacteria are by far the most common cause of ear infections in dogs; however, yeast, fungus, and ear mites can all cause your pup's ears to become infected and painful. Foreign objects in the ear, trauma and tumors or polyps are some of the other causes of dog ear infections.
Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs
As you might expect, ear infections can be excruciatingly painful for your dog. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms of an ear infection, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an examination. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent the development of severe pain and other serious symptoms.
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 of coordination or balance
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles
How Dog Ear Infections are Treated
If your pup has a bacterial 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.
An uncomplicated ear infection will usually clear up in a week or two if treated promptly. If your dog's ear infection is severe or caused by a medical condition, treatment may be more difficult and may take months to resolve. More severe cases frequently result in chronic or recurring ear infections throughout the pet's life.
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
When it comes to ear infections, our Orange Park veterinarians believe that prevention is always preferable to treatment. It is critical to keep your pet's ears clean and dry to help prevent an ear infection from developing.
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.