Ear infections frequently bring dogs to our vets in Turlock. Fortunately, most of these infections can be treated effectively when identified early. Read on to learn about signs of ear infections in dogs and how to care for your dog's ears if they're not in the best shape.
Your Dog's Ears
Dogs can get ear infections more easily than humans because of the shape of their ear canals. If your dog swims often or has long, floppy ears, they're at an even higher risk because moisture can get trapped in their ears, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
Having said that, you can help prevent your pup from developing ear infections with a little extra care.
If your dog does get an infection, taking them to the vet early can usually clear it up quickly and easily. If left untreated, ear infections in dogs can develop rapidly and cause symptoms like balance problems, pain, and, in severe cases, facial paralysis.
Causes of Dog Ear Infections
Bacteria is the main reason behind ear infections in dogs. However, yeast, fungus, and ear mites can also make your dog's ears infected and painful. Other reasons for dog ear infections include foreign objects stuck in the ear, injuries, and growths like tumors or polyps.
There are three types of ear infections seen in dogs depending on where the infection has occurred;
- Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear. (Outer ear infection).
- Otitis media indicates an infection in the dog's middle ear. (Middle ear infection)
- Otitis internal, which is an infection of your pet's inner ear. (Inner ear infection)
Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs
Ear infections can be very painful or uncomfortable for your pup. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection, contact your veterinarian immediately to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing and reduce the chances of complications.
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 just inside the ear
- Swelling of the ear
If your dog's ear infection is more severe, you may notice other symptoms, such as:
- Indications of hearing loss
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles
How Dog Ear Infections Are Treated
If your dog has an ear infection, your vet will clean the ear and give them medicine. They might also give you a cream to put in your dog's ear at home.
With treatment in the early stages, an uncomplicated ear infection will typically clear up within just 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 may take months to resolve. In many cases, more severe cases result in chronic ear infections in dogs or repeated ear infections throughout the pet's lifetime.
You must follow your vet's advice carefully. If you don't finish the medicine or stop too soon, the infection can return and be harder 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 Turlock 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.
Talk to your regular vet about the right ear-cleaning product for your dog. Clean your dog's ears gently every week, and make sure to dry your dog's ears after they've been in 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.