At Limehouse Veterinary Clinic we often see dogs with ear infections, most commonly in dogs that have long floppy ears. In this blog, our Glendale vets talk about the signs and symptoms of ear infections in dogs and when you should take your pup to the vet.
The Ears of Your Dog
Because of the shape of their ear canals, dogs are generally at a higher risk of developing ear infections than humans. If your pooch has long floppy ears or if they love to swim they are at an even higher risk, as moisture can get trapped in their ear and form an environment that is ideal for bacteria to thrive.
But, with a bit of extra attention, you'll be able to help prevent your pup from getting ear infections.
If your canine companion does happen to develop an infection, it has a better chance of clearing up quickly and easily if you bring your dog to the vet as early as possible. If dog ear infections go untreated your pooch can quickly develop symptoms such as pain, coordination and balance problems, and in severe situations facial paralysis.
The Causes of Dog Ear Infections
The biggest cause of ear infections in dogs is bacteria, but, yeast, fungus, and ear mites could all lead to their ears getting infected and painful. Several other potential causes of dog ear infections are trauma, polyps, tumors, and foreign objects lodged in the ear.
Signs & Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs
Ear infections can be very painful or uncomfortable for your pooch. 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:
- Redness inside of the ear
- Odor in the ear
- Swelling of the ear
- Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
- Pawing or rubbing at the ear
- Tilting head
- Head shaking
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
If your dog's ear infection is more severe you may notice other symptoms such as:
- Loss coordination or balance
- Indications of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
How Ear Infections in Dogs are Treated
If your dog 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 medications appropriate for treating your pet's ear infection. Your veterinarian may also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to 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 or repeated ear infections over the course of the pet's lifetime.
It's essential to follow the instructions your vet has provided you with carefully, in order for your dog's ear infection to go away as fast as possible. If you don't finish your dog's prescriptions, or if you stop their treatment before the infection has completely cleared up it could cause recurring infections that get more difficult to treat.
We highly recommend attending follow-up appointments with your vet if your pup has an ear infection. While it might appear as if the infection has gone away there still could be remaining traces of the infection that are hard for pet parents to detect. Finishing treatment before the infection has completely healed can cause recurring symptoms that are hard to treat.
Preventing Dog Ear Infections
When it comes to ear infections, our Glendale vets believe that prevention is the best form of treatment. To help prevent your dog from getting an ear infection it's imperative to keep your dog's ears dry and clean.
Speak to your primary care veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears every week, and always dry your dog's ears whenever they come 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.