Our Albany vets often see ear infections in dogs, particularly in dogs with adorable long floppy ears. But there's good news, most ear infections are easy to treat if caught early. Here are some of the signs of dog ear infections, and what to do if your pup's ears aren't as healthy as they should be.
Your Pup's Ears
Dogs tend to be more susceptible to ear infections than people because of the shape of their ear canal. Not only that, if your dog swims a lot or has long floppy ears they will be even more prone to ear infections due to moisture becoming trapped in the ear and creating an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
That said, with a little care you can help to prevent your dog from developing ear infections, and if your dog does get an infection by seeing a vet early there's a good chance that it can be cleared up quickly and easily.
When ear infections are left untreated in the early stages much more serious infections can develop that can lead to symptoms such as balance and coordination issues, severe pain and in some cases facial paralysis.
Causes of Ear Infections
Bacteria within the ear is a primary cause of infections however yeast, fungus and ear mites can all cause your pup's ears to become infected and painful. Some other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
Ear Infection Symptoms in Dogs
Ear infections can be very uncomfortable or painful for your dog. 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 symptoms of ear infections in dogs include:
- Pawing or rubbing ear
- Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
- Redness inside of the ear
- Odor in the ear
- Head shaking
- Tilting head
- Swelling of the ear
- 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
- Signs of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection
If your pooch 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 medicates 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, an uncomplicated ear infection caught early will typically clear up within just a week or two. If your pup'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 dog's lifetime.
Carefully following your veterinarian's instructions will be essential 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 dog 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 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.
Speak to your veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, and take the time to gently clean your dog'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.