Our canine companies are susceptible to a number of uncomfortable conditions including infections. Here, our vets in Rancho Cucamonga share the common signs of ear infections in dogs and what you can do to help treat them and prevent them from reoccurring.
How the Shape of a Dog's Ear Plays a Role in Ear Infections
While their ears are awfully cute, the shape of a dog's ear canal is a largely contributing factor to the development of ear infections. If your canine companion loves to swim or has long floppy ears they will be even more susceptible to ear infections since moisture can become trapped in the ear and create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
Luckily, there are some ways that you can help to prevent ear infections from happening and bringing your dog to the vet at the first signs of an infection can help them feel better quickly and with fewer complications. Left untreated ear infections in dogs can develop quickly and result in symptoms such as balance and coordination issues, pain and in severe cases facial paralysis.
The Causes of Ear Infections
While bacteria are the leading cause of ear infections in dogs there are a number of possible causes including yeast and bacteria. Other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, ear mites, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
There are three types of ear infections: an inner ear infection, a middle ear infection and an outer ear infection in dogs.
Dog Ear Infection Symptoms
When a dog has an ear infection, one of the most common symptoms is pain. Along with pain, your dog may show a number of other symptoms. If your dog shows any of these signs please book an examination for your pet. The quicker your dog's condition is diagnosed and treated the better.
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
Severe ear infections in dogs may also have additional symptoms along with those listed above. These can include:
- Indications of hearing loss
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles
How are dogs treated for ear infections?
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. It is likely that your vet will show you how to clean your dog's ears yourself and prescribe you the medicated solution to do so at home.
Typically, ear infections in dogs only last about 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 over the course of the pet's lifetime.
You can ensure that your dog heals and recovers as quickly as possible by following all of your vet's instructions. Not finishing prescriptions, or stopping treatment before the infection has completely cleared can lead to recurring severe ear infections that become increasingly difficult to treat.
Always bring your dog back for the recommended follow-up exams 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.
What can you do to prevent ear infections?
Our Rancho Cucamonga vets believe that prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to ear infections. Keeping your dog's ears clean and dry is key for preventing the occurrence of ear infections.
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.