Dog ear infections are easy to treat when spotted early, so it is important to know the signs and symptoms. In this post, our Poway vets share how you can tell if your dog has an ear infection and what you can do.
Your Dog's Ears
The shape of your dog's ear canals can be more susceptible to ear infections than a human's. If your pup spends lots of time in the water or has floppy ears, these health problems can become common and recurring. Moisture may become trapped in their ears and create an ideal environment for bacterial ear infections to develop in your dog.
By taking a little extra care with your pup's ears you can help to prevent your pooch from developing an ear infection, and if your pup does get an infection, by seeing a vet early there's a good chance that it can be cleared up quickly and easily. 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.
How Canine Ear Infections Occur
More often than not, bacteria is the cause of ear infections in dogs, however, yeast, fungus, and ear mites may all cause your dog's ears to become painfully infected. Some other causes of ear infections in your pup may range from foreign objects getting lodged in their ear, physical trauma, and polyps.
Three types of ear infections can occur in dogs depending on where the infection has occurred;
- Otitis interna is an infection of your pet's inner ear.
- Otitis media indicates an infection in the dog's middle ear.
- Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear.
Signs & Symptoms of Ear Infection in Dogs
Ear infections may be very painful for your pup. if your dog is showing signs of an ear infection like those detailed below, contact your veterinarian immediately to book an exam for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing over time and reduce the chances for complications.
If your pup is suffering from an ear infection you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Tilting head
- Odor in the ear
- Pawing or rubbing at the ear
- Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
- Head shaking
- Swelling of the ear
- Redness inside of the ear
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
If your dog has a severe ear infection you may notice other symptoms such as:
- Walking in circles
- Indications of hearing loss
- Unusual eye movements
- Loss of coordination or balance
Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection
If your dog is diagnosed with an ear infection, our vets will take time to clean out your dog's ears with a medical cleanser and prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications that will be appropriate for treating the kind of ear infection your pup has. Your pet may also be prescribed a topical medication and given instructions on how to apply it to your pup's ears 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.
Make sure you are careful in following your veterinarian's instructions to clear up your dog's ear infection as quickly as possible. Not finishing your pup's prescription or ceasing treatment before the infection is cleared can cause recurring infections that will be 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
Prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to canine ear infections. To help prevent your pup from developing an ear infection, keeping your pet's ears clean and dry is key.
Ask your veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, take some time to gently clean their ears each week, and always dry their ears when they come out of 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.