At Gilbert, our veterinarians frequently encounter ear infections in dogs, especially those with cute, long, floppy ears. Fortunately, most of these infections are treatable with early detection. Here are the signs to watch for.
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 bit of 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
Ear bacteria is a common cause of infections in dogs, but yeast, fungus, and ear mites can also lead to painful ear infections. Other potential causes include foreign objects stuck in the ear, trauma, as well as tumors or polyps.
Ear Infection Symptoms in Dogs
Your furry friend may experience discomfort or pain due to ear infections. Keep an eye out for signs such as shaking the head, scratching at the ears, or unusual odor. If you notice any of these symptoms, it's best to contact your veterinarian immediately and schedule an exam for your pet. Timely treatment can prevent further complications and alleviate your dog's discomfort.Common symptoms of ear infections in dogs include:
- Pawing or rubbing the 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 of coordination or balance
- Signs of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection
If your dog is suffering from an ear infection, your vet will clean their ear with medicated cleanser and prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication to treat it. They may also provide a topical medication and teach you how to apply it at home.
If the infection is caught early and is uncomplicated, it should clear up within a week or two. However, if it's severe or caused by an underlying condition, it may take several months to treat. In some cases, chronic or repeated infections can occur.
To ensure a speedy recovery, following your vet's instructions precisely and completing the entire course of treatment is crucial. Stopping medication early can result in recurring infections that are harder to treat.
Follow-up appointments with your vet are highly recommended, even if it appears that the infection has cleared, as traces may still be present and difficult to spot.
Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs
Our veterinarians strongly recommend taking measures to prevent ear infections in your furry friend. Keeping your pet's ears clean and dry is key in avoiding ear infections.
Consult your veterinarian to find the best cleaning solution for your dog's ears, and make sure to clean them gently on a weekly basis.
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.