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Ear Infections in Dogs: How to Help Your Pup

Ear infections in dogs are quite common, and our Central Illinois vets see a lot of them. They are typically easy to treat if diagnosed early. Here are some signs that your pup may have an ear infection and what you should do. 

Your Dog's Ears

Dogs' ear canals tend to be more vulnerable to ear infections than people, due to the shape of our pooch's ear canals. If your dog spends a lot of time splashing in water or has long, floppy ears, this will mean they'll be even more susceptible to ear infections as moisture can get trapped in the ear, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply and thrive. 

By taking a bit of extra care with your pooch's ears, you can help to prevent your pup from developing an ear infection. If an ear infection does occur, there's a good chance a vet will be able to recommend treatment methods to clear it up quickly and easily. Untreated ear infections in dogs can develop quickly and lead to symptoms such as balance and coordination issues, pain and in severe cases, facial paralysis. 

Causes of Dog Ear Infections

When it comes to ear infections in dogs, bacteria are most often the culprit. That said, yeast, ear mites and fungi can all cause your pup's ears to become infected, which can cause pain. some other potential causes of dog ear infections include trauma, tumors or polyps and foreign objects lodged in the ear.

Three types of ear infections can occur in dogs, depending on where the infection has happened:

  • Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear (outer ear infection in dogs). 
  • Otitis media are infections of a dog's middle ear (middle ear infection in dogs). 
  • Otitis interna are infections of your dog's inner ear (inner ear infections in dogs). 

Signs of Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear infections can become very uncomfortable and painful for your dog. If your pup shows any of these signs of an ear infection, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to schedule an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to keep more severe symptoms from occurring and reduce the risks complications may bring.

If your pooch is suffering from an ear infection, you may notice one or more of these symptoms:

  • Odor in the ear
  • Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
  • Pawing or rubbing at the ear 
  • Tilting head 
  • Head shaking
  • Swelling of the ear
  • Redness inside 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:

  • Walking in circles
  • Loss coordination or balance
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Indications of hearing loss

Treatment for Ear Infections in Dogs

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 ear infections in dogs or repeated ear infections over the course of the pet'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.

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.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Getting an Ear Infection

At Pekin Veterinary Clinic in Central Illinois we 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 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.

Is your canine best friend showing symptoms of an ear infection? If so, it's time to book an exam with your vet. Contact us today

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