Ear Infections Common, Yet Treatable in Dogs

Ear infections are a painful affliction that can cause your normally peaceful dog to go into a frenzy of head shaking, ear scratching, and whining. While ear infections are usually not life-threatening, they are still something that must be treated by your veterinarian.

Types/Causes of Ear Infections

There are three types of ear infections in dogs: outer ear infection, middle ear infection, and inner ear infection. Outer ear infections are less serious than either middle or inner ear infections. It’s important to get the treatment for an ear infection right away so as not to endanger your dog’s hearing, or have the infection worsen and cause more life-threatening issues.

Some of the causes of ear infections in dogs include mites or other parasites, fungus, bacterial invasion, allergies, and bad hygiene. Some of the other possible causes include:

  • Trauma to the ears.
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Hereditary or immune conditions
  • Tumors

Symptoms of Ear Infections

Besides the itching and scratching that most dogs do when they have an ear infection, you will also likely see reddened patches inside your dog’s ears, along with excess and bad-smelling wax and discharge.

Breeds Likely To Get Ear Infections

Some types of dogs are more prone to getting ear infections. Dogs with long, floppy ears are the most likely breeds to be affected such as dogs in the spaniel family.  The length of their ears and the amount of fur sometimes block the air circulation is vital in keeping your dog’s ears healthy. One way to prevent this is to keep your dog’s ears well-groomed.

Diagnosing An Ear Infection

If your veterinarian suspects that your pet has an ear infection, he will start by looking into the dog’s ears with an instrument called an otoscope. He will also take swabs of the inside of the ear to look at under a microscope or to culture them to see what organism may be causing the infection. He will also check for anything that might have gotten stuck in your dog’s ears and could be causing the pain.

Treatment for Ear Infections

An ear infection in dogs is usually easily treated. Depending on the kind of infection, a veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics, anti-fungal medications or other appropriate treatment. It all depends on what caused the ear infection in the first place.

For instance, if the dog keeps getting inflamed ears due to some sort of allergy, you will need to keep the ears cleaned, and give antihistamines and sometimes steroids. Your veterinarian will also do testing to find out what your dog is allergic to.

Another common cause of an ear infection is mites. If you see what looks like specs of dirt or coffee grounds sprinkled inside your dog’s ear, he likely has mites and your vet will clean out the ears and then prescribe an appropriate solution to kill the mites.

Prevention of Ear Infections

As stated earlier, owners should keep their pet’s ears nice and clean to help prevent ear infections. If your dog’s ears are clean and sweet smelling, then he is free of any infection. A little ear wax is normal, but not copious amounts of sticky, gooey or bad smelling ear wax.

Owners should clean their dog’s ears gently using cotton balls, never Q-tips, as they could break off and hurt your pet or get stuck in his ear. You can buy a special cleaning solution for dog’s ears at your veterinarian or pet supply store. You shouldn’t use harsh solutions like hydrogen peroxide or human solutions for cleaning ears.

Conclusion for Ear Infections Common, Yet Treatable in Dogs

All in all, it’s fairly common for dogs to get an occasional ear infection, especially dogs with long, floppy ears like spaniels. If you suspect that your dog has an ear infection, get him to the veterinarian as soon as possible to confirm it and get it treated.


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