Ear infections in dogs can be caused by a lot of diferent factors, and usually require medical attention.
Ear infection in dogs calls for medical attention. While some cases of this disease may heal naturally, veterinarians should be involved in the treatment process. It is essential to treat dog ear infection the moment it starts so as not to worsen your dog's condition.
Canine ear infections are most often due to bacteria or yeast. Ear mites, growing hair, trapped water, a tumor or foreign body in the ear canal can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast. Infections may also develop when allergies, hypothyroidism or an excessive amount of ear wax are present.
Frequent bathing, swimming and incorrect cleaning methods can also lead to infections. Because a dog’s ear canals plunge downward and then horizontally from the ear opening, it is difficult for caught debris or water to be released as it must work its way upward to escape; this makes dogs especially susceptible to ear infections.
The following symptoms may indicate that your dog needs to have his ears checked by a veterinarian:
Dogs who are prone to allergies or have floppy ears can be especially vulnerable. Cocker spaniels are one breed very prone to this disease, so it is very important for their owners to be meticulous about their grooming. Fungal infections are common to cocker spaniels because air fails to circulate freely in their ears. Air circulation is very crucial in maintaining healthy ears. With floppy ears, small follicles of hair grow in their ears, further blocking the air from coming in. These hairs are usually overlooked by pet owners and are only taken care of when dogs are brought to the grooming centers. Golden retrievers, schnauzers and poodles also tend to grow hair in the inner ear canal, making them more susceptible to ear infections.
A veterinarian can usually diagnose an ear infection by examining the ear canal and ear drum with a magnifying ear cone similar to devices used on people. This may require sedation or full anesthesia. A sample of ear discharge may be examined to look for bacteria, yeast and parasites. A vet may also suggest blood work and allergy tests to determine the root causes.
It’s important not to self-diagnose ear problems, as improperly treated infections may lead to chronic pain or deafness in dogs. Please always allow your vet to determine the cause of your dog’s symptoms.
Ear infections in dogs can easily be treated and cured. Antibiotics or ear drops are usually prescribed by a veterinarian after a thorough examination. The chosen treatment depends on what actually caused the disease. Some ear infections may even be contagious. So if you have other dogs inside your home, make sure that they don't associate too much with the infected dog. Many ear infections can be treated with a professional cleaning followed by regular cleaning and medication given at home. Your veterinarian may also prescribe topical and/or oral medicine. For severe or chronic cases, anesthesia and ear flushing—or even surgery—may also be necessary.
If your dog is showing any of the symptoms described above, see the vet as soon as possible. Please also bear in mind that even though dogs in pain don’t always show it with outward signs, a sudden increase in aggression can be an indicator of physical pain. Such behavioral changes should also prompt a veterinary exam.
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