Ear infections in dogs have become a common disease nowadays. Since dogs have vertical ears, that facilitate the dirt and dust to trap in their ears and develop an infection. Apart from this, there are other factors due to which a dog develops an ear infection. Here is a short guide to everything that you need to know about dog ear infections-
What is Dog Ear Infection?
This illness, also known as Otitis Externa, is a condition where a layer of cells in the ear canal gets inflamed. This causes pain and irritation in the affected region damaging one or both the ears− if not treated on time. Various different factors can cause ear infections in dogs, and unless all the factors are treated, there are chances that the infection may occur repeatedly.
Depending upon the part of the ear affected, these infections can be differentiated into−
- Otitis Externa- the outer ear canal is affected
- Otitis Medina- the middle ear canal is affected
- Otitis Interna- the inner ear canal is affected (chronic)
What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?
Unhygienic practices such as not cleaning the ear thoroughly and letting the ear wax build up inside the ear can contribute to ear infections. Excess hair can also play a major role in the accumulation of debris in the ear canal and cause infections. However, there are several external factors that are responsible for this anomaly. Here are some of the causes-
- Food or skin allergies
- Excessive moisture around the ears (swimming in contaminated ponds)
- Foreign bodies
- Excessive cleaning
- Parasites−ear mites
- Hormonal imbalance
What are the Symptoms of a Dog Ear Infection?
Dogs are great at hiding their discomfort. Thus, it becomes necessary for pet parents to notice signs that show that their pets are in pain. Dogs who tilt their heads persistently, or keep shaking their heads could be suffering from possible ear infections. Other symptoms include-
- Pawing and scratching the ear
- Swelling in and around the ear
- Chewing on skin
- Foul odor from the ears
- Blood coagulation or pus formation (yellow/ brown)
- Crusts around the ear
How to Treat Dog Ear Infections?
In order to treat this condition, a complete diagnosis by a veterinarian can help to identify the cause of the disorder. This should be followed by a thorough cleaning of the ear canal with pet-specific ear cleansers. If the infection is not severe and uncomplicated, then it will be treated within 2 weeks.
In some cases where the inflammation is long-term, it can damage the ear lining. This will require topical treatment along with oral administration of antibiotics or anti-fungal treatments. This will take more than a month to resolve until the infection is completely gone. Damage inside the inner ear canal is often severe, leading to permanent ear damage. In such cases, surgeries are performed to stop the spread of the infections; sometimes the treatments are to be continued life-long.
Home remedies that cause irritation in the ears should be avoided. This can result in increased swelling and granular secretions that contribute to the growth of bacteria and fungi. Asking the vet to recommend which topical treatment would be suitable to avoid allergic reactions in the dog.
How to Prevent Dog Ear Infections?
It is better to prevent such painful diseases than to cure them. Pet parents should regularly inspect their pets’ ears and clean them properly. Noticing signs that show possible infection should be taken seriously. Some precautions that can be taken care of−
- Frequently inspect and clean their external ears
- Make sure to dry their ears after swimming or bathing
- Do not use cotton swabs or paper towels to clean their ears− they may leave fibers that will cause irritation
- Grooming and clipping excess ear hair- Only after taking advice from the Veterinarian
- Schedule regular check-ups for your dog
Also, Read- Summer Safety Tips For Our Furry Friends
Ear infection in dogs is a common recurrent problem. One should seek the help of a veterinarian if their dog shows symptoms of ear discomfort or pain. Acting upon the very first sign of any illness is the best way to avoid serious health damage.