Our Boulder County vets often see inner ear infections in dogs, particularly ones with adorable floppy ears. But there's good news, most bacterial ear infections in dogs are easy to treat when caught early. Here are some of the signs of a severe ear infection in dogs and what to do.
Your Dog's Ears
Because of the shape of their ear canal, dogs are more susceptible to ear infections than people. If your dog swims frequently or has long floppy ears, he or she will be more prone to ear infections because moisture will become trapped in the ear. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
But with a little care, you can help to prevent your dog from developing ear infections. And if your dog does get an infection seeing a vet early means it's likely to be cleared up quickly and easily.
When ear infections are not treated early on much more serious infections and symptoms can develop. These infections and symptoms include balance and coordination problems, severe pain, and, in some cases, facial paralysis.
Causes of Ear Infections
Bacteria in the ear are the most common cause of infections, but yeast, fungus, and ear mites can also cause your dog's ears to become infected and painful. Other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, tumors. or polyps.
Ear Infection Symptoms in Dogs
Ear infections in dogs can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms of an ear infection, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an examination. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent the development of more severe symptoms.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 like:
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Signs of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection
If your dog has an ear infection, your veterinarian will clean it with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications that are necessary to treat the infection. Topical medication may also be prescribed, along with instructions on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.
A simple ear infection treated early will usually clear up in a week or two. If your dog's ear infection is severe or caused by a medical condition, treatment may be more difficult and take months to resolve. More severe cases frequently result in chronic or recurring ear infections over the course of the dog's life.
It is critical to carefully follow your veterinarian's instructions to get your dog's ear infection under control as soon as possible. Failure to complete prescriptions or to discontinue treatment before the infection has completely resolved can result in a recurring infection that becomes increasingly difficult to treat.
It is strongly advised that you take your dog back to the vet for a follow-up appointment if they had an ear infection. While the infection may appear to be gone, there may still be traces of infection that pet parents are unable to detect.
Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs
For ear infections, our veterinarians believe that prevention is always better than cure. It is critical to keep your dog's ears clean and dry to help prevent an ear infection.
Consult your veterinarian about the best cleaning solution for your dog's ears, and clean them gently once a week.
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.