Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear infections are common for dogs. Fortunately, our Pico Rivera animal hospital can treat ear infections in dogs. Here are several indicators of dog ear infections, along with steps to take if your dog's ear health is compromised.

Your Dog's Ears

Dogs are inherently more prone to ear infections compared to humans, primarily due to the structure of their ear canals. If your furry friend enjoys swimming or has long, droopy ears, their susceptibility to ear infections increases further. This is because moisture can get trapped in the ear, providing an optimal breeding ground for bacteria to flourish.

Nonetheless, with some extra care, you can help to prevent your pup from developing ear infections, and if your dog does develop an infection, there's a good chance that it can be cleared up quickly if you head to the vet right away. Left untreated ear infections in dogs can develop quickly and result in symptoms such as balance and coordination issues, pain and in severe cases facial paralysis.

Causes of Dog Ear Infections

The primary culprit behind dog ear infections is bacteria. However, yeast, fungus, and ear mites are also potential triggers that can lead to discomfort and infection in your pet's ears. Additional factors contributing to canine ear infections encompass foreign objects stuck in the ear, injuries, as well as the presence of tumors or polyps.

There are three types of ear infections seen in dogs depending on where the infection has occurred;

  • Otitis media indicates an infection in the dog's middle ear. (Middle ear infection)
  • Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear.  (Outer ear infection).
  • Otitis interna which are infections of your pet's inner ear. (Inner ear infection)

Signs That Your Dog May Have an Ear Infection

Just as it's true for humans, ear infections are painful and uncomfortable for dogs. If your pet shows any of the following signs of an ear infection contact your veterinarian immediately to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing and reduce the chances of complications.

Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:

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

If the ear infection is severe you may notice that your pooch displays other symptoms such as:

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

How Dog Ear Infections Are Treated

Upon diagnosing an ear infection in your dog, your veterinarian will meticulously clean your dog's ear using a specialized medicated cleanser. They will also recommend antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications tailored to effectively treat the infection. Additionally, your vet might provide a topical medication, along with precise instructions on the proper method and timing for its application on 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 healing 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.

Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs

Our Pico Rivera vets 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.

Consult your primary care veterinarian to determine the most suitable cleaning solution for your dog's ears. Dedicate time to delicately clean your dog's ears on a weekly basis, and remember to thoroughly dry their ears every time they emerge from 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. 

If your dog is displaying any symptoms of an ear infection, contact our Pico Rivera animal hospital right away!