Ear infections are one of the most common health problems faced by dogs. They can be very painful and if left untreated it can cause permanent ear damage and/or hearing loss.
As a dog owner it is important to know the signs of a possible ear infection so that it can be treated and the dog’s discomfort relieved. Signs and symptoms of ear infections in dogs include;
- redness of the ear / ear canal
- swelling or inflammation of ear / ear canal
- an odour
- ear feeling hot
- head shaking
- scratching or rubbing ear
- tilting head to one side
- hair loss around the ear
- discharge from the ear – bloody, yellow or brown
- ear pain inside or around the ear
- hearing loss
There are many different causes of ear infections in dogs including, mites, yeast, bacteria, allergies, foreign body – like a grass seed, trauma or moisture/water in the ear. Some dogs are more prone to ear troubles, particularly dogs that suffer from skin allergies or dogs with droopy or floppy ears, due to excess moisture build up and reduced air circulation around the ear. As there are so many possible causes it is always best to consult your veterinarian to determine the cause and the best course of treatment. Treatment may involve ear cleaning, antibiotics, anti-fungals, parasite control, ear draining or surgery.
Keeping your dog’s ears clean and dry can help prevent ear infections. Drying the ears with a towel or blow dryer after bathing or swimming is recommended to help prevent yeast or bacteria growth. Cleaning your dog’s ears frequently, sometimes weekly, will help remove excess ear wax and debris. To learn how to clean your dog’s ears visit the vet-n-pet DIRECT Help Centre Article – How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears.
Originally published in My Pet Magazine Autumn 2016.
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