Ear infections for anyone can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. Some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to them and, depending on the cause, most ear infections can be treated. If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian.
In this article, we’ll go over symptoms and treatments for dog ear infections so you know what to look out for as a pet owner in Deptford, NJ.
If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, it’s important to take him to the veterinarian.
Unlike adult humans, dog’s ear canals are more vertical and form an L-shape that holds in fluid more easily, which makes them more susceptible to ear infections. The most common causes of ear infection are bacteria, yeast, or a mix of both. Some puppies and young dogs may also have ear mites, which can cause infection.
The most common factors that lead to ear infection are:
If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, quick treatment is important not only for her comfort but for her overall wellness. Treating an infection on the outside of the ear canal is much simpler than when it goes deeper.
When you get to your veterinary appointment, your vet will want to know:
Your vet will then examine your dog’s ears by gentle touch to assess how painful they are and by looking for redness, discharge or swelling. An otoscope is used to look at the ear canals and eardrums. Your vet may take a culture of samples from the ear to determine if the infection is bacterial or fungal.
In severe or chronic cases, your vet may order x-rays or biopsies to determine if there’s an underlying factor, such as a foreign object or cancer.
At your appointment, your veterinarian will carefully clean your dog’s ears with a medicated cleanser. They might send you home with the cleanser and a topical medication to apply once or twice daily. In cases of a fungal – usually yeast – infection, your vet may prescribe an antifungal cream or pills. If the infection is bacterial in nature, antibiotics might also be sent home. In severe cases, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed.
Uncomplicated ear infections typically clear up in one to two weeks after treatment starts. If the infection is due to underlying causes or conditions, it may take months to resolve or could be a chronic thing. Following your veterinarian’s instructions carefully is important for treating and healing ear infections.
Like with most disease, prevention is best. Make sure you dry your pup’s ears thoroughly after bathing or swimming. Cleaning your dog’s ears can also be an effecting preventative measure, particularly if she is prone to chronic ear infections.
How often you clean your dog’s ears is dependent upon his breed, coat, activity level, ear wax production and age. Dogs with normal ears should have their ears cleaned no more than once a month. Dogs with floppy ears or those that swim regularly or get their ears wet often might need more frequent cleanings.
Gentleness is key when cleaning ears. Ask your veterinarian about how often you should clean your pup’s ears and the best techniques to do so.