Ear infections are one of the most common health problems that dogs experience. Our canine companions are a huge part of life for many of us, and we are their chief custodians. This is why it’s so important that dog owners are able to recognize the signs and symptoms of common canine health issues like ear infections. Since we can’t communicate with dogs using words, we must rely on other signs and be responsive to what our pet is trying to tell us.
There are some signs of ear infections that almost all dogs show when they have an ear infection. Since the head is also affected by an ear infection, some of these symptoms include other parts of the dog’s head and sinuses. Knowing how to recognize these signs is a crucial part of helping your pet get on the road back to recovery.
Causes of Dog Ear Infections
Dog ear infections can come in different forms. Otitis externa is the most typical, and it is found near the opening or the side of the ear canal. Dogs can also develop otitis media and interna, which affect the middle ear and inner ear canal, respectively. Depending on the type of dog ear infection your pet has, the pathogen may impact different parts of the canine ear, and your dog may show other signs.
Bacterial infections are one cause of ear infections in dogs. They have the potential to result in more serious health consequences for your dog if they aren’t addressed in a timely manner.
Otitis Externa and Interna
Bacteria in the ear canal often cause an infection called otitis externa. This infection may also be caused by fungus. If it isn’t treated relatively quickly, it can progress into otitis interna. Otitis interna can be more difficult to treat, especially as it is often further down in the inner ear.
If you notice that your dog s ears are especially affected by itching or irritation at the side, your dog may have an infection as a result of ear mites.
Hair Growth in the Ear Canal
Sometimes, hair in your dog’s ear canal doesn’t grow properly. Issues with hair growth in the ear canal can actually result in infections. The infection may be deep in the inner ear or towards the opening.
Dogs get allergies, too! Allergies are one of the most typical causes of infections in dog s’ ears. While they might not always lead to a full-blown ear infection, it’s important that they are treated in a timely manner.
An ear infection of the side of the external ear may often be caused by fungus. This type of infection, in particular, can lead to your dog scratching as a result of the itching they cause inside the ear.
How Can I Recognize Ear Infections in Dogs?
There are some very typical signs and symptoms of ear infection in dogs. It’s also helpful to know that certain breeds are much more prone to ear infections than others. Dogs that are most likely to get infections within the ear are breeds with floppy ears, like Cocker Spaniels and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
If your dog is exhibiting some or most of these symptoms, or if your dog simply seems less content than usual, it’s important that you attempt to treat the infection swiftly with a cleaning solution or other treatment. If this doesn’t work, take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as you can. A veterinarian can assist you even when conventional therapies fail or aren’t working.
If your dog has an infection deeper in the ear, such as otitis media, it may shake its head to try and scratch the infection. Head tilting is another classic form of this. Head shaking may also be a sign of inflammation within the eardrum.
Your dog repeatedly scratching the ear is a fairly reliable sign that the ear is infected or that there is irritation within the ear. Rapid eye movements may also be a sign of irritation within the ear. You might also notice your dog scratching at both ears or only on one side. Long periods of itching can indicate problems with the middle or inner ear.
More serious infections within the canine ear can result in discharge. Make sure to check your dog’s ear for discharge, especially if you think they have an ear infection.
Redness or Swelling
Many canine ear infections cause redness or swelling within the ear. This sign is less ambiguous than others, so it’s important that you begin treatment if you notice this.
What if the infection Isn’t Treated?
An infection inside your dog’s ear can be dangerous if left untreated. Hearing loss is a real possibility, especially if a more serious condition like otitis interna of the inner ear is allowed to go un untreated. Your dog s ear, especially the inner ear and middle ear, are fragile and vulnerable to inflammation. There can be cases where a dog becomes seriously sick as a result of bacteria that hasn’t been treated. This bacteria can spread to other parts of the body and potentially kill your dog if they are too seriously affected.
Treatments for Dog Ear Infections
Bacterial and other conditions often need to be treated with medication. If your dog is not showing any symptoms, prevention is still important. Cleaning of the ears on a regular basis may help to prevent ear infections. Ensure you are gentle when you clean the ear, though. The inner ear and middle ear are fragile structures.
Some typical over-the-counter treatments can be very effective in tackling ear problems in dogs. Zymox Otic Enzymatic is one example. This may be all you need to make the condition go away. You can insert it into your dog’s ears. Take care not to use too much, though. In the long run, this can lead to other conditions on its own.
Some people prefer to care for their pets without using medication. You can try to include home remedies in your treatment instead, if you know your dog has problems with its ears. Take care not to use anything dangerous for dogs, though. Even if you often feel comfortable using home remedies, there are cases where this is not enough. Your dog may need vet care in order to recover.
Talk to a Veterinarian
If you’re unsure of the causes of your dog’s inflammation or illness, you should talk with a veterinarian as soon as you can. A veterinarian can determine the exact origin of the illness and prescribe more specialized treatment. This can include antibiotics or other medication in the case of more serious otitis interna. Ear infections like otitis interna are often serious and may not resolve on their own. Pain medications may also help if your dog has a problem with pain as a result of long-term inflammation or a more serious problem with their ears.
Infections aren’t usually dangerous for your dog, but there are cases of them becoming fatal. Make sure you include regular cleanings to help prevent your dog from developing any illness and promptly seek treatment if your dog exhibits any of these symptoms.