Canine ear infections occur whenever the outer or external ear canal becomes inflamed. It is usually caused by other conditions. If the infection isn’t treated, your dog will suffer from chronic pain and will likely experience hearing loss to some degree eventually.
There are certain types of dogs that have an increased risk of experiencing ear infections. Dogs with narrow ear canals or long, floppy ears are commonly affected. Dogs that bathe or swim frequently or those who have owners who clean their ears improperly will also have an increased risk.
Many different things can cause ear infections in dogs. Bacterial or yeast infections may be underlying cause. Some dogs get a foreign object stuck in the ear canal which will cause an infection. Other common causes include parasites, allergies, and systemic diseases.
Canine ear infections can be quite painful. You will notice your dog scratching or pawing at the affected ear. He may also shake or tilt his head frequently, or try to rub it across objects such as furniture. The pain can be enough to cause normally mild-mannered dogs to become aggressive.
If you look inside the ear, you may notice that the ear canals have become red or swollen. Discharge may also come out of the ears and may even have a bad smell attached to it.
To diagnose ear infections in dogs, vets will need to examine the ear canal using an otoscope. A blood test will also help determine if parasites or systemic diseases are to blame. Cultures for bacteria and yeast can also be useful.
In order to treat canine ear infections, the underlying cause will have to be determined. After it has, an appropriate course of treatment can be identified. Anti-fungal medications, steroids, or antibiotics are all common options. Owners may also be given ear cleaners so that they can start caring for them properly. In severe and rare cases, surgery may be required to deal with ear infections in dogs.