Dog Ear Infections - Symptoms and Treatment
Ear infections are unfortunately common in dogs, especially those with big floppy ears that dangle far down. Roughly 20% of dogs have a form of ear disease, which increases their chances of getting an infection. The good news is that there are obvious signs and symptoms that you can look out for. Additionally, ear infection treatment by a veterinarian at an animal hospital is straightforward and highly effective. If you suspect your dog is suffering from an ear infection, our veterinarian at Amelia Pointe Animal Hospital & Daycare in Fernandina Beach, FL, is here to help.
Dogs can vary slightly in the symptoms they exhibit while experiencing an ear infection. The most common sign of an ear infection is discharge from the ear canal, but other symptoms include:
- Head shaking
- Excessive ear scratching
- Ear odor
- Swelling and pain in the ear
- Scabs in the ear
Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
A dog's ear canal forms an L shape. This vertical structure means that a dog’s ear canal retains fluid for a long time, making it prone to infection. Most often, infection occurs due to a build-up of bacteria or yeast in the ear canal. This is especially common in puppies. In some cases, ear mites can cause infections via tiny tears and bites in or around the ear canal.
Wax build-up in your dog’s ear can also cause an ear infection, as can excessive ear cleaning. It is important to ask your veterinarian for instructions in caring for your dog’s ears. Also, long exposure to moisture can help bacteria and yeast to grow in your dog’s ears. If your home is humid, consider purchasing a dehumidifier.
Our veterinarian will first clean the outside of the ear canal with a medicated ear cleanser. After the initial cleaning, our vet will instruct you in applying the ear cleanser at home if necessary. In more severe cases, or if the ear infection persists, your dog may need antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
In most cases, your dog's ear infection will subside 1-2 weeks after treatment begins. More severe cases can take longer to resolve. That's why it's important to take your dog to the animal hospital as soon as you suspect they have an ear infection.