At Southborough Veterinary Hospital, we often encounter ear infections in dogs, especially in dogs with long and floppy ears. Fortunately, if ear infections are found early, they can be easy to treat. Our vets in Southborough discuss the signs and symptoms of ear infections in dogs and how they are treated.
A Dog's Ears
Dogs are more likely to get ear infections than humans because of their ear shape. If your dog swims a lot or has long, floppy ears, bacteria can get trapped and cause infections.
However, there are some precautions you can take to help protect your adorable pup from ear infections.
If your pup develops an ear infection, bring them to a vet early when it's quicker and easier to treat. On the other hand, if you don't have the infection treated, it can lead to more serious symptoms such as pain, coordination, and balance issues and, in more severe situations, facial paralysis.
What Causes of Ear Infections?
The main reason why dogs get ear infections is bacteria. But yeast, fungus, and ear mites can all lead to your dog's ears becoming painful and infected. Some other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.
What are the Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs?
Ear infections can be very painful or uncomfortable for your pup. If your dog displays any of the following symptoms of an ear infection, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an examination for your companion. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing and reduce the chances of complications.
Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:
- Odor in the ear
- Redness inside of the ear
- Pawing or rubbing at the ear
- Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
- Swelling of the ear
- Tilting head
- Head shaking
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
If your dog's ear infection is more severe, you might notice other symptoms, such as:
- Indications of hearing loss
- Unusual eye movements
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Walking in circles
How are Dog Ear Infections Treated?
If your dog has an ear infection, your vet will learn their ear and give them medicine. They might also give you medicine to apply at home. Mild infections usually get better in a week or two. Sever ones might take months or keep coming back.
Your veterinarian will clean your dog's ear with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications needed to treat your pet's ear infection. Your veterinarian could also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.
With treatment in the early stages, an uncomplicated ear infection will typically clear up within one or two weeks. If your dog's ear infection is more severe or is caused by an underlying health condition, treatment could be more challenging and might take months to resolve. Often, more severe cases result in chronic or repeated ear infections over the course of the pet's lifetime.
Listen to our vet's advice. If you stop treatment early, the infection might return and be harder to fix. Don't skip follow-up visits because the infection could still be there even if it seems better. Completing the treatment is crucial to avoid tricky recurring symptoms.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting an Ear Infection?
Our Southborough vets suggest preventing ear infections in your dog is key. To do this, talk to your vet about the right ear-cleaning solution, clean your dog's ear gently every week, and make sure to dry their ears after they've been in the water.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.