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How Do I Know If My Dog Has An Ear Infection?

Our Argyle vets often see and treat ear infections in dogs. Most ear infections are easy to treat if they are caught early. Here are some common signs of dog ear infections and what to do if you think your pup may be having ear health issues. 

Ear Infections In Dogs

Dogs are particularly susceptible to ear infections due to the shape of their ear canal. It is easy for moisture to become trapped in the ear canal which creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. This is particularly true if your dog has long floppy ears or regularly goes swimming.

Dogs can experience three types of ear infections, known as otitis externa, media, and interna. The most common is otitis externa, or an outer ear infection, which happens when there is inflammation in the outer ear canal. Otitis media and interna refer to infections of the middle and inner ear canal, respectively. Middle and inner ear infections in dogs often result from the spread of infection from the external ear.

Middle and inner ear infections can be very serious and can result in deafness, a loss of coordination and balance, and in severe cases, facial paralysis.

It is important to take your dog to the vet should you notice any signs of infection so they can begin treatment right away!

Causes of Ear Infections

Bacterial ear infections in dogs are common due to the ear canal shape issue mentioned above. However, there can be other causes of ear infections in dogs such as yeast, fungus, ear mites, tumors, or polyps. 

Physical trauma or objects lodged in the ear can also cause an infection in your pup's ear.

Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs

Ear infections can be very painful or uncomfortable for your pooch. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection contact your veterinarian immediately to book an examination for your pet. 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:

  • Pawing or rubbing at the ear
  • Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
  • Odor in the ear
  • Redness inside of the ear
  • Head shaking
  • Tilting head
  • Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
  • Swelling of the ear

If your dog's ear infection is more severe you may notice other symptoms such as:

  • Indications of hearing loss
  • Loss coordination or balance
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Walking in circles

How Dog Ear Infections are Treated

If your vet diagnoses your pup with an ear infection they will generally begin treatment by applying a medicated cleanser and prescribing an antibiotic or other anti-inflammatory medication. Your vet may also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home. 

If a mild infection is caught early it will typically clear up within just a week or two. If your dog's ear infection is more severe or caused by an underlying health condition, treatment may be more challenging and the infection may take longer to resolve. Unfortunately, it is common for severe cases to lead to chronic ear infections in dogs.

It is important that you follow your vet's instructions carefully and finish any recommended treatments. Not finishing prescriptions can lead to a recurring infection that becomes increasingly difficult to treat. 

Follow-up appointments with your vet are highly recommended to ensure the treatment has worked and the infection has completely cleared. Even if it seems like your pup is okay there may be lingering signs of infection that your vet will be able to spot. 

Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs

Our Argyle vets believe that prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to ear infections. To help prevent your pup from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your pet's ears clean and dry.

Speak to your primary care veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears every week, and always dry your dog's ears whenever they come out of 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.

Is your dog displaying symptoms of an ear infection? Contact our Argyle Veterinary Hospital vets today to make an appointment.

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(940) 464-3231