Dogs are some of the most adorable creatures on this planet, which is why many people love to have them as pets. There are hundreds of different types of dogs, and like humans, they may also experience numerous types of health issues.
Dogs are known for their powerful sense of smell and their ability to catch sounds inaudible to human ears. The anatomy of the dog ears is characterized by the presence of a long canal with horizontal and vertical components.
Such elements give rise to an L or J-shaped ear structure that can trap debris easily. Hence, it can lead to infections of the dog ears.
Dog ear infections tend to be prevalent, and this is why they are some of the widespread medical conditions experienced by canines.
If you have a dog as a pet, you should not delay when you think that your dog has an ear infection and take him straight to the doctor as soon as possible.
Dog ear infections and their types
Canine ears have multiple parts- the ear canal, the eardrum, the middle ear, and the inner ear. Therefore, one of the conditions affecting the dogs’ ears is otitis which is an ear inflammation. Depending on the specific location in which the infection develops, there can be three distinct types of otitis.
- Otitis externa – Inflammations affecting the ear canal
- Otitis interna – Inflammations affecting the inner ear
- Otitis media – Inflammations affecting the middle ear
Among these three types of ear infections affecting dogs, the otitis externa is the most widespread as this part of the canine ear gets subjected to outside factors. The nature of the infection can be chronic, lingering and recurrent, or acute. It is also possible for a do to have infections in both ears.
Symptoms associated with dog ear infections
Typically, the ears of a healthy dog are always dry and clean. Certain traces of yeast and microscopic bacteria often reside around the outer ear canal of the dog’s ear. On the other hand, there can be an overgrowth of yeast and bacteria that results in infection.
The main symptoms of dog ear infections are as follows:
- Foul odor
- Ear discharge
- Painful sensations
- Tilting of the head
- Scratching and itching
- The dog shaking its head frequently
Factors responsible for dog ear infections
Several factors may give rise to ear infections in a dog. For instance, some underlying issues compromise the protective layer in the canine ear to function effectively. As the ear becomes inflamed and moist, bacteria and yeast can grow inside the ear and lead to infections.
The most common factors responsible for ear infections are listed below.
- Ear mites
- Food allergies
- Some forms of cancer
- Environmental allergies
- Trauma or injury to the ear
- Endocrine conditions like hypothyroidism
- Excessive moisture caused by swimming or bathing
- Autoimmune diseases like lupus, vasculitis, or pemphigus
- Foreign bodies like foxtails and grass awns that might get inside the ear
Treatment of dog ear infections
Keep in mind that dog ear infections cant get proper treatment at home. Therefore, you should immediately consult with a veterinarian if you suspect something wrong with your pet dog’s ears. The infection will not resolve on its own.
It means that your dog will need medical attention. Once you consult with a veterinarian doctor, he will perform some diagnostic tests to understand the nature of the ear infection that your dog is having.
For instance, your doctor might have a closer look at the ear debris your dog is having or perform some scans to decide on the right kind of treatment.
Diagnosis of the ear infection
The veterinarian will perform a swab cytology test for evaluating the presence of fungus or bacterial cells inside the ear. He may also perform blood tests to see if there are any signs of endocrine diseases.
Another way of diagnosing the condition is to perform a culture or sensitivity testing to determine the nature of the bacteria responsible for the infection.
This test can help in deciding on the antibiotics to heal the infection. Other tests performed for diagnosing the condition are a CT scan, x-rays, or an MRI that assist in determining the extent of the severity of the inner ear disease.
Dog ear infections are often treated with topical medicines. For example, a cleansing solution can be combined with an eardrop or an ointment to achieve the best effect. The veterinarian applies for the medicine inside the ear canal.
Sometimes oral antibiotics, steroid medications, or antifungal medications heal the condition. However, if the condition has already turned severe, standard medical treatments may not heal the infection.
In such cases, surgery will be the last option used for treatment. The goal of the surgical procedure is to operate inside the ear canal and remove all traces of the infected tissue.
It is important to note that treating chronic dog ear infections is a time-consuming and lingering procedure. Your dog will require regular medical attention, and medication should be applied in the affected area once every few weeks.
Unless the underlying condition is treated, the infection can come back and become resistant to the medications used.
Preventing dog ear infections
It is significant to perform regular ear cleaning, ear grooming, and proper ear maintenance. It will help make sure that there are no signs of infections. In addition, it is significant to perform routine ear cleansing in case your pet dog tends to swim frequently.
Finally, always use the best dog ear cleaning products. The chemical balance inside the dog’s ear needs to be preserved.