Chronic Ear Infections and Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism in dogs occurs when your dog’s thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone is essential for regulating your dog’s metabolism, so when your dog doesn’t produce enough of it your dog usually starts to exhibit some noticeable symptoms:
- Your dog may become lethargic
- Your dog will probably gain weight without a change in appetite
- Your dog may develop bacterial infections on his skin
- His skin may become dry
- There may be hair loss, especially on your dog’s trunk and tail
- There may be a darkening and thickening of the skin where your dog has lost hair
- Your dog may not be able to tolerate the cole and may look for warm places
- His heart rate may slow
- He may become aggressive
- He may become depressed
- He may develop chronic ear infections
Some of these symptoms, such as hair loss, bacterial infections and chronic ear infections, are similar to those found when a dog has allergic reactions If your dog suffers from chronic ear infections it can sometimes be difficult for an owner to determine the cause.
Hypothyroidism can be inherited but it can also be triggered by pollutants, allergies and other environmental factors. It usually begins in dogs around the age of 2 to 4 years of age, though it can occur in dogs as late as 10 years old. Some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers and Doberman Pinschers are more likely to be hypothyroid than other breeds. Hypothyroidism is rare in toy and small breeds.
Clean ears regularly
If your dog has frequent ear infections you should make sure that you are cleaning his ears with a good ear cleaner regularly. A good ear cleaner will help keep the ears at the proper pH level to discourage bacterial and yeast growth. Cleaning the ear will also remove debris that can trigger infections.
You should also make sure that you keep the hair inside your dog’s ear trimmed or plucked. This allows air to circulate inside the ear which helps to keep the ear drier. Infections can develop when the ear is moist, so a drier ear is a less hospitable environment for things to grow.
It could be allergies
If you suspect that your dog may have chronic ear infections because of allergies then you should make sure that he isn’t bedeviled by fleas or other parasites. Some dogs are allergic to fleas — even the bite from one flea can send them into a gnawing, scratching frenzy. An allergy to flea bites can result in flea bite dermatitis which leaves the skin red and raw and subject to infections.
Your dog could also be allergic to something in his food so you can take the sensible action of reading the ingredients and changing to a food that contains something different. Many dogs are allergic to corn and wheat so you could change to a food that contains rice or oatmeal, for instance. Food allergies are a frequent cause of chronic ear infections.
Let your vet decide
If your dog does have chronic ear infections and you suspect either hypothyroidism or aller gies, your best course of action is to take your dog to your veterinarian for a definitive diagnosis. Although serious, the condition can be easily treated. Your vet can determine if your dog is hypothyroid (or if he has autoimmune thyroiditis, the other name for hypothyroidism) with some blood work. If your dog is hypothyroid the condition can be treated with an inexpensive daily thyroid pill. You can see improvement in your dog’s condition in just two to three weeks. When a hypothyroid dog is on regular medication the dog should live a normal life with no side effects. And, all chronic ear infections and other symptoms should disappear.
In the meantime you can treat your dog’s dry and irritated skin with a good oatmeal shampoo and conditioner that will ease the itchiness and add moisture back to the skin and coat and your dog’s ear infections with an all around product like Ear Aid , that will cleanse and moisturize, heal and protect.
So, if your dog has chronic ear infections consider whether he has any of the other symptoms of hypothyroidism. If the ear infections are due to hypothyroidism you can treat the problem and help your dog very easily just by getting the right diagnosis from your vet.