One of the most common reasons for a dog to visit their veterinarian is an ear infection. In fact, ear infections are the #1 reason why people take their dog’s to the vet.
The skin lining a dog’s ear canal is very similar to that on his body, which means that anything that affects his skin, may also have an effect on his ears. Any changes in the ear canal skin can allow bacteria and fungi to multiply and cause infection. Your dog will scratch his ear, shake his head and cry. If you look inside his ear, it’s often red, it may smell bad, and in some cases, you’ll see a discharge around the opening of his ear canal.
Ear Ye! Ear Ye!
There are several causes of ear infections in dogs.
- The first is the conformation of a dog’s ear. Floppy ears, such as those belonging to Cocker Spaniels and similar breeds, are particularly prone to infection. This happens because the pendulous flaps keep the canals moist, and prevent air circulation in the ears. The result is a warm moist canal that allows the growth of bacteria and fungi.
- Medical conditions can also predispose to ear disease. Illnesses, particularly hormone disorders such as an under active thyroid gland , can lead to changes in the skin lining the ear canal, and a similar secondary infection.
- A third cause of ear problems in dogs is allergies. Allergic reactions to food, or to dusts and pollens, can not only make a dog’s body itchy, but can cause redness, irritation and inflammation in his ear canal.
- It’s still possible for dogs without any of these conditions to have ear problems – examples are dogs who swim regularly, or those who have very hairy ear canals. In both cases, the result is moisture in the ear canal, and infection.
Sore Ears Can Stick Around
Unfortunately, ear infections can be difficult to clear up, and may last several weeks. These more chronic infections are most likely to be caused by allergies, or by floppy ears.
You’ll need to visit your vet to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s ear infection. He’ll look at the shape of his ears, and examine his outer ear canal. He’ll then look inside his canal with an otoscope, and have a close look at a sample of discharge under a microscope. This sample can tell him if there are any parasites present, and what bacteria and fungi are present. Depending on what he finds, he may recommend the sample be sent to a laboratory to find out what antibiotics could be used to kill the infection.
There are three steps to treating a chronic ear infection:
1 Clean the ear gently, to remove any discharge in the canal. Clip the hair around the opening of the ear canal to allow air to circulate. Try all natural Ear Wipes to make the job easier.
2. Regularly use a product that dries out the canal. This helps prevent a moist environment which, as we’ve already seen, allows bacteria and fungi to multiply.
3. Use a suitable antibiotic or anti-inflammatory ear drop as prescribed by your veterinarian, to kill the infection and ease your dog’s discomfort. In some cases, your vet may recommend antibiotic tablets as well as drops .
Chronic ear infections can really rack up the vet bills. In order to keep those infections at bay, try an all natural, over the counter solution like Ear Aid – a two step process that both cleans and deodorizes, heals and protects your dog’s ears. If it works on your dog, you’ll save fortunes!
Keep It Clean
If your dog’s chronic ear infection is caused by an allergy, your vet will help you take steps to keep it under control.
However, if his ear problem is caused by floppy ears, or regular swimming, keeping it clean and dry will make it less likely that bacteria will grow in his ear, and less likely that he’ll develop an infection.
Although ear infections are common, using Ear Aid regularly will keep your dog’s ears healthy and pain free. ‘Ear ‘Ear!!