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Ear infections in dogs are common. Most dogs are likely to suffer from infection at some point in their lives, which may affect one or both ears. The shape of their ear canals makes them more susceptible to ear infections than humans.
In adult dogs, most ear infections are caused by bacteria and yeast or a combination of both. In puppies, ear mites are a common cause. Your dogs’ ear canal is more vertical than that of yours and is likely to hold more fluid. Moisture, allergies, endocrine, and autoimmune disorders, wax build-up, foreign bodies and excessive cleaning are the factors that influence ear infections in dogs. Ear injuries may also cause your dogs to develop ear infections.
Scratching, whining and head shaking are the significant signs of an ear infection. Some dogs, however, show no symptoms apart from wax build-up and a dark discharge from the ears. You may also notice an abnormal odor from the ear, redness, and swelling of the ear canal and crusting and scabbing of the ears.
A gentle ear cleanser may be used by your veterinarian to clean your dogs’ ears. They may also prescribe a medicated ear cleaner to be used at home. Oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed in severe cases. The length of treatment may vary depending on the severity of the infection. In extreme cases, a surgery may also be recommended to remove the ear canal, thus removing the diseased tissue and preventing a recurrence. Regular rechecks may also be scheduled by your vet, to make sure the medications are working and the infection is cleared.
Prevention depends on identifying the root cause of the infection. Thoroughly cleaning and drying your dogs’ ears after bathing and swimming, will prevent moisture build-up. Identifying and managing the underlying causes of allergies in your dogs may also keep away yeast and bacteria from infecting your dogs’ ears. Routine cleaning your dogs’ ears with a cleaner may be necessary to reduce the chances of ear infections.
Although ear infections are common and recurrent in dogs, you with your veterinarian’s help can keep your dogs from being prone to infections. It is advised to seek treatment right away if your dog shows any signs of an infection.