Ear Infections in Dogs
Ear infections in dogs
Ear infections are very common in dogs. Dogs will display various signs of ear infection, some of which we are all familiar with: pain, redness, foul odor, head shaking, dark colored discharge at the ear and in some worst cases, you may see a hematoma formation in the ear pinna itself. Ear hematomas are most likely formed due to the animal scratching it's ear after an ear infection, although there can be other causes. Some people do like to put a e-collar on when the animals have an ear infection, just to prevent this outcome.
Are these ear mites?
Ear mites can also show similar signs, although we generally see ear mites in young kittens and puppies. Usually with ear mites, both ears are affected. Only way to rule out is by looking down the ear canal with an otoscope.
What kind of medication do I need?
We make a quick slide smear to see under the microscope what kind of microorganisms are involved. They are usually bacteria (multiple kinds) or Malassezia yeast or sometimes both and then we treat it accordingly. The usual treatment course lasts 10 to 14 days but varies with severity.
What kind of treatment can I do at home?
For proper treatment, please bring them in for an examination. Ear cleaning is helpful and generally speaking required in most cases. It is usually inadequate on it's own, if there is a lot of swelling or pain. Some animals require regular ear cleaning throughout their life, especially in summers when they are out swimming or when there is a lot of pollen or environmental challenge due to their underlying allergies.
Does my dog have allergies?
Any dog that is having more than 1-2 ear infections per year should be checked for underlying allergies. You can read up on allergies here.
What are the things to watch for?
Any ear disease is painful, so it should be checked by a trained professional. But worst case scenarios are hematoma formation, middle ear infection, chronic ear infection, rupture ear drums or some resistant bacterial infections among many others.
You can read more about ear infections in detail here.