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How to Know if a Dog Has an Ear Infection

Ear infections are a condition we see on a frequent basis at Carroll County Animal Hospital, especially in dogs with long and floppy ears. Luckily, if ear infections are found early they can be easy to treat. Today our vets in Carrollton discuss the signs and symptoms of ear infections in dogs and the ways they are treated.

A Dog's Ears

Ear infections are more common in dogs than in humans due to the shape of their ear canals. Your dog may be at a higher risk if they engage in frequent swimming or have long floppy ears, as these factors can create an environment where bacteria can thrive and become trapped.

Taking precautions can help protect your adorable pup from ear infections.

If your dog develops an ear infection, it's best to take them to a vet as soon as possible for prompt and effective treatment. However, neglecting to treat the infection can result in the development of more severe symptoms, including pain, coordination problems, balance issues, and in severe cases, facial paralysis.

What causes ear infections in dogs?

Bacteria is the main culprit behind ear infections in dogs, but yeast, fungus, and ear mites can also cause painful and infected ears for your furry friend. Dog ear infections can also be caused by foreign objects getting stuck in the ear, trauma, or the presence of tumors or polyps.

What are the signs of ear infection in dogs?

Your pup may experience significant pain or discomfort from ear infections. If your dog shows any of these symptoms of an ear infection, it's important to get in touch with your veterinarian right away. They can schedule an examination for your furry friend. Treating ear infections early can prevent the development of more severe symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.

Dogs often show common signs of ear infections, such as:

  • Odor in the ear
  • Redness inside of the ear
  • Pawing or rubbing at the ear
  • Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
  • Swelling of the ear
  • Tilting head
  • Head shaking
  • Crusts or scabs just inside the ear

If your dog's ear infection is more severe you might notice other symptoms such as:

  • Indications of hearing loss
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Loss coordination or balance
  • Walking in circles

How can vets diagnose an ear infection?

Veterinarians often use an otoscope to diagnose ear infections in dogs. By using an otoscope, vets can examine the ear canal and eardrum to look for signs of inflammation, discharge, or any abnormalities that may indicate an infection. Additionally, they may also collect a sample of the ear discharge for further analysis to determine the specific cause of the infection and guide appropriate treatment. 

How are dog ear infections treated?

When your dog is diagnosed with an ear infection, the veterinarian will take care of cleaning your dog's ear using a medicated cleanser. Additionally, any necessary antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications will be prescribed to effectively treat your pet's ear infection. Your veterinarian may prescribe a topical medication and provide instructions on how to apply it to your dog's ear at home.

An uncomplicated ear infection usually clears up within one or two weeks with early treatment. Treatment for a more severe ear infection in your dog, or one caused by an underlying health condition, may pose greater challenges and require several months to resolve. Chronic or repeated ear infections can occur in more severe cases throughout the pet's lifetime.

It is crucial to closely follow your veterinarian's instructions to effectively clear up your dog's ear infection as soon as possible. Finishing prescriptions and completing treatment until the infection has completely cleared is crucial to prevent recurring infections that can become more difficult to treat.

We highly recommend scheduling follow-up appointments with your vet for dog ear infections. Even though the infection may appear to have cleared, owners may struggle to detect any remaining traces of infection. Completing treatment before the infection has fully healed can result in recurring symptoms that are challenging to treat.

How can I prevent my dog from getting an ear infection?

At our Carrollton clinic, our vets prioritize the importance of preventing ear infections. Keeping your pet's ears clean and dry is crucial in preventing ear infections in dogs.

Consult with your veterinarian to determine the most suitable cleaning solution for your dog's ears. Make it a habit to delicately clean your dog's ears on a weekly basis, and ensure that you thoroughly dry them after water activities.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our Carrollton vets today if you believe your dog may be suffering from an ear infection.

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Carroll County Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Carrollton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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