Ensuring your dog is healthy and happy can become overwhelming. From feeding and training to vaccinating and exercising, it is easy to see the challenges of parenting a dog. While your dog may eat well and visit the veterinarian regularly, certain conditions that affect their health and wellness may still arise. An estimated 20 percent of dogs develop ear infections, so learning about this common condition is smart. To hear all the details about ear infections, use this guide to understand the causes, signs, and treatment options for your dog.
Your dog's ear can become irritated for many reasons. Fleas, ticks, and other parasites that go into your dog's ear can cause inflammation, leading to an infection. If your dog suffers from allergies related to food or their environment, they may also have itchiness and discomfort in the ear that can lead to an infection.
Of course, moisture in the ear is one of the most common causes of infections. Water may get into your dog's ears during a bath or while outdoors in the rain or swimming in a lake. This moisture makes the ear a popular spot for bacteria and yeast to grow, which will result in an infection.
Because moisture is a common cause of infections, it is important to dry your dog's ears after bathing and being outdoors. Use a clean, soft towel to wipe away and moisture that may be left on the outer and inner part of the ear.
Your dog will not be able to tell you they are experiencing pain and discomfort in the ear, so you must learn the signs of an infection to ensure they receive efficient treatment. Here are a few common signs:
- Ear scratching
- Shaking of the head
- Brown or yellow discharge or residue in ear
- Redness in the ear
- Loss of balance
- Hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Loss of hair around ear
If your dog is displaying one or more of the above signs, consult a veterinarian, such as at Seattle Emergency Veterinary Hospital, immediately.
Ear infections are not life-threatening conditions, but they can become more severe over time. If left untreated, the infection may spread, damaging the ear drum and causing permanent hearing loss.
Fortunately, treating your dog's ear infection is simple. The type of treatment will depend on the type of infection.
A swab test will determine if the infection is caused by bacteria or a yeast before prescribing a medicated ointment to apply to the ear. Your veterinarian will also clean the ear using a medicated solution.
Your dog will most likely develop an ear infection at one point in time. With this guide and your veterinarian's help, you will understand the causes, signs, and treatment options to restore your dog's ears back to health.