Seeing your best friend in any kind of pain sucks. The ear infection in dogs is not to be taken lightly, as it may develop into something more complicated, and who knows? Maybe, it turns out to be lethal for your dog. You totally have to address this issue as soon as possible.
In this article, we will be discussing the causes, symptoms, and how to clean dog ear infections. Stick with us to find out all about this.
How to tell If my Dog has Ear Infections:
First of all, there are many dog breeds that do not need ear cleaning as much as other breeds, like Basset Hound or Cocker Spaniel. These dogs are among the most exposed to ear infections because of their long ear, which makes it easy for bacteria and others parasites to survive there.
If you have a dog, you might know that not cleaning your dog’s ears is almost equal to over cleaning your dog’s ears. Before you decide to clean them, first ask yourself that, do they actually need to be cleansed? If yes, be our guest and take all the essential measures to clean them, but if not, then you might wanna hold off on that thought.
So, how do you tell if the dog ears require cleaning or not? It’s simple. If your dog’s ear is pink, unscented, or looking clean by the first look, just watch that. If that is the case, don’t worry, your dog is alright.
But, if you are watching it change over time like your dog’s ear is becoming smelly and the dog is constantly scraping his ears or shivering his head, that’s a sign of a problem, as something is making him uncomfortable that might be an ear infection.
It is said that around 20% of dogs suffer from these ear diseases, but there are ways to avoid those problems. Among the top three types of dog ear infections (Otitis externa, media, and interna), otitis externa is the most familiar kind of ear infection, where the infection hits the outer layer of the dog ear.
The media and interna infection affects the central and internal parts of the ear, respectively. These infections can make your dog deaf or physically flawed in some cases. That is why these infections must be dealt with immediately.
If you see your dog constantly shivering his head and constantly scraping it, that is a sign of an ear infection. When your dog’s ear starts to smell relatively bad, and you see it is getting worse. When there is a darker fluid coming out of the ear from time to time. Rashes and inflammation in the ear.
Or if your dog is acting weird and showing signs that he is feeling pain or stinging. These are all the signs of dog ear infection, and there are different causes for these symptoms as well, like ear mites, bacteria, other unhygienic parasites, or sometimes lack of primary required care.
Causes of Dog Ear Infections:
As mentioned above, dog ears are more exposed to ear infections than human ears; that’s why they need extra care. Previously, we discussed the symptoms. Let’s take a look at the causes of these infections.
Usually, bacteria, and sometimes yeast, are the leading causes of these infections. But in puppies, there are other culprits found known as ear mites. Ear mites are tiny creatures that live and survive in dogs’ ears. The most common kind of ear mites is Otodectes cynotis, which causes around 90% of these ear infections in dogs.
Dogs tend to behave awkwardly and weirdly when they have mites in their ears. So, if you see your dog behaving in such a way, you might wanna consider seeing a vet. Here are the most common causes of dog ear infections.
One of the most common causes of infection is moisture. As you might know, moisture provides a safe haven for harmful parasites like yeast and bacteria to live and survive in the dog’s ear, causing the infection. So, it is vital to completely dry out the dog’s ears after giving him a bath or swimming to prevent otitis externa infections.
Grass Awns and Foxtails:
Grass Awn is a hair-like structure that can stick with the dog’s hairs or even its skin whenever your dog is playing in the garden. Your dog can also swallow these awns and even inhale them through their nose. Once inside, they can cause irreparable damage to your dog’s inner organs, and you can make a pretty good guess how they will treat the dog’s ears. That is because they can move inside the dog’s body.
Foxtails, more or less, look like grass awns, and they get attached to your dog’s paws when the dogs walk over them, and the rest is just like the grass awns.
Among different types of allergies, skin allergies often cause ear infections in dogs. If your dog is skin allergic, it is better to see a veterinarian before it is too late. Food allergies can also lead to infection.
Lack of cleaning is as harmful as overcleaning. Because overcleaning will irritate the ear skin and may lead to several infections. Moreover, few dog breeds require very little to no ear cleaning during their lifetime.
The thyroid disease: when the thyroid is making a lot of hormones and energy is being utilized rapidly. The metabolism rate increases and causes different problems like diarrhea, weight loss, infections, etc.
The autoimmune disease or AIHA is a rare disease in which the red blood cells are destroyed by the immune system itself, so even after all these, the red blood cells that are still be created in the body have a relatively shorter life and thus create several problems.
Whenever something irritates the dogs on their heads, they shake their head constantly to get rid of it. Sometimes, that head shaking results in one or some of the blood veins getting burst or severely damaged. That often causes ear infections.
How to treat Dog Ear Infection?
The best bet would be to take your dog to see a veterinarian if your dog is showing signs of ear infections. The vet will completely clean the ear of your dog with ear cleaners. Then he will advise you to give necessary medicines to your dog to stop and cure the infection.
The vet will conduct a series of tests to identify the problem. These tests will include blood tests, X-rays of the dog’s head, CT or Computed Tomography scan, or sometimes, an MRI or Magnetic resonance imaging to correctly identify the disease. Then, he will prescribe you the necessary medication accordingly.
If your dog’s lucky enough, the infection will subside within 10 to 15 days, only when you have taken all the precautionary measures. But if that doesn’t happen, and your dog’s ear infection is still not calming down. Retake your dog to a vet.
Once again, after deeply identifying the problem, the veterinarian will use different lotions or ear drops to pour them into the dog’s ear deep enough to act on the infected area. He will also use antibiotics or painkiller medicines to cure the ear. But if any of these treatments are not seem to be working well, there is still a practical option left.
The doctor will advise surgery to be performed on the ear. This surgery is called TECA (or Total Ear Canal Ablation). In which the ear canal is successfully removed. Due to that, the infected tissue is also removed, and the infection spread is contained. But that option is only suitable for series ear infection cases, not for ordinary or mild ones.
One thing to care of is to make sure that those medications are not damaging the dog’s eardrums, because, in some cases, the dogs may become deaf, due to that. Even in between the surgery, keep on checking that if your dog is hearing properly or not. If not, tell the doctor instantly to prevent deafness.
The infections that last longer than usual are chronic ear infections, the reasons being several allergies and bacterias or yeasts. These infections often occur in dog breeds that have long ears like Basset Hounds, etc.
Can I treat my dog’s ear infection at home?
You can go for the cleaning part by yourself, but then again cleaning is prevention not cure. So, for treatments, it is better and recommended to see a veterinarian. The simpler answer would be NO! You should not go off on your own with these treatments.
Can I prevent dog’s ear infection?
Of course, you can. Preventing would the best course of action. Always try to keep the dog’s ear dried to avoid increasing moisture, after giving your dog a bath. Keep the ears clean.
The dog’s ear infection is a serious issue, and it is better to prevent it than to cure it. If I were, to sum up, the entire article in one word, that will be “Cleanliness.” Yes! Keeping your dog’s ear clean and dry will prevent all kinds of problems caused by ear infections.
Furthermore, it is always better to see a veterinarian for the treatment than to go off on your own trying to heal it yourself at home. Thank you.