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Ear Infections in Dogs

We often see ear infections in dogs at Tumwater Veterinary Hospital and, if your pup's ear infection is diagnosed early it will be easier to treat. In this blog, our Tumwater vets share with you the signs of dog ear infections and how they can be treated. 

Dog Ear Infections

Dog's can get ear infections just like humans. In fact, our canine friends are at an even higher risk because of the shape of their ear canals. Factors such as floppy ears and the amount of time your dog spends in the water can also increase their risk of infection. Bacteria can get trapped in your pup's ear where it can easily thrive.

Luckily, there are several preventative measures you can take to prevent your pooch from getting an ear infection.

If your adorable pup does happen to obtain an ear infection you need to bring them to the vet as soon as possible so it can be treated early when it is easier to treat. If your dog's ear infection goes untreated it can become more severe and lead to more serious symptoms including increased pain, coordination/balances issues, and in more severe cases facial paralysis.

There are also different types of ear infections in dogs such as inner ear infections, outer ear infections, and middle ear infections, your veterinarian will be able to help you diagnose which one your dog may have and treat it accordingly.

Common Causes of Ear Infections

Bacteria is the leading cause of ear infections in dogs, however, yeast, fungus, and ear mites can all make your dog's ears painful and infected. Other factors that can cause dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.

What are the Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs?

Ear infections can be uncomfortable and extremely painful for your canine companion. If your dog displays any of the following symptoms of an ear infection call your veterinarian as quickly as possible to schedule an appointment. Treating ear infections early can help prevent more severe symptoms from developing and reduce the chances of complications.

Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:

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

If your dog' has a more severe ear infection you could notice other symptoms including:

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

How are Dog Ear Infections Treated?

If your vet diagnoses your dog with an ear infection your veterinarian will start treatment by cleaning your dog's ear with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications required to treat your pup's ear infection. Your veterinarian might also give them a topical medication and instruct you on how and when you should apply it to your dog's ear at home.

Treating an uncomplicated ear infection in its early stages will typically only take a week or two for full recovery. If your dog's ear infection is more severe or is caused by an underlying health condition, treatment could be more challenging and can take months to resolve. Often, more severe cases result in repeated or chronic ear infections over the course of the pet's lifetime.

It's essential to carefully follow your veterinarian's instructions in clearing up your dog's ear infection as quickly as possible. Not finishing prescriptions, or stopping treatment before the infection has completely cleared can lead to a recurring infection that becomes harder to treat.

We highly recommend follow-up appointments with your vet for dog ear infections. Even if the infection looks like it has cleared there still might be traces of infection that are difficult for owners to spot. Finishing treatment before the infection has fully healed can lead to recurring symptoms that are difficult to treat.

How can I Prevent My Dog From Getting an Ear Infection?

Our Tumwater vets strongly believe that prevention is best when it comes to ear infections. To help your dog avoid ear infections it's important to keep their ears clean and dry.

Talk to your veterinarian about the best cleaning solutions to use on your dog's ears, take the time to carefully clean your dog's ears weekly, and always dry your pooch's ears when they come out of the water.

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.

If you suspect your dog has an ear infection contact our vets in Tumwater immediately to start treatment as soon as possible.

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