Dog Ear Infection

A dog ear infection can make a dog feel uncomfortable or dizzy, and can even be a painful situation.

Ear Infection Symptoms

When a dog has an ear infection, discharge from the ear may be noticed. This discharge can look dark or yellow in color and will most likely have an offensive odor. Because of the pain and irritation from the infection, a dog will paw at his ears and may become irritable. A dog with an ear infection will also tend to tilt or shake his head frequently.

Redness and swelling may be noticeable in the area of the pinna, or inner ear flap, and the ear canal. As a result of the infection, a dog may have problems with his balance and may experience vertigo.

Dog Ear Infection Causes

Dogs normally have bacteria and yeast that grow in their ears. Infections arise when there is an imbalance of yeast and bacterial growth. This imbalance can be a result of excess water in a dog’s ears after they have gotten wet. A dog’s ears can also become infected if the dog has an allergic reaction to food, environmental factors or flea saliva. Allergy testing may be necessary if a dog has chronic, reoccurring ear infections.

Endocrine or hormonal imbalances can also cause ear infections. These imbalances, such as in hypothyroidism, can weaken a dog’s immune system and make him more prone to infections. These imbalances can be discovered and monitored with blood tests and can many times be treated with medication.

Another cause for ear infections in a dog is his bloodline. Breeds of dogs with long ears or hairy inner ears are more prone to infections. Examples of these breeds include cocker spaniels and poodles.

Diagnosing an Ear Infection in a Dog

When a dog has an ear infection, he should be taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment. The vet will conduct a thorough examination of the dog’s ear canal with an otoscope to see if there is a foreign object in the ear and make sure the eardrum has not ruptured. Sample of the bacteria and yeast will be collected to see if the dog indeed does have an infection. The sample will be able to tell a veterinarian if the infection is a result of abnormalities in the yeast or in the bacteria so appropriate treatment can be administered.

Treatment for Canine Ear Infections

If a foreign object is found inside the ear (like a tick or debris), the dog will need to be sedated so the item can be removed and the ear cleaned.

When a dog is diagnosed with an ear infection a veterinarian may prescribe a special ear wash solution one can purchase or make at home to help clean a dog’s ears and flush out any excess discharge. A veterinarian can show a dog owner how to properly do this and also demonstrate how to administer antibiotic or steroid ear drops properly.

With the proper care and treatment, a dog’s ear infection can be eliminated. However, preventative care is the best treatment for a dog ear infection.