Pseudomonas Infection in Dogs

The pseudomonas infection makes treating ear infections difficult. This bacterial infection rarely responds to antibiotics. If your dog is prone to ear infections, make sure your veterinarian runs a culture to check for pseudomonas aeruginosa. If the culture is positive, expect a different treatment plan.

Resistant Properties of the Pseudomonas Infection

Pseudomonas aeruginos are a gram-negative bacteria with the ability to survive in many unexpected situations. Gram-negative bacteria trigger the production of cytokine. Cytokine is an immune response that triggers inflammation. Therefore, pseudomonas infections go hand in hand with very inflamed, tender skin.

In labs, the bacteria have been found to thrive on soap and other materials with antiseptic properties. They generally do not respond to any of the following antibiotics:

  • Carbapenems (such as Cilastatin or Premaxin)

  • Monobactams (such as Aztreonam)

  • Penicillin and Amoxicillin

Symptoms of Pseudomonas Infection in Dogs

One of the leading symptoms of a pseudomonas infection is a strong odor. Pseudomonas ear infections are extremely smelly with lots of drainage or pus. Other symptoms include:

  • Frequent scratching of the ear

  • Frequent shaking of the head

  • Pain in and around the ear

  • Redness and swelling inside the ear

  • Ulcers within the ear

Treating a Pseudomonas Infection

Most veterinarians will run a culture of the pseudomonas bacteria to see if it shows sensitivity to quinolone antibiotics. If this antibiotic works, high doses are usually used to completely kill off the bacteria. One of the problems with pseudomonas aeruginosa is that if all the bacteria are not killed off, they'll come back stronger, even resisting the medication you just used. For that reason, many vets will recommend a high dosage of an oral medication and pair it with antibiotic ear drops using a combination of antibiotic medications. The antibiotic ear drops are usually created by your veterinarian and are not something you can purchase online or over the counter. There are a few solutions that are formulated in labs, but they may not be as successful as a mixture your veterinarian creates to fight the pseudomonas infection.

It's important to keep the ear as clean as possible. By removing any ear wax, dead skin, pus and other drainage, you remove some of the material that increases inflammation. You also remove potential food sources for the bacteria. In addition, the medicinal drops have a better chance to get into the skin tissue to kill off bacteria.

If the ear canal is swollen shut, your veterinarian may advise putting your dog under general anesthesia so that the middle ear can be flushed out. You will need to continue to wash out the dog's ears at home every day or two. Your veterinarian will advise the proper cleaning schedule.

When cleaning your dog's ears at home, fill the canal with the ear wash and then massage the canal for a full minute. Do not let your dog shake his head during this process. You want the ear wash to get deep into the ear and remove as much material as possible. Once the minute is up, have a towel ready to catch the liquid that your dog shakes out. Use cotton balls to wipe away any matter remaining on the dog's ear opening.