Dog Ear Infections: Symptoms and Treatments in Arab, AL

Dog ears come in different sizes and shapes but have unique anatomy compared to human ears. Dog ear infections are very common, so it is important for dog owners to be able to recognize the signs of this. Head shaking, whining, and scratching are some of the first symptoms of the problem that you will see but there are many more. Read this article to learn everything you need to know about the symptoms of dog ear infections and how to treat them in Arab, AL. 

dog ear infection arab al

Types of Dog Ear Infections

There are three types of dog ear infections that are listed below:

Otitis Externa

This is the most common type of ear infection because it is the part of a dog’s ear most vulnerable to external factors. It is an inflammation of the ear canal and it occurs when the inflammation affects the cell layers that are around the external portion of the ear canal.

Otitis Media

This type of dog ear infection refers to an inflammation or infection of the middle ear canal. Otis media is usually caused by the spread of infection from the external ear, and they can cause very severe conditions if left untreated.

Otitis Interna

Otitis interna refers to an inflammation or infection of the inner ear canal.  You can best prevent it by doing regular checkups.

Symptoms of Dog Ear Infections

Dogs with no ear infections have clean and dry ears, and it is completely normal for you to find tiny amounts of yeast and microscopic bacteria in your dog’s outer ear canal. The problem begins when there is a buildup of debris which will cause the yeast and bacteria to overgrow and lead to an infection. Some dogs will show no signs of an ear infection apart from discharge in the ear canal and wax buildup, so that is something you should check for. Ear infections cause a great amount of discomfort in dogs, and some of the main signs affected dogs exhibit are written below:

  • Swelling and redness of the ear canal
  • Shaking of the head
  • A dark discharge
  • Itching/scratching of the affected ear
  • Pain
  • Head tilt

Causes of Dog Ear Infections Dogs

There are a wide variety of factors that can cause this condition.

Below are some of the most common causes:

  • Excessive moisture from swimming or bathing
  • Ear mites
  • Environmental allergies
  • Endocrine issues such as hypothyroidism disease
  • A buildup of wax.
  • Foreign bodies like grass that get into the ear
  • Injury or trauma to the ear canal
  • Polyps
  • Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, pemphigus, and vasculitis
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Excessive cleaning of the ear

Seek Veterinary Treatment

It is important to note that you cannot treat dog ear infections at home or by yourself – you need to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately because the infection can cause discomfort and they are extremely painful. Provide your veterinarian with all the necessary information that they will need to give your dog appropriate treatment. Your vet will ask many questions to be aware of your dog’s current history, so you should be prepared.

Here are some of the questions your veterinarian will want to know.

  • Is your dog on any medication?
  • Does your dog have any allergies?
  • Does your dog have underlying medical conditions?
  • What has your dog been eating?
  • What recent activities has your dog been a part of, like bathing and swimming?
  • How often do you clean your dog’s ears and the products you use to do so?

Once your vet has all the necessary information, they will perform a physical examination. They may scan your dog’s ear or test the ear debris to determine which treatment will be the most appropriate.

Some of the tests that your vet may conduct include:

  • Gentle palpation of the ear to determine the level of pain.
  • Identifying the specific cause by using special stains on the debris swab to color the fungus or microscopic bacteria cells.
  • Bloodwork to check for underlying medical conditions like endocrine disease.
  • A CT scan, skull x-ray, or an MRI to determine the severity of the ear infection.
  • The culture of samples from the ear is good for testing which antibiotic will be the best for eliminating the infection.

Contact Arab Veterinary Hospital about Dog Ear Infections

Prevention is better than cure. It is much better to prevent ear infections in your dog than watch them go through pain and discomfort. For example, excess moisture is a cause of ear infections in dogs, so you should always make sure that you dry your dog’s ears properly after bathing and swimming.

Ear infections are very common, but they can be treated with the help of your veterinarian and appropriate medication. When you notice the signs, contact your veterinarian and seek treatment immediately, so the problem does not escalate. For more information, contact Arab Veterinary Hospital in Arab, Alabama by calling (256) 586-3183 or schedule an appointment online. We will treat your pet like family and provide exceptional veterinary care.