Ear Infections in Dogs: Causes and Treatments

Did you know that one-fifth of family dogs have some kind of ear disease? It’s true, says the American Kennel Club (AKC), and frankly, these infections are nothing to ignore. At Carville Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Katie Bertholet and Dr. Charles Carville are the animal doctors to see when you’re concerned about the health of your dog’s ears.

Why do dogs get ear infections?

Just as people do, our canine companions experience infections of the outer, inner and internal ear. Plus, like human ear infections, infections in dogs arise from a variety of sources including:

  • Infestation with parasites, such as mites, a particular problem with puppies
  • Allergic reactions
  • Excessive scratching and/or ear wax (cerumen)
  • Foreign objects such as dirt, sticks, gravel and grass
  • Complex ear structures, such as the long floppy ears which cocker spaniels, dachshunds and basset hounds have
  • Retained moisture after bathing or swimming

The American Kennel Club reports that veterinarians, such as Dr. Carville and Dr. Berthelot, sees many acute or chronic ear canal infections. Visual inspection, review of symptoms and sometimes, a video otoscopic examination to produce clear images of inner ear anatomy, helps them arrive at a diagnosis.

Sometimes, your pet’s doctor recommends allergy testing or blood work to uncover underlying reasons for recurrent infections. However, for most of our canine friends, a course of treatment with antibiotic drops, sprays and ointments heals the problem, and regular follow-up hygiene prevents further problems.

Symptoms of canine ear infections

If your dog looks uncomfortable, he or she really is. Ear infections present with the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Head shaking
  • Scratching or rubbing at the ears
  • Discharge
  • Odor
  • Redness and swelling of the ear canal

Preventing ear infections

Clean your pet’s ears once a month, or as your veterinarian advises. Use an ear wash recommended by your vet, and closely follow the label directions. Allow your dog to shake his or her head before drying gently with gauze 4x4s or cotton balls. If symptoms start, see your pet’s doctor right away.

Healthy ears, happy dog

Routine ear care helps your furry friend feel and behave normally and have good hearing for a lifetime. For more information on canine ear infections, please contact Carville Veterinary Clinic at (225) 687-7387. Dr. Carville and Dr. Berthelot and their staff are happy to help.

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