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Ear Infections in Dogs

Our veterinarians in La Pine often encounter ear infections in dogs. If detected early, most of these infections can be treated quite easily. Below are some signs that you can look for to identify if your furry friend has an ear infection. We've also provided some guidance on what you should do if your dog is diagnosed with an infection.

How do you know if your dog has an ear infection?

Dogs have a higher susceptibility to ear infections due to the shape of their ear canals, especially if they have floppy ears or spend a lot of time in water. Moisture can get trapped in their ears and create an ideal environment for bacterial infections to develop.

You can take extra care of their ears to prevent your dog from developing an ear infection. If your pup gets an infection, it is always better to see a vet at the earliest.

Otherwise, the infection can develop rapidly and cause symptoms like pain, balance and coordination issues, and even facial paralysis in severe cases.

Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs

Ear infections may be very painful for your pup. If your dog shows signs of an ear infection like those described below, contact your veterinarian immediately to book an exam for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help prevent more severe symptoms from developing over time and reduce complications.

If your pup is suffering from an ear infection, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

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

If your dog has a severe ear infection, you may notice other symptoms, such as:

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

Causes of Dog Ear Infections

Bacteria most often cause ear infections in dogs. However, yeast, fungus, and ear mites may also cause your dog's ears to become painfully infected. Some other causes of ear infections in your pup may include foreign objects getting lodged in their ear, physical trauma, and polyps. 

There are three types of ear infections that can occur in dogs depending on where the infection has occurred;

  • Otitis internal, which is an infection of your pet's inner ear. (Inner ear infection in dogs)
  • Otitis media indicates an infection in the dog's middle ear. (Middle ear infection in dogs)
  • Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear. (Outer ear infection in dogs).

When to seek veterinary care? 

If you notice any of the following signs of an ear infection in your dog, it is best to have it evaluated by a veterinarian immediately. Ear infections can be painful and uncomfortable for your dog, and the condition may worsen if left untreated.

How do you treat ear infections in dogs?

If your dog has been diagnosed with an ear infection, our veterinarians will take the necessary time to clean out your dog's ears with a medical cleanser and recommend antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications that are appropriate for treating the type of ear infection your pup has. In some cases, a topical medication may also be prescribed, and you will be given instructions on how to apply it to your pup's ears at home.

When treated in the early stages, uncomplicated ear infections in dogs can typically clear up within a week or two. However, if your dog's ear infection is more severe or an underlying health condition causes it, treatment may be more challenging and take months to resolve. In many cases, severe infections can lead to chronic ear infections in dogs or repeated ear infections over the course of the pet's lifetime.

It's essential to follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully to clear up your dog's ear infection as quickly as possible. Failing to complete your pup's prescription or stopping treatment before the infection is entirely cleared can lead to recurring infections that will be increasingly challenging to treat.

Follow-up appointments with your vet are highly recommended for dog ear infections. Even if it appears that the infection has cleared up, there may still 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 you prevent your dog from getting an ear infection?

At La Pine Animal Hospital, we believe prevention is always better than treatment regarding ear infections. To help prevent your pup from developing an ear infection, keeping your pet's ears clean and dry is important.

Ask your veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, take some time to gently clean their ears each week, and always dry their ears when they come out of 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 your dog has an ear infection, it's time to visit the vet. Contact La Pine Animal Hospital today to book an examination with our vets and get appropriate treatment for your dog's condition. 

New Patients Welcome

We are accepting new patients to our La Pine vet clinic. Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of all pets in Central Oregon. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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Contact (541) 536-2001