Does your dog shake his head excessively? Are his ears red? Is there discharge from the ears? If you answered yes to any of these then he could have Otitis Externa which is simply another name for a dog ear infection.
The dogs ear has 3 parts, the outer ear, the middle ear and the inner ear. Otitis Externa is an infection in the outer ear canal where 90% of ear infections in dogs occur. Dogs are prone to ear infections because of the anatomy of their ears. They have a horizontal and a vertical component to them, so it is hard for anything in there to drain out, like water or debris.
There are several causes of ear infections. The most common cause of ear infections are due to allergies. Some dogs are more prone to allergies than others; therefore they get more ear infections.
Another common cause is sporting dogs that swim. They get water inside their ears, and provided their difficult anatomy, the water in the ears cannot drain out. Therefore, this provides the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to grow. It is recommenced that if you let your dog play in the water you dry your dog's ears thoroughly afterwards.
If your dog does have an ear infection it is important to properly clean your dog's ears before applying any medication.
To clean your dog's ears, start by placing a few drops of an ear cleanser into the ear and massage the ear to help loosen any debris that is in the ear. Then use a cloth or cotton gauze to whip the dirt out.
After your dog's ears are thoroughly clean, then you can apply your medication. Follow your veterinarian's advice about how much medication to apply to the ear, usually a few drops.
The treatment your veterinarian will prescribe will vary depending on the cause of the ear infection. For yeast infections they prescribe anti-fungals, for bacterial infections they will prescribe antibiotics. Normally treatment is applied directly into the ears, but in severe cases systemic treatment may be needed. This usually means have to give your dog pills orally.
In some dogs with severe ear problems, the veterinarian will usually clip the hair around the ear to help let more air into the ear. In extreme cases your veterinarian may recommend surgery to reconstruct the ear canal to let it drain easier.
Some dog breeds are more prone to ear infections than others, although all dogs can be get them. Dogs with large ears and ears that flop over as well as dogs with a small ear canal can be more susceptible than others. Ear infections in dogs need to be treated by your vet, so the next time you see any symptoms in your dog, take action!
Dogs eating commercial dog food are much more susceptible to ear infection. They are also more susceptible to worm infestation and flea infestation. In fact, your dog will be more susceptible to any kind of parasitic infection.
May your dog have a long and happy life,