Ear Infections in Dogs
Anyone who has developed an ear infection knows how painful and irritating the condition can be. Dogs are particularly prone to ear infections, in fact it is the main reason owners take their dog to the vet. All dogs are at risk, however retrievers and spaniels are more likely to develop an infection that can quickly become chronic.
Dogs with allergies are highly susceptible to ear infections though there are many reasons. These include the overgrowth of yeast or bacteria (or both), the build up of wax in the ear canal, or the presence of a foreign body in the ear. Environmental irritants, autoimmune diseases, diabetes mellitus, tumors, hypothyroidism, and allergic dermatitis can also affect the ear.
Otitis Externa: Infection of the outer ear canal is known as Otitis Externa. This is the most common form of ear disorders in dogs. The inflammation of the external ear cannel triggers the condition. The inflammation may be caused by bacteria, yeast, parasites, mites, allergies (both food related and environmental) Over eighty percent of dogs with long dropped ears are predisposed to this condition. Other breeds such as Chines Shar-Pei seem to also be effected due to having narrow ear cannels.
Otitis Media: Infection and inflammation of the eardrum and middle ear. The cause is frequently due an infection in the outer ear (otitis externa). The sign and symptom are similar however this condition is more painful. A dog will till its head down on the affected side and try to keep it still, due to extreme pain you pet may react to touching.
Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs
- scratching or pawing at the ear
- shaking or tilting the head in the direction of the painful ear
- black or yellowish discharge
- redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal
- waxy buildup on, or near, the ear canal
- discharge that resembles coffee grounds
- strong odor
- hearing loss
- loss of balance
Ear infections can become chronic and lead to deafness and facial paralysis, therefore it is important to seek treatment as soon as you notice symptoms.