What To Do If Your Dog Is Suffering From Ear Problems
If you think your dog may be suffering from ear problems then the most important first step is to take a trip to your vet.
Ear conditions are very unlikely to clear up on their own and the longer it remains untreated then the harder it is to clear up the problem. Its true that some breeds of dogs – ones with long dangly ears such as Springer Spaniels – are more prone to ear problems than others.
Dogs which spend a lot of time in water may also suffer from regular ear problems, as well as dogs with allergies. If your dog is the kind of breed that is susceptible to ear problems or has long ears make it a part of your grooming routine to check their the ears regularly. Keep the ears clean and if you spot a problem contact your vet to see if they think you further investigation is needed.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pets health, contact your local Calder Vets branch.
What Is The Best Antibiotic For A Dog
ChloramphenicolChloramphenicol is an antibiotic that has a level of pH that can be safe enough for it to completely pass through your dog’s body. This makes it a top choice for treating a dog with bacterial infections in the organs. SulfamethoxoleSulfamethoxole is used to treat urinary-tract infections in dogs.
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How Are Dog Ear Infections Treated
Your veterinarian will thoroughly clean your dogs ears using a medicated ear cleanser. Your vet may also prescribe an ear cleanser and a topical medication for you to use at home. In severe cases, your vet may prescribe oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications.
Most uncomplicated ear infections resolve within 12 weeks, once appropriate treatment begins. But severe infections or those due to underlying conditions may take months to resolve, or may become chronic problems. In cases of severe chronic disease where other treatments have failed, your veterinarian may recommend surgery such as a Total Ear Canal Ablation . A TECA surgery removes the ear canal, thus removing the diseased tissue and preventing the recurrence of infection.
It is important to follow your veterinarians instructions closely and return to the veterinary hospital for any recommended recheck appointments. Lapses in your dogs treatment may lead to the recurrence of the infection. It is especially important that you finish the full course of your dogs medication, even if your dog appears to be getting better. Failure to finish the full course of treatment may lead to additional problems such as resistant infections.
Which Antibiotic Is Best For An Ear Infection
Two classes of antibiotics are commonly used to treat an infection.
Aminoglycosides have been the main treatment for bacterial ear infections for decades. Two aminoglycosides used in ototopical preparations are:
Though both of the above are commonly used in the United States, only neomycin has FDA approval. Neomycin is effective for gram-positive bacteria but its effectiveness against gram-negative bacteria has declined over years, especially against Pseudomonas, the most common bacteria in ear infections.
Tobramycin is effective for Pseudomonas and other gram-negative bacteria.
Quinolones are the most recently introduced ototopical antibiotics. Most quinolone antibiotics in use are fluoroquinolones, which also contain an atom of fluorine. Fluoroquinolones are considered the best available treatment now for ear infections for two reasons:
- Broad spectrum of activity against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria
- Lack of ototoxicity
Following are some of the FDA-approved fluoroquinolone solutions for external ear infection from Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa:
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Bacterial Culture And Sensitivity
Culture and sensitivity may be useful in identifying specific otic pathogens and assisting with treatment decisions however, a limitation is that antibiotic sensitivity data reflect the serum level needed systemically and may not predict true susceptibility of otic topical antibiotics.
Typical indications for bacterial C/S include the following14:
- Chronic otitis associated with bacteria seen on cytology
- Rods seen on cytology
- Suspected or confirmed cases of otitis media
- History of multidrug-resistant bacteria
- History of long-term oral or topical antibiotic therapy
- Bacteria persisting on cytology despite apparently appropriate therapy
FIGURE 5. Cytologic appearance of degenerate neutrophils and cocci .
FIGURE 6. Cytologic appearance of degenerate neutrophils and rods .
Clinicians should sample the middle ear separately if otitis media is confirmed when the tympanic membrane is intact. The types and sensitivity pattern of bacteria isolated from the middle ear may differ from those of bacteria isolated from the external canal.8 In one study, different organisms were cultured from the middle and external ear, and even when Pseudomonas species were cultured twice from the same ear, different strains were suspected on the basis of the sensitivity pattern exhibited.8 Culture results should be interpreted with caution because mixed bacterial flora and light commensal and contaminant bacteria might be present and may not be relevant as pathogens.
Eliminate Ear Infections In Dogs And Cats
Recently, I have seen an exorbitant number of new clients with pets with chronic ear infections, called otitis. One new client brought her sheltie to see me with a six-month history of ear mite infestation. I asked this new client who diagnosed this problem. She said a pet store clerk told her that it was ear mites after she described dark, gritty debris in her shelties ears. Every week, for the last six months, this client has been cleaning her pets ears and treating with ear mite medication with no success.
After gathering her pets history and performing a complete physical examination, I took a swab of her pets ear debris, applied a special stain, and looked under the microscope for presence of yeast, bacteria and mites. As you may have guessed, there were no mites. This pet had a terrible yeast infection.
This client was upset and embarrassed. She could not believe that she allowed her pet to suffer six months. Good news, I told her, today we will begin a new treatment plan to resolve your pets yeast infection.
Why do ear infections happen?
Ear infections do not spontaneously occur. Some event or underlying disease must precipitate it. My top reason why pets get ear infections is allergies.
In the unlikely event that allergies are not the underlying cause for your pets ear infection, I would then suspect the following predisposing factors: high moisture , poor ventilation , suppressed immune system , mites, foreign bodies and poor conformation .
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Dog Ear Yeast Infection
Yeast infections occur when yeast, which is a natural organism in a dogs body to keep the immune system working, gets out of balance and grows out of control.
The balance of yeast in a dogs body and their ears can be affected by any medications they are taking, other illnesses, their diet, and their daily activity.
Dogs that enjoy a lot of swimming, running, and just lolling around out in the heat of the sun can have water and sweat gather in the nooks and crannies and creases in their ears that yeast loves to grow in.
Yeast also thrives on sugar, so any sugary treats or snacks can throw yeast levels out of balance too.
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How To Treat Dog Ear Infection Without Vet Help
First, a word about topical treatments. As youll see later, over-cleaning your dogs ears can lead to ear infections. So its best not to put anything in your dogs ears even if she has an ear infection. If that happens, you know its a sign of deeper issues so getting to the root of the problem is key.
But sometimes ear infections are just too uncomfortable for your dog and you need get her comfortable while you work on the root cause.
Are There Any Potential Complications Or Long
A severe inner ear infection can actually spread to the part of the brain that controls your dogs breathing and heart rate, although this is quite rare.
Two potential long-term complications of inner ear infection include a permanently altered sense of balance and/or persistent signs of Horners syndrome. Your dog may also become permanently deaf in the affected ear.
That said, most dogs with otitis interna respond well to medical management. Expect a two- to four-month course of oral antibiotics to prevent a relapse. The altered sense of balance that generally accompanies otitis interna is typically improved within two to six weeks. Small dogs may recover their balance more quickly than large breeds.Contributors: Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM Robin Downing, DVM, CVPP, CCRP, DAAPM
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How To Prevent Dog Ear Infections
The most important step to preventing ear infections is to ensure that your furry friends ears are always thoroughly dry after a bath or swim.
Cleaning the ears regularly and properly also helps prevent infections. As with humans, you shouldnt use cotton swabs to clean your dogs ears, as this can send debris into the ear canal.
You should also be aware of any allergies that may make your dog more susceptible to ear infections.
Dog Ear Cleaners Might Help Your Pooch
Dog ear cleaners can be used on an occasional basis to remove any signs of debris and buildup and help prevent any infections recurring. Use a clean cotton pad or cotton ball to apply home remedies to the external areas of your dogs ears only. If youre looking to purchase something to use, we recommend the PetMD Wipes below.
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How Is Otitis Interna Treated
Otitis interna is a very serious condition. If your dog is unable to eat or drink normally due to nausea or disorientation, then hospitalization for intravenous fluid therapy is generally warranted. Nausea must be controlled and dehydration avoided. It may also be necessary to sedate or anesthetize your dog in order to adequately see the ear tissues, take samples for bacterial culture, and appropriately clean the ear.
Treatment of the underlying infection is very important, and your veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate medications. Medications will be administered directly in the ear and orally. Antibiotics will be used for a bacterial infection for 6-8 weeks minimum. If the infection is fungal in nature, an anti-fungal medication will be prescribed. Whatever medications are chosen, it is critical that they be given precisely as prescribed.
“If your dog has an altered balance, restrict his activity during treatment to prevent falling injuries.”
If your dog has an altered balance, restrict his activity during treatment to prevent falling injuries. These dogs should not have access to stairs as they may take a tumble. You may also need to hand feed your dog temporarily – reaching down into a dish may stimulate nausea.
Homeopathy For Chronic Ear Infections
If your dog has chronic, recurring ear issues, its best to get help from a professional homeopath. Theyll do a complete analysis of your dog, then prescribe the appropriate remedy for all her symptoms. This approach will help get to the underlying cause of your dogs ear problems.
You can find a homeopathic vet at theavh.org. Most will do phone consults so they dont have to be local.
Now that you know how to handle an acute ear infection in your dog, its a good idea to keep reading, so you can prevent your dog from getting ear infections in future.
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Best Dog Ear Cleaners On The Market
- Pet MD Ear Wipes Pet MD Ear wipes include aloe-vera and eucalyptus to gently clean debris and dirt from around your dogs ears. These veterinary formulated wipes are alcohol-free, soothing and deodorizing for dog ear cleaning.
- Zymox Otic Zymox Otic Solution is used for treating bacterial, viral and yeast infections in the outer ear. It comes in an easy to use a bottle and contains hydrocortisone to help reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Epi-Otic Epi-Otic is a gentle alcohol-free ear cleaner solution containing an antiseptic to help with the prevention of air infections. Its formulated to be pH neutral so it doesnt alter the balance of oils and enzymes in your dogs ear.
Dog Ear Infection Remedies That Dont Contain Antibiotics
The following seven Zymox ear solution and cleaning products for dogs are ones we have used, researched, and talked to other dog moms and dads about.
We chose these products for their efficacy, ease of use, Zymoxs reputation, pet parent reviews, long-term usage features, nicely priced, cruelty-free, made in the USA, and the Zymox LP3 patented enzyme system.
The Zymox Enzymatic Ear Solution with 0.5% Hydrocortisone helps keep dog ears healthy, remove any waxy junk, and uses 0.5% hydrocortisone to relieve itching, minor skin irritation, and dermatitis. It is helpful for dogs with bacterial, fungal, and yeasty ears caused by Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Proteus and Malassezia.
Used primarily for:
- For pets who swim
- Pets who live in moist or hot environments
It is soothing, non-toxic and requires no pre-cleaning of the dogs ear. You apply it once a day into the ear, and like all the products on this list, it contains no antibiotics.
The patented LP3 enzyme solution means no pre-cleaning or digging around in a dogs delicate ear or ear canal to use the solution.
How to Use: Apply liberally to the uncleaned ear, filling the ear canal. Gently massage and work into the infected area, wiping the excess. Use once a day for seven days, but up to 14 days for chronic infections.
- To remove ear exudate
- Pets who live in moist or hot environments
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Why Are Antibiotics Necessary To Treat Ear Infections
Once the inflammation associated with an ear infection is established, bacteria can create secondary infections. These infections can be relatively straightforward to diagnose and treat with antibiotics or antifungal medications. Still, the underlying reason for the inflammation must be addressed or the secondary infections are likely to recur. Diagnosing the underlying cause can be challenging and may require additional testing.
During a physical examination, your veterinarian may use a cotton swab to collect some debris from your pets ear. This material can be placed on a slide and examined under a microscope to determine if the infection is due to yeast, bacteria, or mites. Your veterinarian may also recommend bacterial culture and sensitivity testing of the debris found inside your pets ear. This information can help determine the best medications to treat the infection.
Your veterinarian will also likely clean your pets ears to remove as much debris as possible before treatment begins. Cleaning begins creating a healthier environment inside the ear an environment that will not continue to support bacterial overgrowth.
Treating Inner Ear Infections In Dogs
Chronic canine inner ear infections should be treated early, as if theyre left untreated they can result in permanent damage and hearing loss. If your pet gets an ear infection, its imperative that you consult the veterinarian and treat him immediately. Mild infections can be treated with medication while severe infections may warrant medical intervention.
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How To Treat A Dog Ear Infection
“Typically, when it gets to the point of infection, you need prescription medication,” Grant says. It’s best to see your veterinarian as soon as you notice symptoms because ear infections won’t go away on their own.
Your veterinarian will take a swab of the ear discharge and look at it under a microscope to see if it’s mites, yeast, or bacteria, and then prescribe the appropriate medication. Treatments include antibiotics, antifungals and anti-mite medications that are usually applied to the skin. But if the infection has advanced to the inner ear, your veterinarian may recommend oral medications.
How To Clear Up A Dog Ear Infection Permanently
One of the main reasons why dogs are plagued by continuous ear problems is due to poor nutrition, or a diet that simply doesnt work for the individual dog due to food sensitivities. Retrievers are high on the list for constant ear problems and my Lulu wasnt any different. I should say until I learned how to eliminate her ear problems for good.
She was the yeastiest dog I ever had. Lulu had it all including one ear infection after another.
I set out on a mission to figure out exactly what I needed to do for Lulu to keep her healthy and yeast free. I had dogs my entire life, but never any with the yeast issues that she had. This was many years ago before I knew what I know now.
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