What You Need To Know About Dog Ear Infections
by Pet Angel | May 28, 2021 | Blog, Pet Angel Blog, Pet Health
Dog ear infections may be very common, but theyre not always easy to spot or diagnose. The canine ear canal is a relatively small and delicate area that can easily inflame for a variety of reasons. As a dog owner, you need to identify the symptoms and treatment options available to consider when your pup has the condition.
Antibiotic Therapy For Ear Infection In Dogs
Any family pet can develop an ear infection underlying allergic reactions or other diseases are typically the cause. Bacterial infection usually occurs secondary to the swelling and unhealthy environment in the ear.
A typical course of antibiotics can be as short as 5 to seven days, or as long as several months. It is best to give all medications as directed for the complete course of treatment, even if the ears look much better right now.
How Is An Ear Infection Diagnosed In Dogs
If your dog is showing the signs of an ear infection, it is time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. In order to appropriately treat the ear infection with the correct medication, your veterinarian will need to determine exactly what is causing the infection in the first place.
The diagnostic test that is used is called an ear swab also known as ear cytology. Your veterinarian will use a long cotton-tip applicator to get a sample of the gunk from down in your dogs ears. They will then smear it on a glass slide and look at it underneath a microscope. Then, your vet can see what caused your dogs ear infection.
Important note: If your dog has an ear infection that is not responding well to treatment, follow up with your veterinarian. On very rare occasions in older dogs, the cause of the ear infection could be related to cancer. If that is the case, your vet will want to do further, more in-depth diagnostic tests.
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How To Take It
Swallow amoxicillin capsules whole with a drink of water. Do not chew or break them.
Amoxicillin is available as a liquid for children and people who find it difficult to swallow tablets.
If you or your child are taking amoxicillin as a liquid, it will usually be made up for you by your pharmacist. The medicine will come with a plastic syringe or spoon to help you measure out the right dose.
If you dont have one, ask your pharmacist for one. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as it will not give the right amount.
Can You Treat Dog Ear Infections At Home
The simple answer is no. Dog ear infections require vet treatment and medication in order to restore a healthy ear canal.
After the veterinarian has evaluated your pet, they will determine if any further home treatment is appropriate. This can be done if a small amount of debris is present and the eardrum is intact.
Dr. Wendy Brooks, DVM, DABVP, notes that if a large amount of debris present, a veterinarian must perform a thorough deep clean while the pet is under sedation.2
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Otitis Externa The Most Common Ear Disease In Dogs Can Be Caused By Many Factors
A detailed history and thorough physical and skin examination can provide clues as to the cause of otitis externa. The pinnae and regions near the ear may show evidence of self-trauma , redness of skin, and primary and secondary skin abnormalities. Deformities of the pinnae, an abnormal growth of tissue in the canal, and head-shaking suggest longterm ear discomfort.
Your dog may require sedation or anesthesia to allow a thorough examination using an otoscope. This is especially true if the ear is painful, if the canal is obstructed with discharge or widespread inflammatory tissue, or if the animal is uncooperative. An examination using an otoscope will allow identification of foreign objects deep in the ear, impacted debris, low-grade infections with parasites, and ruptured or abnormal eardrums. Tissues for culture are usually taken at the same time that the examination of the ear canal using an otoscope is being conducted.
Sometimes a smear taken using a cotton-tipped applicator can provide immediate diagnostic information. The external ear canals of most dogs and cats harbor small numbers of harmless microorganisms. These organisms may cause disease if the environment of the ear changes in a way that allows them to multiply and cause an infection. Microscopic examination of a smear can quickly determine if this type of overgrowth is present.
Diagnosis Of Middle And Inner Ear Infections In Dogs
While it is fairly easy to diagnose an outer ear infection, it can be trickier to identify a middle or inner ear infection. Veterinarians will examine the ear canal and can usually identify if inflammation is present within the ear canal.
Your veterinarian will diagnose a middle or inner ear infection based on previous history and any present clinical signs. Dogs that are prone to ear infections should be checked on a regular basis for any changes to the ear. This will allow treatment to start quickly to combat the infection and keep it from progressing into a severely painful situation for your dog.
A swab for cytology and a culture and sensitivity test may be taken.
Diagnostic imaging such as a CT scan can also be useful for assessing the tympanic bullae.
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Can I Give My Dog Human Amoxicillin
Human Amoxicillin Not the Same as Pet Amoxicillin Mahaney, veterinary-specific medicines are the best option. The dangers of giving your dog human-grade amoxicillin, he says, include the potential to expose your dog to components of the drug that are inappropriate or potentially toxic.Feb 27, 2017.
Preventing Ear Infections In Dogs
Rather than treating an ear infection, you can prevent them! Adding an ear cleaning routine to your grooming and bathing regimen can help prevent ear infections. If you have a breed that is more prone to ear infections, cleaning may have to be more frequent. Another good preventative is consistently drying the inside of your dogs ear after swimming or bathing. Simply use a towel and/or cotton ball to dry out the ear before the moisture has time to fester.
Before implementing an ear cleaning routine, have your veterinarian or veterinary technician demonstrate how to clean your dogs ears. Using the wrong technique or cleaning too often can damage your dogs ear canal and cause more damage. Never use a cotton tipped applicator when cleaning your dogs ears unless otherwise advised by your veterinarian. Dog ears are shaped very differently than a human ear and cleaning too deeply can cause damage to the ear drum.
Don’t let ear infections keep you and your dog from enjoying the great outdoors as the weather warms up! Take a few simple steps to ensure your pups ears stay clean and dry while still having a great spring season!
The information provided in this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your veterinarian. Always consult your veterinarian with questions about your pets health and before initiating any treatment regimes.
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What You Can Do To Prevent Ear Infections:
- Breast-feed your baby for at least six months. Infants who are exclusively formula-fed for the first six months have a 70 percent greater risk of ear infections. If you must bottle-feed, hold your babys head above stomach level to help keep the eustachian tubes from getting blocked.
- Avoid group daycare during your childs first year, if possible. A recent Journal of Pediatrics study found that around 65 percent of babies in daycare suffered at least six respiratory infections in their first year, compared with only 29 percent of babies who were cared for at home.
- Avoid smoke-filled environments. Children who inhale second-hand smoke are at a higher risk for ear infections.
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What Causes Ear Infections In Dogs And Puppies
Many things can cause ear infections in dogs and puppies. Often, an underlying problem leads to the inability of the normal protective barrier of a dogs ear to work properly. Once the ear environment becomes moist or inflamed, it is easy for bacteria or yeast to overgrow and cause infection.
Here are some common causes for a dogs ear to become infected:
Foreign bodies that get into the ear
Endocrine issues such as hypothyroidism
Autoimmune diseases such as pemphigus, lupus, or vasculitis
Certain types of cancer
Trauma to the ear
All of these problems can make the ear canal susceptible to bacterial infection and/or yeast infection. When a dog is in pain and scratching and shaking excessively, an aural hematoma can develop as well. This is seen in the pinna or earflap, where ruptured blood vessels leak blood that clots and causes swelling and pain.
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Can Ear Infections Be Prevented
Some lifestyle choices can help protect kids from ear infections:
- Breastfeed infants for at least 6 months to help to prevent the development of early episodes of ear infections. If a baby is bottle-fed, hold the baby at an angle instead of lying the child down with the bottle.
- Prevent exposure to secondhand smoke, which can increase the number and severity of ear infections.
- Parents and kids should wash their hands well and often. This is one of the most important ways to stop the spread of germs that can cause colds and, therefore, ear infections.
- Keep childrens immunizations up to date because certain vaccines can help prevent ear infections.
Homemade Dog Ear Cleaner For You To Try
Apple cider vinegar is commonly used in home remedies for dog ear infections.
Bacteria and yeast growth can be killed by the acetic acid in vinegar. Remember though, not to use any vinegar on your dogs ears if they are red or have open sores the vinegar will sting and be painful for them .
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The Vets Letter Of Recommendation
Of course, Mylo, Pongo and Ben may still be having antibiotics and surgeries without their vets recommendation. Richard Doyle says:
My name is Richard Doyle and I am a director at The Wylie Veterinary Centre in Upminster, Essex. We are a RCVS-accredited Small Animal Veterinary Hospital. We have been successfully treating and/or preventing superficial bacterial infections in our patients using the LUCAA+ range of probiotic animal care products .
Typically, conditions we treat include surface pyoderma including pyo-traumatic pyoderma , superficial bite wounds, otitis externa, bacterial conjunctivitis, lick granulomas, intertrigo and atopic dermatitis. These products contain three commensal bacillus species which competitively inhibit pathogenic bacteria without the need for antibiotics and without the risk of developing antimicrobial resistance. These commensal species also digest organic material, so we also use the Allergy Spray as an adjunct to more conventional treatments for atopy to limit antigen exposure.
Contact us for more information: Call or email today.
Stockists options are available for like minded partners.
LUCAA+ Pet Probiotic Ear Care helps your dogs or cats ears become healthier and stay healthier. Please use sensible caution and always consult your vet if your dog has signs of infection or you are unsure. If your dog is on antibiotics, our recommendation is to finish the full course first.
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.
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Can You Give Your Dog Human Antibiotics
Many people ask this because it seems like a logical, cheaper alternative. And, its true that humans and pets do share some antibiotics in common. However, its more about the dosage than the drug itself, and dosage is not something to ever play with in medicine both human medicine and veterinary medicine. Also, without your dog being properly diagnosed by an expert, you may be treating them incorrectly for the illness that they have, placing them at even more risk. Always consult a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment plans.
Can I Use Swimmers Ear On My Dog
Remove Moisture from Your Pets Ears As mentioned earlier, you can use swimmers ear drops to help dry up moisture trapped from playing in the water. However, if an ear infection has already set in, or the moisture is too great for ear drops to treat, bring your dog or cat to see our Cupertino veterinarian.
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What Are The Symptoms
A dog with Otitis Externa may show any or all of the following signs:
- scratching at their ears, shaking their head, or rubbing their ears on the floor
- red, inflamed ears and perhaps scaly skin
- ears that are painful to touch
- an unpleasant smell
- a dirty discharge inside the ear
Otitis can be very painful and distressing and wont get better by itself. Untreated, it can lead to serious problems such as haematomas and middle ear infections.
Are There Other Signs I Should Watch For
Vomiting and nausea may occur during the acute phase of otitis interna. If the facial nerve, which is located in the area of the inner ear, is damaged by an inner ear infection, your dog may develop some of the following symptoms:
- drooling from the side of the mouth
- difficulty eating and dropping food
- inability to blink
- development of dry eye in the unblinking eye or Dry Eye in Dogs)
- eye discharge
- drooping of the eyelids, lips, and nostrils on the affected side
- signs of Horners syndrome which include uneven pupil size, called anisocoria, prominent third eyelid, and drooping upper eyelid on the affected side
With long-term facial nerve paralysis the face may actually twist toward the side of the ear infection.
Additional signs include redness in the affected ear and discharge with a foul odor. The outer ear canal may become thickened and hard to the touch from chronic inflammation and the lymph node at the base of the chin on the affected side may become enlarged. Your dog may become reluctant to move at all, preferring to sit or lay in one spot and his head may swing from side to side, even at rest. You may also notice short, rapid, side-to-side movements of the eyeballs called nystagmus.
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How Will The Vet Treat My Dog’s Yeasty Ear
Most often, medicated ear drops are prescribed for you to put in your dog’s ears. Your vet will also very likely prescribe a cleaning solution which typically is used two times a week. If the itching and redness in the ear canal is severe, a low dose of steroid drops or pills may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation. Your vet will show you how to administer any medication as well as how to clean your dog’s ears properly.
What Can I Use To Treat My Dogs Ear Infection
Treating your dogs ear infection depends on the type of infection they have. This will be diagnosed at your veterinarians office with the ear swab. The ear infection will then be treated with medicated ear drops, most of which you can only get with a prescription from your vet.
Some medicated ear drops only have a steroid ingredient in them, which decreases the inflammation and pain in your dogs ears. Others have a combination of an antibacterial, antifungal, and steroid ingredient to treat the infection. Your vet will recommend the best option.
Examples of the medication your vet may prescribe include:
Depending on how much discharge is in your dogs ears, your veterinarian may also prescribe an ear cleanser to flush out your dogs ears a few times a week. The ear cleanser also helps dry out your dogs ears and to reduce the growth of bacteria and yeast.
Make sure to clean your dogs ears out with the ear cleanser prior to putting in the medicated ear drops.
If you are concerned about being able to safely put ear drops in your dogs ears at home, let your veterinarian know. There are newer treatment options that allow your veterinarian to apply a dose of medication in your dogs ears. These medications last for an entire month without you having to do anything at home.
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