The infection caused in the dog’s ear due to over growth of the bacteria or yeast is known as Dog’s ear infection. The dog ear actually consists of three layers, the inner layer, the middle layer and the outer layer.
The layers of the ear in the dog have a balance of the yeast and the bacteria. When this balance gets disturbed, there is an infection in the dog’s ear.
If the infection in the dog is in the outer ear, it is known, as “Otitis Externa”, if the infection is in the inner ear it is known as, “Otits Interna”, if the infection is in the middle ear it is known as “Otitis Media”.
This type of infection starts from the outer ear passes through the ear canal and passes to the central nervous system, which can result in serious illness and even death.
Types of Dog Ear Infections
There are basically two types of Dog Ear Infections:
Bacterial Ear Infection: This type of ear infection might occur if there is observed a discharge from the dog’s ear and an unpleasant odour. Also, in such an infection, there is swelling and redness in the ear.
Dog Yeast Ear Infection: This type of ear infection can be there if there is dryness and itching observed in the dog’s skin. The dog ear infection can also spread to other parts of the dogs body such as paws or face.
Causes of Dog Ear Infections
Most dogs will contract an ear infection at one time or another in their lifetime. This is a fairly common aspect that dog owners have to deal with and ear infections are pretty easy to cure. Dogs that have those cute floppy ears are more susceptible to having inner ear infections than dogs with smaller upright ears. This is due to the lack of air flow inside the ear canal.
While ear infections are quite common, knowing what causes an ear infection in a dog will enable you to help cure your dog’s affliction and keep it from getting worse.
The Common Reasons of Ear Infections in Dogs
Knowing these causes can pave the way to a more effective prevention of this disease:
Bacterial and Yeast Infections on Dogs
Your dog may be suffering from a bacterial or yeast infection. While these conditions may not start in the ear, rather they start as a simple skin infection; they can lead to an ear infection. Making sure your dog is bathed and groomed properly will keep these kinds of infections from ever starting.
Dog Ear Mites
Ear mites are one of the most common causes of ear infections in dogs. Although, this usually happens in younger dogs. If your dog has ear mites he will tend to scratch his head and ears quite a bit. You can look inside your dog’s ear, carefully, and see the mites moving around. This will let you know that your dog will be needing ear mite drops to kill off these parasites.
Moisture is one of the major causes of Dog Ear Infection. If the dog is kept in contact of water through any means there is high risk of growing infection in the Dog’s face. Increasing humidity in the climate can cause the dog to have more ear infection.
Allergies are another cause of ear infection. Dogs that have any kinds of allergies have a higher probability of ear infection.
Presence of Foreign Bodies in the Dog’s Ear
If there’s anything trapped inside your dog’s ear, it is very likely to trigger infections. Dog infection caused by the penetration of a foreign body inside the ear may require surgery to remove. In milder cases, flushing out may work.
If ear mites are common in younger dogs, older dogs are more prone in tumors developing in the wax glands. If this is the main cause of ear infection in your dogs, the only solution is tumor’s surgical removal.
Ear infections can be caused by your dog’s irritation to certain foods. You know this is the cause of the problem if your dog’s ear infection keeps on recurring. Try to recall the food items that your dog had eaten prior. These are the most common culprits. Try not to feed them to your dog and see if the infection would recur.
Puppy strangles is most fittingly described as swollen lymph nodes. This is one complex disease that can cause ear infection primarily because it is one of the disease’s symptoms. If you suspect that this is the problem your pet is suffering from, be sure that you take it to the vet right away for immediate diagnosis and treatment.
Other Underlying Diseases
If your dog is prone to different types of disorders like scaling, hormonal issues, and immunity problems, high are the chances that it would develop ear infection in the long run. While it may not indirectly cause the problem, studies show a link between a dog’s set of underlying diseases to ear infection.
What Causes Dogs Ear Infection
There are different reasons for a dog ear infections, but the most frequent one is known as otitis externa, this is when a dog gets an ear infection on the outer ear carnal and this happens when bacteria starts growing on a dogs moist ears. This problem is not unique to dogs, there is a similar infection that affects humans, and it’s called “swimmers ear”.
Bacteria likes to grow in damp environment and a dogs moist ear is the perfect home for most of these microbes. Also ear infections in a dog can occur when a dog has a yeast infection or even dog ear mites.
The breed of dogs more susceptible to ear infection are those with floppy ears or the dogs that have hairy ear canals because after they’ve taken a swim/bath their hairs retains water and bacteria then feels at home to grow.
Dog Ear Infection Symptoms
Otitis or generally called as ear infection in pets are very common and almost every dog suffer from such a painful condition at least once in his lifetime. Though ear infection is not that serious but it can turn into if it is left untreated for long time. This causes great discomfort to our furry friends from leading a healthy lifestyle.
Dogs can get ear infection due to several reasons like if they are prone to spend more time in moist areas and in swimming or bathing. The moisture encourages the growth of micro organisms in the ear canal thus causing infection. Or if they are allergic and have floppy ears and even if they grow hairs on the inner part of their ears, ear infection can develop.
Ear infection usually starts with its mild presence in the outer ear. But negligence can turn this into internal otitis causing inflammation and infection in inner ear of the dog. An untreated ear infection can lead to extreme pain of the furry pet discomforting them in touching their head and opening their mouth.
Some symptoms and signs:
- They can be found to shake their head more often than usual and also tilt their heads.
- They would start to paw, rub and scratch their head creating scabs around the ear, hair loss and crustiness.
- Their ear may have typical and unusual smell like yeast.
- Often ear pus may be found which can be black and chunky or yellowish in color or even accompanied with blood.
- Red and swollen ear canal is noticeable.
- The ear canal may become filled with brown wax.
- Abnormal eye movements called Nystagmus are very common among the symptoms.
- If the inner nerves of the ear are affected then the pet is often found to become dizzy and walk and run in a circle most of the time.
- Dog may be found to be yelping and whining at any time.
- It can damage the sensitive ear tissues and also cause blood-filled blisters to develop due to excessive head-shaking.
- In some cases, this ear infection can even cause deafness to the dogs.
Otitis is diagnosed using an Otoscope by looking deep into the ear canal. If the ear canal appears to be deep red, then it symbolizes that the dog is suffering from an ear infection. The instrument even enables to see the discharge fluid and pus can be collected as laboratory sample for testing the cause of infection.
The dogs exposed to water regularly can be made to use soft cotton balls to avoid moisture entering their middle and inner ear canal. Or else can also be cleaned and dried properly immediately after the moisture exposure. If an external ear infection shows up, it should immediately be taken care of.
Some dogs are even allergic to some otitis-curing medicines. Though one of the most common and well-suited medicine is an antibiotic, Neomycin. Some other includes chroramphenicol, miconazole, gentamicin etc.
If you want to lower the chances of your dog getting an ear infection, you should follow the tips given below.
- Avoid plucking hair in the dog ear area. This causes serum production to increase, resulting to bacteria growth, and consequently, ear infections.
- Towel dry dog ears after bathing and swimming to keep them dry. As mentioned above, wet ears can trigger infections.
- See to it that you check your dog’s ears regularly so that you can detect the onset of any infection and therefore, provide treatment right away.
- If there is foxtail in your dog’s ears, have it removed by the vet. Don’t attempt to get it yourself as it could be painful for your dog.
Dog Ear Infection Home Remedy
Ear infection or otitis is one of the most common things that almost every pet suffer once in his lifetime. This is very painful at certain times and can even cause deafness in the pet.
Being an owner of a dog does not only mean belly rubs and cozy cuddles, but the dog should be taken proper care of in daily routine itself by its master.
Our canine companions often enjoy being outside the house and thus they get exposed to a hell lot of dust, pollution, water, allergic components etc. every day which can be a reason behind ear infection and inflammation.
Symptoms like foul odor and discharge from the ear may be noticed accompanied by some abnormal behavior of the pet like tilting and shaking its head, scratching and rubbing its ears more than usual.
The Best Home Remedy for Dog Ear Infection
Though the best remedy to ear infection is to keep the pet clean, dry and hygienic, there are even some home remedies that are inexpensive and easy as well.
Firstly we have to clean the ear with some lukewarm water so that the dust and irritants wash away. This will help the medicine to reach the exact infected area.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Dog Ear Infection
We can mix some apple cider vinegar in water and spray the mixture to the infected part. The vinegar acts as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory helping in easing the discomfort in the ear due to infection. But it should not be used if the dog has scratched the ears and made open sores as it would increase the pain and discomfort.
Witch Hazel for Dog Ear Infection
Witch hazel can also be an effective astringent to clean the infected area.
Essential Oils and Vitamins for Dog Ear Infection
Essential oils are a great home remedy to be used. Applying a mixture of five-six drops of oil of mullein and oil of garlic regularly for 10 days would help in killing viruses, bacteria and also ease pain and swelling of the ears.
A few drops of vitamin E oil can bring relief to the pain and also soothes the inflamed tissues for quite a time.
Pau d’arco and mineral oil can be mixed and used for massaging the ears for several days. It helps in killing the bacteria and fungi causing the infection.
Vitamin C capsules can be used for the dog daily to prevent future ear infection. This vitamin not only boosts the immune system but also excites the adrenalin gland causing much secretion and thus helping to fight ear infection.
Warm Compress for Dog Ear Infection
A warm compress can sometimes alleviate the pain temporarily though it cannot be a permanent cure. Warm compress can be made at home by simply damping a small towel with warm water, wringing it out and pressing it against the ear for once or twice daily very gently.
By plucking all the hair growing in the ear canal, the ear can be made to keep dry and thus away from infection.
Besides all these easy home remedies, if the pet is suffering from major ear infection, it is always advisable to contact the veterinarian at the earliest and then decide the treatment to be done.
Complications of Ear Infection in Dogs
Ear infection in dogs can lead to a more complex health concern if not treated right away.
On the surface, ear infection in dogs seems to be a minor problem. But if left untreated, this condition may turn into something that’s very hard to reverse.
Sarcoma in Dogs
A simple ear infection may lead to sarcoma. Sarcoma is a form of tumor forming on the ear canal that requires surgery to remove. Other types of tumor may also develop, such as hemangiosarcoma and malignant melanoma.
Otitis Media in Dogs
Aside from these, dogs suffering from worse cases of ear infection could develop facial nerve problems as well. Since the ears of the dogs are technically part of their heads, the infection could possibly affect the nerves situated in the face. Scientifically, this condition is referred to as otitis media. Otic neoplasms can also develop in dogs with ear infections, more particularly to Cocker Spaniels that have floppy ears.
Deafness in Dogs
Another very common complication of ear infection in dogs is deafness. Some dogs start with a minor case of infection on their ears. But because of the negligence of their owners, the dog’s poor hygiene, and unhealthy environments, the dog’s inner ear is damaged. Now when that happens, deafness occurs. Most dogs with hearing problems have suffered from ear infection at one point in their life. This is one complication of ear infection that is very hard to reverse.
Ulceration of Ear Canal in Dogs
When dogs suffer from acute cases of ear infection, ulceration of the cartilages of the ears is apparent. This condition isn’t common to dogs, unless they are involved in a fight. There could be lacerations in the conchal cartilages of the ear. This condition could also be the cause why dog deafness due to ear infections occurs.
Bacterial Meningitis in Dogs
In more rare cases, bacterial meningitis may develop in your pets. This occurs when bacteria finds an ascending path from the ear of the dog towards the brainstem region. Bacterial meningitis is characterized by the formation of abscess in the brain area. This condition is very hard to treat.
One of these many complications could be acquired by your pet if you’re not careful. Even so, you should still follow all the recommendations of your dog’s vet. So to ensure long, happy years with your pet, be sure to take care of it at all times.
Dog ear infection can be treated by antibiotics and should not be ignored. It takes from a few days to few weeks depending on the type of infection.
Thus dog’s ear infection should be properly taken care of and shouldn’t be ignored. Your dog is the part of your life, a part of your home and should be taken full care of.