Ear Infections in Dogs: Symptoms & Treatment

Ear infections are quite common in dogs, especially if they have long, floppy ears or like to swim. Most ear infections are easy to treat if caught early. Today, our South Wilton vets discuss common symptoms of ear infections in dogs and what to do if your pup has an infection. 

Ear Infections In Dogs

Unfortunately, dogs are particularly susceptible to ear infections, especially if your dog has long floppy ears or regularly goes swimming. Due to the shape of their ear canals, it is easy for moisture to become trapped in the ear canal which creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. 

Dogs can experience three types of ear infections, known as otitis externa, media, and interna. The most common is otitis externa, or an outer ear infection, which happens when there is inflammation in the outer ear canal. Otitis media and interna refer to infections of the middle and inner ear canal, respectively. Middle and inner ear infections in dogs often result from the spread of infection from the external ear.

Middle and inner ear infections can be very serious and can result in deafness, a loss of coordination and balance, and in severe cases, facial paralysis.

If you notice any signs of an ear infection, it is important to take your pup to the vet right away!

Causes of Ear Infections

Bacterial ear infections in dogs are common due to the ear canal shape issue mentioned above. However, there can be other causes of ear infections in dogs such as yeast, fungus, ear mites, tumors, or polyps. 

Physical trauma or objects lodged in the ear can also cause an infection in your pup's ear.

Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs

If your pup is suffering from an ear infection, chances are they are uncomfortable or in pain. If your dog displays any of the symptoms below, it is time for a trip to the vet.  

Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing and reduce the chances of complications.

Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:

  • Pawing or rubbing at the ear
  • Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
  • Odor in the ear
  • Redness inside of the ear
  • Head shaking
  • Tilting head
  • Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
  • Swelling of the ear

Severe ear infections in dogs may cause more serious symptoms, such as:

  • Indications of hearing loss
  • Loss coordination or balance
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Walking in circles

How Dog Ear Infections are Treated

If your dog is diagnosed with an ear infection, treatment typically begins by the vet applying a medicated cleanser and prescribing your dog the appropriate antibiotic or other anti-inflammatory medication. Your vet may also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home. 

Mild infections that are caught early typically clear up in a week or two. If your dog's ear infection is more severe or caused by an underlying health condition, treatment may be more challenging and the infection may take longer to resolve. Unfortunately, it is common for severe cases to lead to chronic ear infections in dogs.

It is important that you follow your vet's instructions carefully and finish any recommended treatments. Not finishing prescriptions can lead to a recurring infection that becomes increasingly difficult to treat. 

Follow-up appointments with your vet are highly recommended to ensure the treatment has worked and the infection has completely cleared. Your vet will be able to ensure there are no lingering signs of infection that require further treatment. 

Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs

To help prevent your pup from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your pet's ears clean and dry.

Speak to your primary care veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears every week, and always dry your dog's ears whenever they come out of the water.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your dog is suffering from an ear infection? Contact our South Wilton Veterinary Group vets today to make an appointment.

Golden lab dog lays on vet table while a vet examines their earLooking for advice on how to help your dog with an ear infection in South Wilton?

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