Got a dog? Here is information about the symptoms of ear infection, the treatment for it, and other helpful tips for keeping a dog healthy.
How does a dog’s ear get affected?
The dog’s ear canal has a vertical and a horizontal component. This predisposes the dog to ear infections as debris must work its way upward rather than straight out.
Disease of the ear usually stems from over-production of wax as occurs in response to irritation. Allergic skin disease affecting the ears is one possible cause (especially in recurring cases); other causes of ear infections include ear mites, foreign bodies (such as grass awns or fox tails), or hair growth deep in the canal (common in poodles and schnauzers especially). The moisture of the wax promotes bacterial growth and infection. Soon wax in ears is joined by pus.
One thing of concern in dogs that are professionally groomed is the practice of plucking the hairs out of the dog’s ear. The serum which then comes out of their pores is an excellent breeding ground for bacteria, which is a common cause of ear infection. Vets generally don’t recommend you allow your dog’s ears to be plucked unless their is a good medical reason to do so. An example of a good medical reason is if there is a large mat of hair that is blocking air flow.
If the mats of hair are in the ear canal, they should be removed by a vet only. If they’re not, first soak the hair in a coat conditioner for a few minutes to soften it. Then, with your fingers, separate as much of the mat as possible.
You may be able to untangle the rest of the mat with a comb, but more likely you’ll need scissors or a mat splitter. Be very careful if you’re using scissors. Using a comb, position it under the mat to protect the skin. Hold the scissors at right angles to the comb, and cut into the matted fur in narrow strips. Very gently, tease the mat out, and then comb out any snarls that are left. Regular grooming, with the right tools, will avoid mats forming in the first place.
Dogs show discomfort around their ears by scratching, rubbing their ears on the floor or furniture, or by shaking the head. If the infection reaches the middle ear, affected animals may have a head tilt, a lack of balance, and unusual eye movements.
Infections – Aural Hematoma
When a dog with uncomfortable ears shakes and scratches vigorously, a blood vessel in the ear flap may rupture. This leads to bleeding into the tissues of the pinna . The usual recommendation is to have the blood clots removed and the ear bandaged and cleaned under anesthesia. If the hematoma is not so big as to occlude the ear canal (thus preventing medication), the option to forgo surgery exists; but without surgery, the ear may scar down into an abnormal appearance.
Published in: Pets