For a concerned pet owner, there’s almost nothing more worrying than knowing that your dog may have an ear infection. Unfortunately, ear infections are one of those health concerns that many pet owners have come to recognise, especially if you have a dog with floppy ears who may be prone to them. Fortunately, there are things you can do to recognise an ear infection and to help treat it to keep your pooch as comfortable as possible.
What is an ear infection?
Ear infections can be common in dogs due to the shape of their ear canals. There are three possible types of ear infection that can affect your dog. These infections can include otitis externa, otitis media and otitis interna. Otitis externa is the most common type of ear infection. It involves inflammation affecting the outer layer of cells that line the external portion of the ear canal.
Otitis externa is often the first sign of an ear infection affecting your dog. If the infection goes untreated, it can spread into the middle and inner ear canal, which can progress to otitis media or interna, respectively.
It’s important to get your pup treatment before it spreads to their inner ear canal.
What are the obvious signs or symptoms of an ear infection?
Some of the first telltale signs of a developing ear infection to be on the lookout for are whining, scratching at the ear and excessive shaking of the head. Symptoms of an ear infection can also include:
- Crusting or scabs in the ear
- Obvious pain
- A dark discharge
- Redness or swelling of the ear canal
What are some treatment options you can do at home?
There are some at-home options for you to consider if it is just a mild ear infection. In the first instance, you can use a diluted apple cider vinegar solution to clean your dog’s ears. Apple cider vinegar helps by acting as a cleanser and an anti-fungal and antibacterial agent. Dabbing this into your dog’s ears sparingly can help to clean out the inside of their ears and treat the infection.
When should you bring your pooch to the vet?
If your at-home treatments aren’t working and your dog continues to suffer from an ongoing ear infection, it’s time to bring them to the vet to be seen by a professional. Ideally, you want to start medical treatment for them before the infection moves into the inner ear canal. Generally, your vet will thoroughly clean the inside of your dog’s ears and will often prescribe medication to help fight off the infection. This may include a topical ointment or even antibiotics in severe cases.
If the treatment is successful, the infection should clear up in 1 to 2 weeks.
If you believe that your dog may be suffering from an ear infection, it’s important to get them treatment as soon as you can. Ear infections can be incredibly painful and uncomfortable for your dog. If you are worried that they may have an infection, give our veterinary clinic in Coffs Harbour a call on (02) 6651 2477 and we’ll give your dog the care and attention it deserves.