Ear infections in Dogs
Infection is the invasion of pathogenic microbes in living bodies. In dogs, Ears are one of the most susceptible body parts to get infected. Dogs have two intense senses; hearing and smelling, with the help of these two majorly, they navigate their life activities. Dog’s Ears,being the vital organ, are very sensitive and consist of these parts:
• Outer ear (pinna)
• Middle ear
• Inner ear
Dogs show various visible symptoms especially in the later stage of infection. These symptoms indicate the severity of infection.
If you find your dog;
• scratching ears excessively and rubbing them on floor, furniture, etc
• Very unpleasant odor coming from the ears
• Ears may start to bleed in case of severe infection or black or brownish fluid may start coming from ears
• The pinna may swell and lose outer hair and the skin becomes very dry and crusted
• In later stage of infection, your Dog may lose balance, leading to hearing impairment and unusual eye movement
These symptoms indicate that now you should take your dog to a veterinarian.
Dogs have many more ear problems than other pets. The infections can be of various types depending upon the dog’s breed, medical history (any allergies) and inhabiting environment (whether it’s clean or not).
For example, The dog breeds that have more hair growth in or around the ear canal are more prone to infections. Excessive hair at the opening of ear canal reduces the air flow and unnecessary hair inside the ear canal can entrap small particles like pollens, dust etc. Thus debris including dust particles, pollens, and waxes starts accumulating in the canal. This stops effective air flow that is significant for sustaining ear health. And this debris serve as a food source for microbes as well, that later on cause infection.
One of the other causes of ear infection includes moist ear canal due to bathing, swimming and grooming. The moist surface enhances and facilitates pathogenic growth in the canal and result in infection.
Dogs that have specific allergies either environmental, like from pollens, plants, weeds, mites and molds or food related (corn, meat, soy etc) are more inclined to infections. The inflammations caused by these allergies facilitate the growth of microorganisms that usually inhabit the skin but don’t cause any infection. These kinds of ear infections are considered as part of the allergy.
There are 3 key points, to help prevent ear infections in your dogs; Alertness, concern and common sense.
Treatment needs to know the original cause of the ear infection. So, veterinarians take a sample of the fluid from ear and do microscopic examination and culture studies. Then accordingly they give medication for the infection.
The routine cleaning of ears prevent the onset of potential infections. The cleaning procedure includes following supplies:
• Ear cleansing solutions (mild and recommended)
• Cotton balls
• Tweezers or similar tool to tweeze the unwanted hair
Tweezing hair is a good step, but dogs usually don’t tolerate it, so going to your vet would be a better option to get rid of excessive unwanted hair that causes infections. Veterinarians usually use mild anesthetics to clean the infected ears properly and pluck the unwanted hair.
Moist ear canal is also a reason of infections so drying the ears after cleaning, bathing or grooming is an essential step.
1) Q tips should not be preferably used for cleaning, as they may push debris deeper into the ear and rupture the ear drum.
2) Avoid using alcoholic or other strong and harsh solutions for cleaning as these kind of solutions can cause irritation and swelling in the infected ear canal.
3) Cleaing should be done in a proper balance and without excess. This can make the ear drum weak and easy to rupture.