Causes Of Ear Infections In Dogs: The Three Ps
Ear disease is merely a symptom that your dogs body is dealing with another problem there is always a reason why an ear infection develops! The challenge is to ferret out what, exactly, is the underlying cause. Start by looking at the three Ps: Primary, Predisposing, and Perpetuating causes. 1. Primary causes lead directly to inflammation of the ear and include:
- Environmental allergies or adverse food reactions these account for a whopping 97 percent of primary causes!
- Parasitic disease such as mites. Mites create a dark discharge, but so does yeast. If your vet doesnt run a cytology, the conditions can be easily confused. In fact, mites are frequently over-diagnosed, and are less of an issue than we might think.
- Foreign bodies such as foxtails or other grass awn.
- Keratinization disorders. These are conditions that affect the skins surface appearance and may involve abnormalities in skin cell production, glandular production, and skin cell breakdown. Seborrhea, for example, produces excess sebum and build-up of skin cells. Though seborrhea is more common in certain breeds , on the whole, primary keratinization defects are uncommon.
- Autoimmune disease, such as pemphigus. A biopsy must be performed to diagnose autoimmune disease.
- Growths or polyps from glandular tumors such as adenoma and carcinoma.
2. Predisposing factors in your dog that make her more susceptible to ear disease include:
Golden Retrievers And Ear Infections
Golden retrievers are quite lovable, especially due to their cheerful temperament, and appealing appearance retrievers due to the structure of their ears unfortunately prone to ear infections.
If you have a golden retriever and you suspect your dog might have an ear infection, you need all the information you can get. Fortunately, we will be providing with you with all of that in this article.
Golden retrievers are often bred as service dogs and as seeing-eye dogs for assisting the visually impaired. The golden retrievers’ ears are very sensitive, and they have an acute hearing this is why some people breed them as hearing service dogs.
When caring for your golden retriever, paying close attention to their ears is a very good idea.
Your dog’s ears, apart from providing the sense of hearing, also contribute to the dogs’ sense of balance as in all mammals. Even if you do not need your dogs are cute hearing abilities, the ears are still very important for their other functions hence, you need to care for them properly.
Because of the shape of the golden retrievers’ ears, it is really prone to ear infections. This is a general condition for dogs with heavy hanging or drooping ears. Because the golden retriever has drooping ears and a combination of really thick fur this breed is even more susceptible to ear infections.
Get Your Dog In Position
Youll be filling your dogs ear with liquid, so youll need to get them in a position where you can control their head and keep them from shaking it out too early.
Plus, most dogs dont exactly love getting their ears cleaned, so you might also need to put them in a spot where they cant run away before youre done.
Here are two options:
Another option is to have a partner hold your pup while youre cleaning their ears, which is a lot easier.
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What Causes Ear Infections In Dogs And Puppies
Many things can cause ear infections in dogs and puppies. Often, an underlying problem leads to the inability of the normal protective barrier of a dogs ear to work properly. Once the ear environment becomes moist or inflamed, it is easy for bacteria or yeast to overgrow and cause infection.
Here are some common causes for a dogs ear to become infected:
Foreign bodies that get into the ear
Endocrine issues such as hypothyroidism
Certain types of cancer
Trauma to the ear
All of these problems can make the ear canal susceptible to bacterial infection and/or yeast infection. When a dog is in pain and scratching and shaking excessively, an aural hematoma can develop as well. This is seen in the pinna or earflap, where ruptured blood vessels leak blood that clots and causes swelling and pain.
What Causes Ear Infections In Dogs
The canine ear canal is more vertical than that of a human, forming an L-shape that tends to hold in fluid. This makes dogs more prone to ear infections. Ear infections are typically caused by bacteria, yeast, or a combination of both. In puppies, ear mites can also be a source of infection.
Factors that may predispose your dog to ear infections include:
- Moisture, which can create a prime growing environment for bacteria and yeast
- Allergies, which lead to ear disease in about 50 percent of dogs with allergic skin disease and 80 percent of dogs with food sensitivities
- Endocrine disorders, such as thyroid disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Injury to the ear canal
- Excessive cleaning
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How To Diagnose Allergies In Golden Retrievers
Allergies in golden retrievers can be difficult to diagnose on your own. Since allergic reactions can gradually become more severe in some cases, such as with food allergies, its important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Allergic reactions, such as itching and scratching, can also lead to secondary skin infections or other health issues in golden retrievers. Your vet can help you determine what might be causing allergic reactions in your dog and recommend treatment.
Diagnostic tests that can be done to diagnose allergies in golden retrievers include saliva tests, blood tests and skin allergen tests. However, your vet might recommend an elimination diet if your dog has symptoms of a food allergy. During an elimination diet, you will need to have your Golden Retriever eat one kind of dog food for up to 12 weeks.
Feeding your dog a hypoallergenic food, such as Jiminys Cricket Crave, can provide plenty of nutrition while reducing the risk of allergic reactions. Your dogs symptoms should ease up during the elimination diet. When this diet is done, you can choose to keep giving your dog the same food you used during the elimination diet.
Elimination diets can help you figure out which ingredients might be causing Golden Retriever allergies. However, determining other allergy triggers can be difficult. When you and your vet are unable to identify specific allergens, allergy treatment focuses on managing and easing symptoms instead.
Is Your Dog Shaking Their Head
Please remember this information does not replace proper vet care.
Holistic veterinarian Stacey Hershman, of Nyack, New York, took an interest in ear infections when she became a veterinary technician in her teens. This is a subject that isnt covered much in vet school, she says. I learned about treating ear infections from the veterinarians I worked with over the years. Because they all had different techniques, I saw dozens of different treatments, and I kept track of what worked and what didnt.
Dr. Hershmans healthy ears program starts with maintenance cleaning with ordinary cotton balls and cotton swabs. This makes a lot of people nervous, she says, but the canine ear canal isnt straight like the canal in our ears. Assuming youre reasonably gentle, you cant puncture the ear drum or do any structural damage.
Moisten the ear with green tea brewed as for drinking and cooled to room temperature, or use an acidic ear cleanser that does not contain alcohol. Dr. Hershman likes green tea for its mildness and its acidifying, antibacterial properties, but she also recommends peach-scented Derma- Pet MalAcetic Otic Ear Cleanser or Halo Natural Herbal Ear Wash.
If excessive discharge requires the use of five or more Q-tips, or if the discharge is thick, black, or malodorous, Dr. Hershman recommends an ear flush.
For more on diagnosing and treating ear infections, purchase Ear Infections by Whole Dog Journal.
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Reduce Your Dogs Exposure To Allergens
Environmental conditions also play an important role in triggering canine allergies. Your responsibility as a pet owner is to minimize your dogs exposure to these allergens as much as possible.
Eliminate dust or mold levels at home
Mold and dust are naturally-occurring allergens. Once you have identified that your Golden Retriever is allergic to them, reduce the humidity in the air by using dehumidifiers. Make sure to always clean your humidifiers according to the labels instructions, so it will work more effectively.
You can also reduce mold exposure by not putting houseplants. If this is something you cant resist, just remember to put activated charcoal on the soil of the potted plants to prevent the development of molds.
Lessen your dogs time outside
Your Golden Retriever loves to play outside. That is their nature. However, you also need him to get less exposure to environmental allergens and pollens that may trigger canine allergies. Let them stay inside the house during pollen season. If they have to be outside, wipe off his fur or skin with a wet cloth to remove any pollen or dust.
Since These Symptoms Are Similar And Usually Mean An Infection Why Can’t I Just Get Some Ear Medication
There are several kinds of bacteria and at least one type of fungus that commonly cause ear infections. Without knowing the specific kind of infection present, it is not possible to know which medication to use. In some cases, the problem is a foreign body, a polyp, or a tumor. Treatment with medication alone will not resolve these problems. It is important that your dog be examined to ensure that the eardrum is intact. Administration of certain medications can result in loss of hearing if the eardrum is ruptured. This can only be detected by a thorough ear examination by your veterinarian.
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The Importance Of Bathing
A nice, regular bathing will not only give your Golden Retriever an adorable look, but it also removes allergens that might have settled on his fur or coat.
Give them a regular bath
Bathing your Fido once a week or every other week can make him feel less itchy and more comfortable. Refrain from bathing them more than once a week as this could strip off the essential oil on their skin, making it dry and susceptible to skin damage. If recommended by your vet, you can put a topical anti-inflammatory product on the itchy parts or spots. Take note of any lesions as these are very sensitive to touch.
Apply conditioner or medicated shampoo
A medicated, pet-specific shampoo can help treat skin lesions because of its antifungal or antimicrobial effects. It also contains essential fatty acids to keep your Golden Retrievers skin from drying out. On the other hand, a conditioner after bathing serves as a barrier to avoid allergens from contacting your Fidos skin and fur. It is important to apply a pet-safe conditioner only. But, like any other pet products, make sure to use it according to the products instructions and with the recommendation of your vet.
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Symptoms Of Golden Retriever Ear Mites Infestations
Golden Retriever ear mites infestation generally varies based on its severity. Perhaps, the symptoms get worse if the Golden Retriever scratches and shakes its head continuously. So, in order to prevent the possible occurrence of new wounds and potential infections, seek for vets professional advice if you find any signs. Below are some of the remarkable indications of the infestation of Golden Retriever ear mites.
Basically, this is the primary indication of the presence of small parasites on the Golden Retriever. The dog tends to scratch the head or shake it and rub the ears.
The discharge caused by the ear beggars on dogs appears like coffee grounds which is dark, reddish-brown in color. This is because of the obstruction of the dogs ear making the blood blocked and dried.
Because of continuous scratching, development of cuts and ear infection will eventually occur. Basically, the cut that may lead to infection is the most common indication of this small parasites infestation.
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How To Get Rid Of A Yeast Infection In Dog’s Ear
Ear infections are uncomfortable and itchy for dogs, not only that, they can become painful if the infection is left untreated and becomes more severe.
If you think that your dog may have a yeast infection in one or both ears it’s time to head to the vet. Your veterinarian can determine the cause of your pup’s ear infection and recommend the best treatment. During your dog’s appointment, your vet will likely give your dog’s ears a good cleaning to get treatment started off right.
The best treatment for your dog’s yeast ear infection will depend upon the underlying cause and may include:
- Regularly cleaning your pup’s ears at-home with a medicated cleanser
- Topical medications
- Anti-inflammatory medications
Deal With Food Allergies
Dogs, like humans, are also allergic to some foods. Thus, it is important to know how to deal with food allergies for your Golden Retriever.
The process of elimination
As one of the very common sources of allergies in your Golden Retriever, you should find which food causes an allergic reaction to your dog. However, it is quite challenging to identify which is which. If you are not really sure which food is the culprit, it is helpful to follow the process-of-elimination method. Remove them one by one until it becomes obvious which dog treats or foods trigger the allergic reaction.
Chelsea from Pups & Paws recommends starting with removing grains by switching to a grain-free formula, then testing what protein source do and dont work for your pup. One of these options is sure to please even the pickiest golden!
Also, make sure youre not feeding your dog with foods that are bad for dogs.
Changing your Fidos diet
Once you figured out the food that causes allergy to your dog, the next step is to consult your vet for diet modification. Golden Retriever with allergy follows a very strict prescription diet to eradicate possible allergen until your Fido becomes symptom-free. In most cases, healthy fats and omega-3 can help in treating skin discomfort and allergies.
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How To Treat Ear Infections In Golden Retrievers
Although ear infections are common in Golden Retrievers, the good news is that they are easily treated.
Your vet will treat your Golden Retrievers ear infection by doing an exam to discover the cause or type of infection, and then prescribing ear drops that will help the infection resolve in about one or two weeks.
Severe infections may take longer to heal, and other treatments include oral antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, or even surgery.
This is why its important to reach out to your vet as soon as you notice symptoms.
and heres a big mistake that some dog owners make: stopping the medicine when the symptoms go away, instead of finishing the entire prescription.
This can prolong the infection or cause it to come back.
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Preventing Dog Ear Infections
If your dog has recurring ear infections, speak with your veterinarian about developing a long-term plan that takes into account their history and lifestyle. For most pups, basic prevention includes checking the ears regularly for debris and wax buildup.
Always keep your pals ears dry and well ventilated, taking extra care after bathing or swimming. Your veterinarian can prescribe an ear-cleaning solution with a special drying agent if needed, but make sure you never apply with Q-tips cotton-tipped applicators can damage your dogs ears.
Grooming can also be a helpful preventative measure, taking special care to trim excess ear hair, but always ask your veterinarian for a demo first or take your pal to a professional groomer. And of course, scheduling an annual check-up is an important step in prevention.
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Golden Retriever Ear Infection Symptoms
Here are some common symptoms your Golden Retriever might display if they have an ear infection:
- Injury to the ear canal
- Excessive cleaning
The first part of all dogs ear canals are vertical, and the second part is horizontal.
Its similar to an L shape, which makes it easy for moisture and debris to get trapped in their ears.
But Goldens are particularly susceptible because:
- They love swimming
- Allergies are a common health problem for many Goldens
- And their ears are floppy and hairy, which traps even more moisture and debris in there
Now that you know what causes ear infections in Goldens, heres how you can prevent them
Your Guide To Golden Retriever Allergies
Dogs can develop allergies that cause a wide range of symptoms, depending on which parts of their body are affected. Some breeds, such as golden retrievers, have a higher likelihood of having allergies than others.
Allergies are fairly common in dogs overall, with one in ten dogs developing them at some point during their life.
Golden retrievers have an increased chance of having certain kinds of allergies compared to other dog breeds. Knowing more about allergies in golden retrievers can help pet owners better understand why this happens, what symptoms to look for and what kinds of treatments are available.
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How To Clean The Ear Of Your Golden Retriever
Since the narrow ear space promotes the growth of microbes due to debris trapped in-ear. Thus, dog breeds with droopy-ear like Golden Retriever need regular cleaning of the ear. And, you will need few basic materials to make the cleaning process easy and effective. They include:
- Damp cotton wool pads
- Clean towel
After you ensure that you have all the equipment, use these steps for cleaning the ears of your Golden Retriever.
- Make your pet comfortable and lift his ear carefully to observe the ear.
- Check for redness, swelling, and smelly discharge. It is normal to have a small amount of light-colored wax. But if the ear has a large amount of wax, you must be attentive. It may be the first sign of infection.
- Clean the area around the ear with damp cotton wool and gently wipe the dirt and excess wax.
- Use the dog-based ear cleaner cautiously.
- Massage the base of your Retriever ear after inserting the cleaner.
- Use ear drops if your Vet has recommended ear drops, put them carefully.
- Repeat all these processes in the other ear.
Do you follow these steps while cleaning the ear of your pet?
If you havent yet. Then, follow the steps and share your results.