Can You Prevent Ear Infections In Dogs
As with most diseases, prevention is always best. Excess moisture is a common cause of ear infections, so be sure to thoroughly dry your dogs ears after swimming and bathing. If your dog is prone to chronic or recurrent ear infections, identifying and managing any underlying causes such as allergies can help prevent new infections from occurring.
Cleaning your dogs ears at home can also help prevent ear infections. Jeff Grognet, DVM, a columnist for AKC Family Dog, advises the following steps for ear cleaning: First, fill the canal with a dog ear cleaning solution and massage the vertical ear canal from the outside. Wipe out the canal with absorbent gauze. Dont use paper towels or cotton because these may leave fibers behind, and those could cause irritation. Cotton swabs may also be useful for cleaning your dogs pinnae but avoid using them in the ear canal, which may inadvertently push debris deeper into the canal.
Ear infections are a common and often recurrent problem in many dogs, but, with your veterinarians help, you can keep your dogs ears clean and comfortable. If your dog is showing signs of an ear infection, seek treatment right away to ensure the problem does not become serious.
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Things You Should Avoid When Cleaning Your Retrievers Ears
We have already shared tips on how you should clean your Golden Retrievers ears, but its also important that you learn what to avoid when you are cleaning your Retrievers ears.
- Never use vinegar to clean your dogs ears. Some people will suggest there is nothing wrong with using vinegar to clean an ear infection, but you shouldnt use it for your dog because its acidic and will cause irritation in the inner ear.
- You shouldnt use water as well since it allows bacteria to grow and cause the infection to spread.
How To Clean Your Dogs Ears
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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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Give a teaspoon per ten pounds of your dog’s weight.
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Using a dropper, rinse the affected eye or eyes, two or three times a day.
You can also apply a sterile cloth soaked in a tea made from the solution, and apply as a compress to your dog’s eyes, holding to the affected area for several minutes.
Compress material should be discarded after use.
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It is important to reiterate that pancreatitis is a serious condition, so home remedies shouldn’t be used in place of veterinary intervention. That said, some vets believe digestive enzyme supplements with pancreatin can help some dogs by reducing the work of the pancreas and inhibiting pancreatic secretion.
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Getting Your Puppy Used To Touch
However, the most important thing you should get your Golden Retriever used to is being touched by their owner anywhere on their body. Its important that your puppy is comfortable when you handle them and the best way to do this is by spending some time touching your puppys ears, feet, and mouth daily.
You can start by holding its paws in your hands and then gently running your fingers between its toes. He will probably resist by trying to take its foot out of your hand, but you shouldnt let go. Squeeze it gently and only let it go when it stops fighting with you.
Next, you should move towards the mouth, by lifting its lips gently to look at its teeth closely. If he tries to pull away again, you should give it another gentle squeeze and hold it tightly, until he stops resisting you.
You should then move to the ears by lifting and rubbing them gently with your fingers. You should touch the outer part and underside of the ears so that your puppy gets comfortable about its ears being examined. Increase the time you spend holding on to its ears, paws, and mouth gradually so that when you need to clean its ears later, you wont have any problems holding it down.
Prognosis For Dogs With Ear Infections
Ear infections are extremely common, but thankfully most of them are easily treated with topical medications. Within a few days, your dog will usually start to feel better and after 1-2 weeks, the infection is typically resolved. But some ear infections are more difficult to treat and resistant to certain medications. Additionally, if an ear infection is left untreated for a long enough period of time, it can cause severe inflammation, permanent damage to the eardrum, and impact your dog’s hearing. This, along with the fact that ear infections can be very painful, is why it’s important to get your dog prompt treatment for an ear infection.
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Will My Dogs Ear Infection Get Better On Its Own
Most cases of ear infections in dogs wont go away on their own. Any type of ear problem should be brought to the attention of your vet. Theres a need to evaluate the infection and integrity of the eardrum. Treating a ruptured eardrum can be quite complicated and will need professional attention. Some ear cleaning products and medications can also be toxic to a dogs middle ear.
Chronic ear infections will require time and the appropriate treatment regimen to clear up. Even if the symptoms appear to ease off after a week or two of medications, it is very important to follow the length of treatment time recommended by your vet. Stopping the medication too soon or if the underlying cause is not identified, may cause the ear infection to recur and this can significantly affect your dogs quality of life. It could also lead to total loss of hearing. Antibiotic resistance can also be an issue if the proper dosage and treatment duration are not followed.
Can A Dogs Ear Infection Go Away On Its Own
In most cases, a dogs ear infection will not go away on its own. Whats worse, if you wait too long to treat the ear infection, it can become much more difficult to get under control. An untreated ear infection can lead to chronic issues, hearing loss, and sometimes the need for expensive surgery.
An untreated outer ear infection can lead to a deeper infection within the middle and inner parts of the ear. This can cause nerve damage, which can even lead to eye ulcers. It can also cause your dog to develop a syndrome called vestibular disease, which makes them feel off balance, dizzy, nauseous, and have a head tilt.
When ear infections are left untreated long-term, your dog may develop whats called an aural or ear hematoma. This is when blood collects in your dogs ear flap, which will look like a lump. Its usually caused when your dog keeps scratching or shaking their head due to the ear infection. Aural hematomas usually require your dog to have ear surgery.
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Apply A Drying Solution
Some ear cleaning solutions come with a drying agent in them. Others, like the Vets Best Dog Ear Cleaner Kit mentioned above come with a separate drying solution. Regardless of which solution you choose, always make sure that it will effectively dry your pets ears.
Apply the drying solution to your pets ears. Follow the instructions on the bottle to determine how much you should use and how long it should be left in the ears.
After youve applied the solution, you should massage it around your goldens ear canal to make sure it is being distributed throughout the entire area.
Are Some Dogs More Susceptible To Inner Ear Infection
Dogs with long, heavy ears seem to be predisposed to chronic ear infections that can ultimately lead to otitis interna. Spaniel breeds, such as the Cocker Spaniel, and hound breeds, such as the Bloodhound and Basset Hound, are the most commonly affected breeds. Regardless of breed, any dog with a chronic ear infection that is difficult to control may develop otitis interna if the eardrum is damaged, as a damaged ear drum allows bacteria to migrate down into the inner ear.
“Dogs with long, heavy ears seem to be predisposed to chronic ear infections that ultimately lead to otitis interna.”
Excessively vigorous cleaning of an infected external ear canal can sometimes cause otitis interna. Some ear cleansers are irritating to the middle and inner ear and can cause signs of otitis interna if the eardrum is damaged and allows some of the solution to penetrate too deeply.
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Causes Of Ear Infections In Dogs
There is a long list of causes of ear infections in dogs. In many cases, an underlying problem compromises the normal protective barrier of the ears. Moisture in the ears also creates a favorable environment for bacteria and yeast to multiply and cause infection.
Some of the most common causes of ear infections in dogs include:
- Excessive moisture in the ear passages from bathing or swimming
- Foreign bodies, such as foxtails or grass awns, that get into the dogs ear
- Excessive or incorrect ear cleaning
Remedies And Treatments For Dog Ear Infections
Up to 16.5% of dogs will experience at least otitis externa, and complications may involve further development into more serious dog ear infections. Fortunately, there are straightforward steps you can take to alleviate symptoms and minimize the severity of such infections in your dog.
Once your vet has determined the severity and type of ear infection your dog is experiencing, they will clean your dogs ear thoroughly to remove debris, discharge, and ear wax. They may use a medicated ear cleaner or apply a topical medication.
In more severe cases, the vet may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or oral antibiotics for your pet.
Your vet will likely prescribe a topical medication to your dog. It is important for you to carefully follow your veterinarians exact directives and instructions. You may make the application process easier by:
- Keeping your dog relaxed with affection and treats.
- Relying on a partner’s help to hold and comfort your pet while you apply medication to the ear.
- Ensuring that you place the applicator safely outside of the dogs ear when dispensing medication.
- Gently massaging the medication into the affected area.
Always finish the full course of the medication, even if your pet seems to be feeling better. Lapses or errors in treatment can prolong your pups illness.
Maintenance and Prevention
Managing your dogs hygiene is an effective way to prevent future ear infections. Clean your dogs ears by:
What To Expect At The Vet When Your Dog Has An Ear Infection
At the veterinary clinic, your pet will undergo a complete physical exam. A thorough history will also be taken by your vet. Be prepared to answer important questions that may include the following:
- How long the symptoms have been occurring
- If your dog has frequent allergies
- If your dog has been diagnosed with certain medical conditions
- If your dog has a history of ear infection
- Medications that your dog may be taking
- Your dogs diet
- How often do you clean your dogs ears and what products are you using
- If you pluck or trim your dogs ears and how often
- Recent activities that your dog has engaged in such as swimming, grooming, baths, etc.
A special instrument known as an otoscope is used to examine the inner parts of the ear canal. Depending on the findings of your vet, there may be a need for additional tests or procedures to be performed to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. These may include the following:
- Getting samples from inside the ear for microscopic exam and for culture to identify which pathogens are present – yeast, bacteria, etc.
- Blood tests can help rule out medical conditions, such as endocrine disorders, autoimmune diseases, and other underlying issues.
- In severe or chronic cases, biopsies or x-rays may be indicated.
Symptoms Of Labrador Retriever Ear Infections And How To Treat Them
Ear infection is inflammation in the outer ear canal. Because the skin is inflamed, the ear canal narrows. This makes it difficult for the wax to drain and can make the inflammation worse.
Today we talk about diagnosing and treating Labrador Retriever ear infections.
Lop-eared breeds are more susceptible to this than those with upright ears. This is because little air can get to the hanging ears. The inside of the ears gets warm and moist more quickly, creating the ultimate breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and mites. In addition, there is a breed susceptibility to ear infections. Examples of dog breeds that are more likely to suffer from it are the Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, the German Shepherd, and the Labrador Retriever.
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Signs Your Golden Retriever Is Suffering From An Ear Infection
On the grass, a Golden Retriever puppy is rolling around.According to dogs WebMD, ear infections are one of the most common dog health issues. They can develop quickly and cause a lot of pain for your dog, so they should not be ignored. Here are some warning indicators to keep an eye out for:
- Touch irritates the ears.
- There is a foul odor.
- Theyre bloated and red.
- Scratching at the ears on a regular basis.
- Your dog rubs his ears on the carpet, the ground, or the furniture.
- A yellow or brownish-black discharge is seen.
- Because of the inflammation, the ears are hot to the touch.
- In the ears, there occurs crusting or scabs.
What Causes Golden Retriever Ear Infections?
There are a few possible causes for your Golden Retrievers ear infection:
Diagnosing Ear Infections In Dogs
If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, your veterinarian will use a special tool called an otoscope to look inside the ear and then swab the ear canal to obtain a sample of the ear debris. The otoscope will help them visualize the ear canal and look for any abnormalities like growths or a ruptured eardrum. The debris collected on the swab will then be used to perform a cytology, a test that uses special stains and a microscope to determine if yeast or bacteria are present. If the type of bacteria that are present needs to be known, another test called an ear culture with sensitivity will be performed. Different types of bacteria and yeast require different types of treatment so ear cultures help determine what type of bacteria is present and which medication your veterinarian needs to prescribe.