Why Won’t My Dog’s Ear Infection Go Away?
Ear infections are much more complicated than many people assume. Regular ear cleaning can prevent many ear infections but there are a lot of difference causes of ear infections.
Some of the symptoms of ear infections in dogs include the following:
• Bad odor
• Scratching and rubbing the ears and head
• Discharge in the ears
• Redness or swelling of the ear flap or ear canal
• Shaking of the head or tilting it to one side
• Pain around the ears
• Changes in your dog’s behavior such as depression or irritability
If you notice some of these signs in your dog your dog probably has some kind of ear infection but it may be harder to determine the cause of the infection.
Some of the causes of ear infections include:
- Allergies such as food allergies
- Parasites such as ear mites
- Bacterial or yeast infections
- Foreign bodies in the ear
- Trauma or injury
- The ear’s “environment” — too much moisture in the ear or the internal shape of the ear
In most of these cases regular ear cleaning can help you detect a problem early or prevent it from progressing. For instance, regular ear cleaning can show you a foreign object in the ear. Cleaning the ears regularly will also discourage ear mites.
Some of these infections are interrelated. For instance, if your dog has hypothyroidism then it may lead to food allergies which can, in turn, lead to an excess of yeast produced on parts of your dog’s skin, including his ears. When your dog has a systemic problem like hypothyroidism it can make curing an ear infection very difficult.
Even if your dog has “just” a simple bacterial ear infection, it’s possible for a yeast infection to take over as a secondary infection. Yeast infections can be much harder to treat making it difficult to get rid of the infection.
If your dog has an ear infection you should take him to your veterinarian. He or she can examine the ear and determine the cause of the infection. The vet can check the ear for foreign bodies and parasites and take swabs to see what kind of infection is present. He or she will look for bacteria, yeast and mites. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections, or to prevent secondary infections from setting in. An antifungal will be needed for a yeast infection. Your vet may also prescribe something to reduce inflammation. Other treatment measures will depend on what your vet finds.
Cleaning your dog’s ears weekly will help prevent future ear infections. Apply a good ear cleaner to your dog’s ears and massage the base of the ear for 20-30 seconds to help soften and release any debris inside the ear. Then wipe out the debris and any extra liquid with a cotton ball. Repeat with the ear cleaner and the cotton ball until there is no more debris to remove. Then gently dry your dog’s ear. Let him shake his head if he wants. You may need to clean your dog’s ears twice a day at first to get them clean. Follow your vet’s instructions. After your dog’s ears are clean you can continue by applying any medication your vet has given you.
Until next time…..