Ear infections are common problems in dogs. They usually affect the auricle.(The principal projecting part of the ear)
The 4 main causes of infection are allergies, bacteria, yeast and mites. Symptoms include head shaking, scratching, head tilting, personality and behavioral changes, appetite loss, odor, discharge, pain, bleeding and swelling. The treatment of dog ear infections depends on the underlying cause.
Allergies, to food or inhaled substances, are the primary cause of persistent dog ear infections. In response to the allergy, the ear produces excessive wax which makes an ideal environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive.
Allergies can be difficult to control. They are diagnosed through skin testing, blood testing or allergy testing. These tests determine the allergens that cause infection in your dog. Once the allergen is known, your dog can be treated with allergy shots and by minimizing its contact with the allergen. Although costly and complicated, these tests and injections are more effective to finding the right treatment.
If the dog owner does not want these tests or injections, corticosteroids are prescribed for itchiness and inflammation. Allergy symptoms can be controlled with antihistamine and fatty acid supplements.
Bacteria and yeast infections
Ear infections in dogs can be caused by various types of bacteria and yeast. The healthy ear normally has a strong defense against these micro-organisms. In the event that the ear canal weakens or the ear environment changes due to allergies, injury, moisture and other causes, the defense mechanism is compromised and bacteria and yeast infections can occur.
This type of infection is diagnosed by examining swabs of the ear under a microscope for bacteria, yeast or any other infection. Normally, there is discharge and bad odor. The ear must always be cleaned before applying medications. Bacteria infections are treated with oral and/or topical antibiotics while yeast infections are treated with oral and/or anti fungal drugs.
Ear mite infections
Another common cause of ear infections in dogs is the mite. This parasite lives in the auditory canal and on the head of dogs. The infected dog suffers from intense itchiness and inflammation. Excessive scratching causes damage to the auricle and bleeding. As the auricle becomes injured, secondary infection from bacteria or yeast may occur and further exacerbates existing problems.
The vet can see mites by looking into the ear with an otoscope. The ear must be cleaned thoroughly before applying medication. Treatment is on a daily basis, for a week, and repeated when necessary, depending on the product used.
If you notice any of the symptoms of dog ear infections, consult your vet for proper medical diagnosis and treatment immediately. If left untreated, the infection on the auricle can spread to the middle and inner ear. Once the ear drum is affected, your dog may experience loss of hearing which is irreversible. There may be other complications that may arise.
Certain drug medications for treatment of dog ear infections can cause adverse side effects to your pet. Get a FREE copy of the "Natural Help For Dog Ear Infections" ebook to discover a home remedy for dog ear infection that's natural, safe and effective.
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