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Canine ear infections are one of the most common reason for a dog to be brought to the vet. At Apple Valley Veterinarians Your Veterinarian in Southington, Hartford County, Connecticut, we treat lots of dogs with ear infections. The process is usually fairly simple, but it is very important to get proper veterinary care right away.
It is usually relatively easy to tell when your dog has an ear infection. Some of the most common symptoms are when the ear is itchy or painful, including scratching, pawing and whining. Infected ears may also have a bad odor, be red or swollen, or have a discharge.
Ear infections are caused by a bacterial or fungal buildup in the ears. Viruses may also cause ear infections secondarily. The reasons that bacteria or fungi build up in the ears can be numerous. Allergies may cause your dog to have inflammation in the ears, which can allow bacteria to gain a foothold. Moisture from any source that is trapped in the ear can allow bacteria to flourish. Another illness may weaken the immune system and allow bacteria to grow in the ears.
Dogs with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections. Those with very long, floppy ears and those with long hair on their floppy ears are most prone to these infections because their ears hold moisture in and do not have very good air circulation. This is why ear infections are common in some breeds such as basset hounds and cocker spaniels. But they can occur in any dog.
Proper veterinary care is extremely important in ear infections. Left untreated, ear infections can spread into the inner ear and cause deafness. Extreme cases can even cause nerve damage. Treatment for canine ear infections usually involves antibiotics and/or antifungal drugs, which may be used in combination with an ear wash. The antibiotics may be systemic or topical.
In order to determine the proper treatment, your vet will inspect your dog's ears and may take samples for analysis. They will clean out your dog's ears and give you instructions on continuing care, as well as when to schedule a recheck. Ear infections can come back even after they look resolved if you stop treatment too early, so listen to your veterinarian and follow their instructions to the letter.
Some ear infections can be prevented and others cannot. If your dog has allergies, working with your vet to treat the allergies may reduce the risk of ear infection. Regularly cleaning your dog's ears according to your vet's directions may help. At your regular pet wellness exam, ask your veterinarian to demonstrate how to keep your dog's ears clean.
If you have any question that your dog might have an ear infection, call us today to schedule an appointment. If you are wondering about preventing ear infections, we will gladly schedule an appointment at our veterinary clinic to go over the topic with you. Regular pet wellness exams contribute to overall good health, including ear health. Call Apple Valley Veterinarians today at 860-628-9635.