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Recognizing & Treating Ear Infection in Dogs

Ear infections are common ailments for dogs. If diagnosed early, most canine ear infections are easily treatable. In this post, our St. Louis vets list a few signs that your pup may have an ear infection and what to do if your dog has one.

Your Dog's Ears

The shape of a canine's ear is more susceptible to ear infections than a. human's. If your pooch spends a lot of time in water or has floppy ears, these health problems can easily develop into common, recurring issues. 

If moisture becomes trapped anywhere in your dog's ears, this creates an ideal environment for bacterial ear infections to develop in your dog. 

By spending a little extra time caring for your pooch's ears, you can help prevent your dog from developing an ear infection. If your canine companion does get an infection, there's a good chance it can be cleared up quickly and easily. 

Left untreated, ear infections in dogs can quickly progress and lead to symptoms such as vestibular (balance) and coordination issues, pain, and facial paralysis in severe cases. 

Causes of Dog Ear Infections

Bacteria is frequently the cause of ear infections in dogs. However, fungus, yeast, and ear mites are also common causes of this condition. some other causes of ear infections in your four-legged friend may range from polyps to physical trauma and foreign objects becoming lodged in the ear. 

there are three types of ear infections that can occur in dogs, depending on where in the ear the infection has happened:

  • Otitis (internal is an infection of your dog's inner ear (inner ear infections in dogs)
  • Otitis media is an infection in a dog's middle ear (middle ear infections in dogs)
  • Otitis externa infections occur on the outside of the ear (outer ear infections in dogs)

Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs

Ear infections can become very painful for a dog. If your pooch is showing signs of an ear infection like the ones listed below, contact your veterinarian right away to schedule an exam for your four-legged friend. 

Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more serious symptoms from developing and reduce the risk of complications. 

If your canine companion is suffering from an ear infection, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pawing or rubbing at the ear
  • Tilting head
  • Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
  • Odor in the ear
  • Redness inside the ear
  • Swelling inside the ear
  • Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
  • Head shaking

Severe ear infections in dogs may lead to other symptoms, such as:

  • Signs of hearing loss
  • Walking in circles
  • Loss of balance or coordination 
  • Unusual eye movements 

Treatment for Ear Infections in Dogs

If your dog is diagnosed with an ear infection, our vets will take time to clean out your dog's ears with a medical cleanser and prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications that will be appropriate for treating the kind of ear infection your pup has. Your pet may also be prescribed a topical medication and given instructions on how to apply it to your pup's ears at home. 

With treatment in the early stages, an uncomplicated ear infection will typically clear up within just a week or two. If your dog's ear infection is more severe or is caused by an underlying health condition, treatment may be more challenging and may take months to resolve. In many cases, more severe cases result in chronic ear infections in dogs, repeated ear infections over the course of the pet's lifetime, or a visit to a veterinarian for emergency medical care.

Make sure you are careful in following your veterinarian's instructions to clear up your dog's ear infection as quickly as possible. Not finishing your pup's prescription or ceasing treatment before the infection is totally cleared can cause recurring infections that will be increasingly difficult to treat. 

Follow-up appointments with your vet are highly recommended for dog ear infections. While it may look as if the infection has cleared there may still be traces of infection that are difficult for owners to spot. Finishing treatment before the infection has fully healed can lead to recurring symptoms that are difficult to treat.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Getting an Ear Infection

At , we believe that prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to ear infections. To help prevent your pup from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your pet's ears clean and dry.

Ask your veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, take some time to gently clean their ears each week and always dry their ears when they come out of water. 

Emergency Veterinary Care in O'Fallon and Kirkwood

If your pet is suffering from severe symptoms of an ear infection and you are unable to reach your primary vet, our experienced teams at each of 's two locations are here to help and are equipped to provide compassionate, quality emergency care to cats and dogs from St. Louis and surrounding areas on evenings, weekends, and major holidays. 

While our O'Fallon location is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, our Kirkwood location also offers convenient after-hours care. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms. 

Do you suspect your dog is suffering from a severe ear infection? It's time for emergency veterinary care. Contact our St. Louis vets at either of our locations right away.

Compassionate Emergency Care for Pets

Animal Emergency Clinic is an after-hours emergency animal hospital providing urgent care to cats and dogs from St. Louis and surrounding areas. Contact us right away if you are experiencing a veterinary emergency.

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