Posts Tagged ‘ear infection’

In Part 1, we focused on common eye problems in dogs. Today, we’re switching to the ears!

Beagle profile

What’s going on beneath that soft, velvety ear flap?

By Dr. Chris Roth, DVM

Common Dog Ear Infections & Problems
Like dog eye infections, problems with your dog’s ears can range from something to keep an eye on to an issue that requires veterinarian care. The more knowledge you have, the more accurately you’ll be able to decipher between the two.

Dog Ear Infections
All dogs occasionally lift one of their hind legs to scratch their ears or head. But if your dog profusely scratches her ears, frequently shakes her head, or has hair loss around her ears, it’s time to take a closer look. Here’s why: itchy or irritated ears can lead to a nasty ear infection. Itchy ears can be caused by a flea bite, environmental sources, a yeast infection, or a food allergy.

An ear infection occurs when your dog’s ears get inflamed with wax and discharge. This happens when naturally occurring yeast and bacteria overwhelms her immune system and she can’t control the infection. Treatments for an ear infection will vary depending on the cause. Allergies can be complicated to manage and it’s best to seek your veterinarian’s input.

Cleaning your dog’s ears every week is a proactive way to keep them healthy and prevent potential issues. It’s worth noting that dogs with long, floppy ears are more prone to ear infections due to dust, dirt, and moisture getting trapped in their ears and forming bacteria.

Ear Mites
Ear mites in dogs occur when tiny parasites feed on the wax and oil inside your pets’ ears. Dogs that are outside frequently are most likely to get ear mites, but once your pup comes inside ear mites can easily travel from one animal to another through close contact or shared bedding.

If your dog has ear mites, she will most likely scratch and rub her ears. Additionally, her ears will emit a foul odor and possibly have a build-up of dark debris inside. Continual scratching of the ears can cause cuts and redness in that area.

Ear mites are not something to ignore. They live in your dog’s ear canal and reproduce rapidly. So if you see white specks in your dog’s ears or suspect your dog has ear mites, schedule an appointment with your vet to address the situation. Your vet will thoroughly clean your dog’s ears and most likely apply an anti-parasitic medication. The best way to prevent ear mites is to regularly clean your dog’s ears as well as frequently wash their bedding.


Source: https://www.petsbest.com/blog/dogs-with-goopy-eyes-ears

Photo by Torsten Detlaff via Pexels

About the author: Dr. Chris Roth is the resident veterinarian and pet health writer at Pets Best Insurance. He earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Kansas State University, as well as a degree in biology. Over his 29 years practicing General Veterinary Medicine, including owning and managing two veterinary practices, Dr. Roth has accrued a wealth of experience and specialized training in advanced Small Animal Orthopedics as well as maintaining an AVMA membership, Fear Free Veterinary Practice certification, and Idaho Veterinary Medical and Board of Pharmacy licensure. Among other experience, he has also held a role as an E.L.I.T.E. field consultant for Advanced Sedation and Pain Management for Zoetis Animal Health, formerly Pfizer Animal Health. 

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Few things are as unsettling to pet owners as discovering a medical condition which had not been in evidence a day or only hours earlier.   

Ear Flap Hematoma

Click to enlarge.

 

One problem that seems to arise quite suddenly is an ear flap hematoma.  A hematoma is the accumulation of blood and serum between the cartilage and skin of the dog’s or cat’s ear flap.  The resultant swelling causes the ear to look like a floppy balloon or a pillow.   

Did you know? Another word for “ear flap” is pinna.

A  hematoma of the ear flap often arises as the result of trauma, whether caused by the pet’s vigorous head shaking, scratching the ear, or smacking the ear on a hard surface when shaking the head.  The head shaking and scratching have their own underlying causes:  fleasear mites, ear infections, or debris collecting on the eardrum.

This ear mite could be the cause of your pet's itchy ears -- and lead to an ear flap hematoma. Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic

This ear mite could be the cause of your pet’s itchy ears — and lead to an ear flap hematoma.
Photo by Little Creek Veterinary Clinic

After the underlying cause of the hematoma has been addressed, the doctor will determine the appropriate treatment for the swollen ear.  A combination of medication, aspiration of the fluid, or surgical repair may be recommended. 

Ear flap hematomas can recur after medication or aspiration, though rarely after surgical intervention.  If medication-only treatment is chosen due to economic circumstances or because the pet is a poor anesthesia risk, the hematoma will usually resolve over a number of weeks.  Patience is key in this instance, and the veterinarian will want to monitor the ear for progress.

A hematoma is unlikely to resolve itself without medical intervention.  For your pet’s sake, keep in mind that a swollen ear flap can be painful, and it can cause your pet to tilt its head to one side constantly or dig at the ear and worsen the problem. If you suspect your pet has an ear flap hematoma, be sure to seek treatment early, for the best results.

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Originally posted on November 2, 2010.

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