Dog ear discharges are one of the common example of pet ear infections. During the course of the dog ear infection treatment, firstly we need to know the exact cause of ear infections in dogs.
Canine ear infections are most commonly caused by bacteria or yeast. Ear mites, excessive hair, moisture or wax, foreign bodies, allergies, and hypothyroidism can all be contributing factors in the development of an ear infection. Because the ear canal in dogs is mostly vertical (unlike a human ear canal that is horizontal), it is easy for debris and moisture to be retained in the ear canal.
Otitis media refers to an inflammation of the dog’s middle ear, while otitis interna refers to an inflammation of the inner ear, both of which are commonly caused by bacterial infection. Long-eared dog breeds with excessive hair and non-erect outer ears, such as the Cocker Spaniel, Labrador Retriever and Springer Spaniel, are believed to be more susceptible to canine ear infections.
Causes of ear infections in dogs
Signs and Symptoms of ear infections in dogs
- Bacteria are the primary disease-causing agents that lead to infection and consequent inflammation of the middle or inner ear.
- Other possible disease-causing agents include yeasts such as Malassezia, fungi such as Aspergillus, and ear mites which increase the likelihood of bacterial infection. Alternate causes include trauma to the body, such as from a car accident, the presence of tumors or polyps in the ear, and the presence of foreign objects in the ear.
- Any foreign body in the dogs ear canal can also cause an ear infection associated with discharges from ear.
- Scratching of the ear or area around the ear.
- Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
- Odour from the ear
- Redness in Eustachian canal.
- Swelling around the ear or face.
- Crusts or scabs on inside of the outer ear
- Hair loss around the ear
- Rubbing of the ear and surrounding area on the floor or furniture
- Head shaking or head tilt
- Loss of balance
- Unusual eye movements
- Walking in circles
- Hearing loss
Diagnose an ear infection by examining the ear canal and ear drum with a magnifying ear cone similar to devices used on people. This may require sedation, especially if the dog is very painful.
A sample of ear discharge may be examined to look for bacteria, yeast, and parasites. If a bacterial infection is suspected send a sample of the ear discharge to a laboratory to see what bacteria is causing the infection.
One primary diagnostic procedure in cases of inner and middle ear inflammation is myringotomy, a technique in which a spinal needle is inserted into the air and the ear drum membrane to extract middle ear fluid for microscopal examination. This can help determine any infectious presences, such as bacteria or fungi.
Other tests may include an analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in the cranium, in which the brain essentially floats, urine analysis, blood tests, and computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
Most commonly, ear infections can be treated with a professional cleaning followed by medication given at home. Veterinarian may prescribe topical and/or oral medicine. It is not uncommon for some dogs to have recurrent ear infections.