Dog ear infections can cause hearing loss or facial paralysis if left untreated. Preventing infection and seeking immediate treatment for your pet are critical to avoiding these serious consequences.
Cleaning, medication, and follow-up care are all necessary to treat and manage dog ear infections.
Otitis interna, an inflammation of the inner ear, is most commonly caused by an infection. Inner ear infections are usually caused by bacteria, but fungus (also known as yeast) can also be involved.
A bacterial infection is more likely to occur if your dog has ear mites in the external ear canal. This can lead to problems in the inner ear. In the same way, infections of the inner ear can occur when a diseased acoustic neuroma or a benign polyp forms in the middle ear. This can be caused by a foreign object, such as grass seed, in the ear canal.
What are the different types of dog ear infections?
Eardrums, middle and inner ear are located deep inside the head after the ear canal. Otitis is an ear infection. The location of the infection in the dog’s ear determines which type of otitis it is:
- Otitis externa: ear canal inflammation
- The medical term for this condition is otitis media.
- Interstitial ear inflammation (otitis interna)
As a result, otitis externa is the most common of these infections. Acute (with a rapid onset) or chronic (with recurrence) ear infections are both possible. One or both ears can become infected in dogs.
Dog ear infections: how do they get treated?
Your veterinarian will use a medicated ear cleanser to thoroughly clean your dog’s ears. Ear cleaning products and topical medications may also be prescribed by your veterinarian for you to use at home. Oral antibiotics and steroid injections may be prescribed by your veterinarian in the most severe cases.
Once the proper treatment is started, most ear infections are gone within a few weeks. It can take months or even years to get rid of a severe infection that is linked to an underlying condition.
Your veterinarian may recommend surgery like a Total Ear Canal Ablation in cases where other treatments have failed (TECA). The diseased tissue in the ear canal is removed during a TECA surgery, which reduces the risk of recurrence.
It is critical that you follow your veterinarian’s instructions to the letter and return to the veterinary hospital for any recheck appointments that may be necessary. Your dog’s infection may return if treatment lapses occur.
Even if your dog appears to be improving, it is imperative that you complete the full course of your dog’s medication. Additional complications may arise if a patient does not complete the full course of treatment, such as the development of resistant infections.
The inner ear infection may be more common in some dogs.
Long, heavy ears appear to be a risk factor for otitis interna in dogs, which can lead to chronic ear infections. Spaniel and hound breeds, such as the Cocker Spaniel and the Bloodhound, are the most commonly affected. If the tympanic membrane (tympanic membrane) is damaged, any dog with a chronic ear infection that is difficult to control may develop an otitis interna because bacteria can migrate down into the inner ear from the eardrum.
“Dogs with long, heavy ears seem to be predisposed to chronic ear infections that ultimately lead to otitis interna.”
An infection in the external ear canal can cause otitis interna if it is cleaned too vigorously. In cases where the eardrum is damaged and some of the solution is allowed to penetrate too deeply, some ear cleansers can cause symptoms of otitis interna as well as irritation to the middle and inner ears.
What causes for dog ear infections?
It doesn’t matter if a pet’s ears are rounded or flat, if it’s been swimming, or how much hair is in its ear canal; otitis can affect any pet. Ear infections in dogs and cats are usually caused by a more serious issue that needs to be addressed. A number of conditions, including the following, can increase the risk of a pet developing an ear infection:
- Irritations (food allergy or inhalant allergy)
- Acute otitis media
- Ear canal growths like polyps
- Thyroid and adrenal gland diseases are examples of systemic illnesses (in dogs)
- A buildup of dirt, sand, or plant material in the ear canal.
Infections in the ear canal can be excruciatingly painful. This condition can cause some animals to become aggressive, with some even biting people who try to touch their ears or heads (including their owners). Depending on the severity of the inflammation, the following are possible symptoms of otitis:
- Rubbing the floor or furniture with the head and ears
- From the ear canals (can sometimes have a very bad odor)
- There may be a redness and warmth to the ears when they are touched.
Severe otitis can cause pets to scream or groan as they scratch and rub their ears. This can lead to wounds on the skin around the face, neck, and ears of some pets. Chronic or severe otitis media can lead to thickening and deformation of the outer ear canal. This thickening can cause the ear opening to become extremely small, making it more difficult to clean the ears. Infection and trauma can also lead to ear canal ulcerations.
Chronic or severe otitis can cause more severe clinical signs, such as a tilted head, incoordination, inability to stand or walk, and increased pain if it affects the middle or inner ear.
Are there breeds that are more prone to ear infections than others?
When it comes to ear infections, some canine breeds are more predisposed to them than others. The shape of their ears or ear conformation is a common trait in these dogs. It has been found that in some dogs, genetics is also a contributing factor.
1. Ears that droop and sag
Dogs with long, floppy ears are more prone to developing chronic ear infections. Compared to other breeds, these dogs may have a greater number of glands that produce earwax (ceruminous glands). Breeds like Cocker Spaniels, Beagles, Basset Hounds, and Setters exhibit these traits in spades.
2. Tiny ear canals.
Canine breeds with narrow ear canals include bulldogs, chow chows, and Chinese Shar-Peis. They are more prone to ear inflammation and infection because of this anatomical feature.
3. More allergenic breeds of dog
There are many breeds of dogs that are more prone to allergies and sensitivities, including Labrador Retrievers, Boston Terrier dogs, and Shih Tzus, which can lead to a long-term ear infection.
4. One that has a lot of hair in its Ear Canals
Excess hair in the ear canals of breeds like the Bichon Frise, Shih Tzu, and Poodle can serve as a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. Having too much hair in the ear canal can impede proper airflow, which can lead to the accumulation of dirt, debris, and excess ear wax.
What are the signs of ear infections?
The symptoms of otitis interna vary depending on the severity of the infection and the extent to which it has spread. Even if your dog doesn’t show any obvious symptoms, you might notice he’s reluctant to chew or appears to be in pain when opening his mouth during play. There are many ways that he may respond to the problem ear.
Your dog’s head may tilt to the side of the ear that is infected, and he may even fall, roll, or lean toward that ear. If he loses all sense of balance, he may wobble or even walk in circles around the side of his infected ear.
His head may swivel from side to side like an elephant’s, and he may have trouble staying on his feet if both ears are affected. Otitis interna-infected dogs cannot hear on the affected side (s).
Dog ear infections: is there a way to prevent this?
Preventative measures are always preferable to cures. Make sure to thoroughly dry your dog’s ears after swimming or bathing to avoid ear infections. If your dog is prone to recurring ear infections, such as allergies, you may be able to prevent further infections by identifying and treating the underlying causes.
Dog ear infections can be prevented by cleaning your dog’s ears at home. AKC Family Dog columnist Jeff Grognet, DVM, suggests the following procedure for cleaning dog’s ears: A dog ear cleaning solution can be used to fill the canal and massage the vertical ear canal. Using a piece of absorbent gauze, thoroughly clean the esophagus. If you’re using paper towels or cotton, you risk irritating your skin by leaving fibers behind. Your dog may also benefit from using cotton swabs to clean his or her pinnae (external ear flaps) as long as you don’t use them to clean the ear canal.
Even though ear infections can occur frequently in dogs, they can be prevented with the help of your veterinarian. You should seek treatment as soon as your dog shows signs of an ear infection to prevent the problem from worsening.
1. Manage your digestive system’s health
Your dog’s intestinal health can be seen through his ears. Your dog’s ears tell you something is amiss with her immune system. For a dog’s immune system to function properly, the majority of it is housed in her digestive tract.
You’ll want to rule out leaky gut as a possible cause. Ear infections are common in dogs with leaky guts. The cells that line your dog’s intestines are damaged by toxins and harmful microorganisms in the body. Many chronic health issues can result from allowing food particles, microbes and poisons to enter the bloodstream.
2. Over-cleaning of the dog Ears
Ears that are in good health shouldn’t require any maintenance at all. As long as your dog doesn’t seem very bothered by the wax in his ears, you can safely ignore the problem. Skin irritation and inflammation may result from over-cleaning the ears, which upsets the ear’s delicate bacterial balance. Medicated or veterinary cleaning solutions should be avoided at all costs.
If your dog’s ears do need cleaning, use a cotton ball dipped in organic witch hazel to do so. Using a cotton swab to clean your dog’s ear canal is a bad idea since it could damage the eardrum.
Especially if you feed your dog kibble, which is high in carbs and synthetic additives, diet has a major role. The yeast in your dog’s body is fed by starchy meals, causing it to develop out of balance. To the extent possible, you should always serve your dog a diet that is fresh, raw, and organic.
4. Supplementation for the Immune System
Whether your dog has a food allergy or intolerance, an environmental allergy, or a recurrent ear infection, her immune system is in need of help. To fix your dog’s ear problems, you’ll need to get to the bottom of her allergies. You need to uncover the root cause of your dog’s allergies, much like with ear infections. Immune wellness begins in the intestines.
5. Other Long-Term Illnesses
Hypothyroidism or autoimmune illness can also cause an infection in the ear. In order to address these issues, you should consult with your holistic veterinarian.
6. Reduce the use of pharmaceuticals and other hazardous chemicals
Ear infections are less common in dogs who lead a more natural lifestyle. Minimize your dog’s exposure to pollutants both indoors and out.
It’s important to keep your dog’s health in check by vaccinating her, giving her antibiotics and other drugs, and using pesticides to keep her safe. Only administer immunizations to your dog that are absolutely necessary. As far as possible, avoid giving your dog any drugs or antibiotics that aren’t natural alternatives.
Toxins can also be reduced by reducing the use of pesticides in your house and garden. Avoid harmful cleaning chemicals, including your own body cosmetics and other goods containing artificial fragrances, when bathing your dog.
It’s best to offer your dog natural food-based supplements that don’t contain any additives or fillers. Pre and probiotics are the most vital supplements you can offer to assist support the general health of your dog.
How to treat dog ear infection without vet at home?
To begin, a few words on topical treatments for canine ear infections. Over-cleaning your dog’s ears can lead to ear infections, as you will learn later. So, even if your dog has an infection, avoid putting anything in her ears. It’s important to go to the source of the problem if it happens, as it indicates deeper concerns.
Ear infections can be painful for your dog, so you’ll need to provide some relief as you try to figure out what’s causing them.
1. Tincture of Calendula
Inflammation and soreness can be eased by taking calendula. Preventing infection is made easier thanks to the antibacterial qualities of this herb. Make sure you buy tincture version of herbal calendula. Calendula tincture with warm filtered water (5-10 drops) Afterwards, use a dropper or sponge to put some in your ears.
2. Topical Pain Relief
These are some ways to alleviate your discomfort. They’re going to take care of the itching and pain. If you want to permanently stop your dog from getting ear infections, you’ll need to take additional measures.
3. Extract of Grapefruit Seeds
The natural antioxidant grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is highly effective. Antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties are also included. Mix 10 drops of GSE with 12 oz of pure aloe vera juice to apply it topically. Clean the ears with it.
Do not exceed 3 to 5 drops per meal for internal use.
4. It’s Oregano Oil
The oil of oregano is a natural antibacterial. Adding a few drops to 12 cup warmed, pure aloe vera juice will help soothe your dog’s infected ear canals. Cotton soaked in the solution can be used to clean the ear’s visible components.
5. Mullein drops
Holistic veterinarian Randy Kidd DVM PhD suggests a mullein blend for the treatment of most ear infections in herbalists. It’s possible to make your own or to buy one from a health food shop. Mullein-garlic oil from HerbPharm is a fantastic option for treating dog ear infections.
When you want to manufacture your own mullein drops, simply put the leaves and blooms into an olive oil-coated glass jar, shake, and voila! One or two garlic cloves per pint of oil can boost the antibacterial potency. Allow the mixture to settle for two to three weeks before serving. Apply a few drops of warmed oil to the ear canal on a regular basis.
6. Cider Vinegar from Apples
A common remedy for ear infections is apple cider vinegar. Vinegar and filtered or spring water should be mixed together. After that, use a cotton ball dipped in a solution to wipe away any debris from the ears that can be seen. Hold your dog’s ear steady when applying the liquid to ensure that it gets into the ear canal. Pour or squirt the liquid into the ear canal (at least one dropper full each time). Once you’ve done that, softly massage the area below the ear.
7. A cup of leafy green tea
Add two green tea bags to 8 oz of water and bring to a boil. Allow the tea to cool to a lukewarm temperature before drinking. Inject a small amount of the solution by syringe or sponge into the ear canal.
Watch Dog ear infection treated with natural remedies | Video
What can I do at home to help my dog’s ear infection?
An ear infection’s itching and discomfort can be eased with the use of apple cider vinegar. Filtered or spring water should be added to a 1:1 vinegar solution. Use a cotton ball soaked in the mixture to clean the ear’s visible parts. Hold your dog’s ear still while applying the liquid to ensure that it gets into the ear canal.
How to treat ear infection in dogs without taking to vet?
Yeast and bacteria are both killed by apple cider vinegar. To clean your dog’s ears, soak a cotton ball in a solution of 50% organic apple cider vinegar and 50% water. Do not use if your dog is in pain or if her ears are drying out excessively. See your veterinarian.
Is it possible for a dog’s ear infection to resolve itself on its own?
Ear infections in dogs rarely go away on their own. It is even more difficult to get rid of an ear infection that has been left untreated for an extended period of time. Chronic problems, hearing loss, and even expensive surgery can result from an untreated ear infection.
What happens if a dog’s ear infection is not treated?
If left untreated, an ear infection in a dog’s outer ear can progress to the middle or inner ear. Otitis media is the medical term for an infection or inflammation that has spread to the middle ear.
Is a dog’s ear infection life-threatening?
Dog ear infections can cause hearing loss or facial paralysis if left untreated. Preventing infection and seeking immediate treatment for your pet are critical to avoiding these serious consequences. Cleaning, medication, and follow-up care are all necessary to treat and manage dog ear infections.
When Should I See a Veterinarian?
If you suspect your beloved pet has an ear infection, call your veterinarian right away. Your dog’s comfort and happiness will be ensured if treatment is given quickly and proactively.
Dogs frequently suffer from ear infections. Either a bacterial or yeast overgrowth in your dog’s ear canal, or allergies, are the likely culprits. Your dog’s ear infection will be diagnosed by your vet using testing to determine the root cause and the best course of treatment.
Medicated ear drops prescribed by your veterinarian and ear cleaning solutions are typically required for treatment. Tracking your dog’s ear infections is important because allergies are a common cause of ear infections in dogs.