Ear Infections in Dogs | Dogalize
Otitis externa is defined as inflammation of the ear canal. It is an extremely common, aggravating, and sometimes costly problem for dogs and owners alike.
Symptoms of Otitis Externa
If your dog has ever had an ear infection, you know the symptoms. Head shaking, scratching, redness, brown discharge, and a foul odor are all hallmarks of the condition. Some dogs will kick relentlessly at the ear or rub it on furniture or rugs in an effort to stop the itch. The result may be bleeding skin wounds. Depression and irritability can ensue as the condition progresses and the ear becomes painful. Hearing can be affected. So can balance, coordination, and facial muscles in severe cases.
Treatment of Otitis Externa
The first step in treating otitis externa is a thorough cleaning of the affected ear(s). See box below. A deep cleaning rids the ear of secondary factors such as yeast, bacteria, and debris. In mild to moderate cases, ear cleansing may be done within a routine office visit. Your veterinarian will use a medicated ear cleansing solution along with gauze wipes or cotton balls to remove excess fluid and debris. In severe cases, your vet may recommend that an ear flush be conducted under general anesthesia. Then, special probes and deep flushing equipment can be used.
Once the ear is clean and dry, topical medications are prescribed to keep the yeast and bacteria at bay. Your veterinarian will prescribe ointments or solutions that contain any or a combination of antibacterial, anti-yeast, and anti-itch medications. In more severe cases, oral antibiotics, antihistamines, or even oral steroids may be needed to get infection and inflammation under control.
For treatment to be successful, the primary factors contributing to the ear infection need to be addressed. This may require your vet to treat for ear mites, address allergic skin disorders, or remove a tumor or foreign body from the ear canal. Your veterinarian may recommend cutting back on swimming during the warm summer months, or at least following it with a good ear cleansing with a cleaner that includes a drying agent. Your vet may do blood work and other diagnostics to probe for underlying health issues such as hypothyroidism.
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