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Ear infection in Dogs - Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

This is an Article on Ear infection in Dogs - Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment within the Dogs Ear Health Care Articles Category; Overview : Do you often see your dog scratching its ears, shaking its head, or are very irritable with its ears? Have you noticed an unpleasant odor coming from your dog’s ear ? If so, it could be is suffering from a case of ear infection. Ear infection in dogs ...


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Ear infection in Dogs - Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment Dog Breed

Ear infection in Dogs - Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Overview:
Do you often see your dog scratching its ears, shaking its head, or are very irritable with its ears? Have you noticed an unpleasant odor coming from your dog’s ear ? If so, it could be is suffering from a case of ear infection. Ear infection in dogs can be caused by a lot of factors. It could be due to ear mites, bacterial infections, food allergies, unhealthy environments, and improper dog hygiene.




Major Signs of Dog Ear Infections:
  • Head/face rubbing
  • Ear scratching (usually intense and vigorous)
  • Head shaking
  • Discharge from one or both external ear canals
  • Waxy build-up in one or both ears
  • Swollen ears
  • Head tilt
  • Hearing loss or deficit (not responding to normal sounds)
  • Red skin (erythema) on, in or around the ear flaps (pinnae)
  • Ulcers or skin erosions on, in or around the ears (often weeping or crusty sores)
  • Hair loss on, in or around the ears
  • Thickening (hyperplasia) of the ear flaps (pinnae)
  • Signs of pain when the ears are touched or manipulated
Types of Dog Ear Infections:
There is two major types of infections occur in the dog’s ear:
Otitis externa: an infection of the outer ear, including the ear canal up to the ear drum.
Otitis media: an infection of the canal behind the eardrum. All ear infections, if untreated, can lead to consequences that range from mild to severe. Especially in the case of infections behind the eardrum, the condition can lead to deafness, facial paralysis, loss of balance, and other neurological problems, which may be irreversible.

Causes Of Dog Ear Infections:
Dogs with infected, inflamed or otherwise irritated ears have a number of classic symptoms, which can come on slowly or suddenly. Owners of dogs with ear irritation, from whatever cause, typically notice one or more of the following:
  • Bacteria and yeast
  • Moisture in ear canal following bathing or swimming
  • Ear mites
  • Allergies
  • Foreign bodies (such as plant awns)
  • Injury
  • Hormonal abnormalities, or any kind of compromised immunity
In short, anything that can cause itching may lead to intense scratching and trauma, which can open the door to a serious infection.

Symptoms and Diagnosis :
Dogs with infected, inflamed or otherwise irritated ears have a number of classic symptoms, which can come on slowly or suddenly.
There is no particular age, breed or gender predisposition for canine ear disorders. However, dogs with chronically wet ear canals, such as those that are used for hunting or retrieving in wet conditions and those that swim or are frequently bathed, have an increased risk of developing ear infections. Dogs that commonly have their ear hair plucked during grooming are also predisposed to having ear problems, because when the hairs are pulled out, serum oozes out of the pores and provides an excellent medium for bacterial overgrowth. Poodles, Schnauzers and some other breeds (especially Terriers) have an increased incidence of ear infection for this reason. Dogs with pendulous ears, such as Bulldogs, Chow Chows, Shar-Peis, Cocker Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, Bloodhounds and Basset Hounds, tend to have tightly-closed (stenotic) ear canals, which raises the risk of ear inflammation and infection. Other dogs with long, low-set ears also tend to be prone to developing ear infections.

The initial data base for a dog showing signs of “ear problems” includes a thorough history, physical examination and examination of samples taken from the ears and ear canals. The veterinarian will look carefully for ulcers, wounds, sores, abnormal waxy build-up, impacted debris, parasites or other observable evidence of potential causes of the dog’s discomfort. Samples are fairly easily taken for microscopic examination and culture to identify abnormal bacteria, yeast, fungi, cellular signs of inflammation or infection, parasites or other diagnostic elements.
Advanced diagnostic procedures can include: biopsy of affected ear tissues; radiographs (X-rays); computed tomography (CT or CAT scan); magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); complete neurological examination; brainstem auditory-evoked response testing (BAER) to assess hearing ability or deficits; and testing for the presence of allergies (elimination diet trials; intradermal or serum-specific allergy testing).

Treatment :
treatment for most canine “ear problems” is a course of topical or systemic corticosteroids. This first-line therapy is designed to reduce inflammation and irritation and can help to reduce overgrowth of certain bacterial organisms. Antibiotics are also commonly prescribed - usually topically but also orally - to treat secondary bacterial infections. Antifungal drugs are available both topically and orally to address fungal ear infections. Many veterinarians will recommend that owners flush their dogs’ ears to remove any waxy build-up and impacted debris from the ear canals. This can be done a number of ways, which the attending veterinarian is in the best position to discuss. One common method is to flush the ears with a body-temperature solution of one part white vinegar in three-to-five parts water. Commercial preparations are also available. Again, owners should consult with their veterinarian before attempting in-home treatment of suspected ear irritation. If the ears have become completely obstructed by irritation and tissue overgrowth (hyperplasia), the only effective treatment is surgical. Several surgical options are available, including a bulla osteotomy and a total ear canal ablation (TECA).
Dogs with infections of their outer ear (otitis externa) have a very good prognosis, if the infection is diagnosed and treated promptly. Once the middle and inner ear are infected, the prognosis becomes more guarded, and the dog may develop permanent hearing loss.


Prevention:
Prevention begins with a regimen of care to keep the outer ears clean and free of debris. Dry ears after bathing/swimming. Allergies must be controlled, and any ear mite infections treated. All possible conditions that could lead to ear infections must be assessed and treated by your veterinarian to prevent bacteria and yeast from gaining a foothold.
Your veterinarian can teach you how to provide ongoing care and suggest products to use to keep your dog’s outer ears clean. Along with controlling mites and allergies, this is an effective strategy for keeping ear infections at bay. Not all ear problems can be prevented. If caught early, however, treatment is generally successful.

Please also visit THIS ARTICLE to lean how to clean your dog's ears






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References:
1- Textbook Of Veterinary Internal Medicine ( Stephen J. Ettinger , Edward C. Feldman)
2-Some Image from : Google
3-Some Parts by : petwave.com

Ear infection in Dogs - Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment