Causes and Predisposition Factors of Ear Infections
There are a lot of things that can cause and predispose an ear infection. The most common causes include parasites, foreign bodies, allergies to products or food allergies and tumors. Bacteria is actually rarely a cause of the ear infection, instead it is usually a secondary result.
Predisposition factors include breed and frequency of baths and ear cleaning. Breeds with pendulous ears, like Cocker Spaniels, tend to develop more ear infections. Baths can lead to the equivalent of swimmer's ear if water falls in the ear and is not dried. Ear cleaning can lead to direct trauma from the cotton used and the chemical product used can aggravate the skin.
Dog Ear Infection Symptoms
The symptoms can range from no symptoms to extremely painful symptoms. The dog will shake its head often and scratch its ears. If the infection spreads, they can walk with their head turned to the side. Their ears may be hot to the touch or the dog may cry when their ears are handled. Chronic ear infection can lead to ears that are thickened and calcified.
Diagnosing Ear Infections
The vet will often diagnose an ear infection on symptoms and signs. They will examine your dog's ears with an otoscope, which he will use to look inside your dog's ear. The vet may also take a swab to look at in the microscope or to run some tests on to find the exact cause of the infection.
Treatment of Ear Infections
Treatment usually consists of cleaning the ear out with a cleaning product. This may require sedation or even general anesthesia if the infection is very painful. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics and fungal infections are treated with anti-fungal medication. There are special medications for mites as well. Depending on the severity of the infection, anti-inflammatory topical medications may be necessary.
If you do a little research online, you will see that there are A LOT of products available for dog ear care and treatment. There are many active ingredients, antibiotics and anti-fungal medications that are included in these products in different combinations and percentages. Not all products are appropriate for all ear infections. It is important to consult your veterinarian before treating. There is a tendency for microbes to develop resistance to drugs and the proper and adequate treatment plan is important to resolve the problem.
Ear infections are common occurrences in dogs today. There are some dogs that are predisposed to it because of ear conformation or other genetic causes and other dogs are more predisposed because of environmental factors, such as frequent baths or ear cleanings by well-intentioned owners. What is important is fast diagnosis and treatment. In order to achieve this, the owner must know how to identify dog ear infection symptoms.