Ear infections, we've all probably dealt with one at some point or another. Whether it has been as an adult, when you were a child, or treating your own kids or pets, it's not fun. Here's the lowdown for your canine companions:
Certain breeds are more prone to ear infection than others and if you own one, regular ear cleaning is your best offense against chronic ear infection. In general, the longer a dog's ears are, the less air is circulating under the flap which enables bacteria and yeast to grow. Bassets and other hounds are a good example. Golden Retriever's also tend to get ear infections easily. Regardless of ear type, any dog can suffer an ear infection; even if you have a dog with pointy ears like a Husky.
Some telltale signs of a growing problem can include more vigorous than normal ear scratching, head shaking, head tilt, brown or reddish gunk inside the ear, and a pretty gnarly smell. As with any illness, the faster you catch the problem, the better off you'll be. Ear infections can really hurt and a dog won't know not to scratch. Sometimes they'll even cause bleeding and let me tell you, a dog shaking its head will get blood all over your walls. Not pretty. If you have an E-Collar (Elizabethan Collar), otherwise known as a cone, at home, use it until you can get your dog to the vet. Chances are they'll want your pooch to wear one if you don't already have one lying around to keep those feet from scratching.
A few common ear problems include ear mites (most common in young pups), bacteria growth, and yeast growth. You can even have all three at the same time. All are easily identified by your vet taking a swab of the ear and looking under a microscope and a good look down inside. Treatment will depend on the type of nasty growing in your dog's ear so it is important for diagnostic purposes for your vet to do this simple check. Depending on the finding, your vet will prescribe an appropriate treatment which can include cleaning and liquid drops or an ointment. Just remember to treat for the full recommended time otherwise you might be back at the vet sooner than planned.
Stay tuned for a how-to on cleaning the K9 ear!