Ear Problems in Dogs

Dog Ears

There are a few common causes of ear problems in dogs. Dogs that have drop ears are particularly prone to ear infections. The ear flap folded over creates a warm, moist situation that encourages the growth of bacteria. Your dog may shake his head and the yeast and bacteria in the ear will emit a foul odor.

Dogs, especially those out in the field working, can get burrs or other unwelcome debris in their ears.

Parasites such as ticks, fleas and mites can cause itching, pain and swelling in the ear.

If your dog’s ear is injured through an accident or a dog fight, the ear can become swollen and infected.

If you notice hairless, scaly patches in or on the ear, cancer may be the cause.

Collies and Shelties can have a hereditary disorder (dermatomyositis) causing scaly, hairless patches.

If your dog’s ears are itchy and red, a hormonal disorder could be the culprit.

Allergies are high on the list of ear problems in dogs. Something in the environment like dust or pollen can be the cause. Food allergies are also very common. Feeding your dog a grain-free diet often clears up the problem.

If your dog shows any sign of an ear problem, a trip to the veterinarian is in order. Your vet can look deep inside the ear with his instruments and diagnose the condition. Sometimes skin scrapings or a sample of the discharge are necessary to view under a microscope. Your vet will explain how the problem can be treated.

Growths in the ear or a deformed or narrow ear canal can prevent healing. If your dog has recurring infections that don’t respond to antibiotics or other treatment, there are surgeries that can help solve the problem and promote healing.

All dogs ears should be checked and cleaned regularly, particularly those with pendant ears. Clean only the surface you can see. You can use cotton swabs or absorbent cotton, but be very gentle.

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