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Understanding and Managing Otitis in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Dog ear infections are a common problem that can cause pain, discomfort, and even hearing loss if left untreated. Several factors can contribute to ear infections in dogs.

With prompt diagnosis and treatment, most ear infections in dogs can be cleared up quickly and easily.

Otitis In Dogs: Symptoms And Diagnosis. If your dog frequently tilts and shakes his head, perhaps trying to scratch the ear area, he may suffer from an ear canal infection. Don’t worry: we explain everything you need to know to manage otitis in dogs.

Symptoms: How can one recognise otitis in dogs?

The clinical symptoms of otitis in dogs vary depending on the origin and extent of the inflammation. If your furry friend suffers from it, he may show non-specific signs such as:

  • He shakes his head
  • The dog swings his ears pendulous to one or both sides
  • He keeps his head tilted.
  • The dog shows itching at the base of his ears
  • His ears present malodorous secretions
  • Has a temperature rise or fever

How is otitis diagnosed in dogs?

Ear infections can have different origins. For this reason, to determine the cause of your dog’s ear inflammation with certainty, it is essential to have him examined by a veterinary surgeon. First, the vet discusses the outer area of the dog’s ear. He then uses an otoscope to observe the inside of your furry dog’s ear, including the eardrum.

An ear swab must be performed to rule out bacterial infections, mycosis (e.g. skin fungus) or a mite infestation. For this reason, the vet usually does just such a swab, after which he deposits the collected organic material on a slide to observe the dog’s ear secretion under a microscope. If the doctor suspects your dog has an allergy, he will also perform an allergy test.

Possible treatments: How do you treat otitis in dogs?

To solve the problem of otitis in your dog, your vet must thoroughly clean your furry friend’s ear. He uses specific detergents to carefully rub the outside of your pet’s ear, removing excess earwax and any germs, parasites and microorganisms.

Suppose there is inflammation; therefore, the course of the disease is more serious. In that case, anti-inflammatory drugs are also necessary: in this case, the vet usually prescribes, depending on the cause of the otitis, antibiotics, antimycotics or anti-parasites.

Ear infections are a common problem in dogs, especially those with floppy ears. A variety of factors can cause them.

In more severe cases, an antibiogram combined with a microscopic examination of the ear material helps the doctor to identify the bacteria responsible for the inflammation and thus prescribe the most appropriate antibiotic.

Apart from your vet’s therapies for your dog, ear hygiene remains fundamental: never use cotton buds to clean your furry friend’s ears. If he darts, you can hurt him and make the situation worse.

Otitis in dogs: can I treat my dog’s ear infection at home?

Home remedies alone do not usually relieve otitis in dogs. To help your furry dog feel better and get through his days without the pain and discomfort of otitis, it is essential to take him to the vet and have him treated by a doctor.

That said, there are some home remedies designed to help relieve or prevent ear infections in dogs:

  • Salmon oil: this edible oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, supports dogs’ immune systems and can therefore help relieve inflammation.
  • Coconut oil: it appears that coconut oil is not only a tick repellent but that when applied warmly to the skin, it helps relieve itchy, inflamed ears.
  • Plant (phytotherapeutic) extracts and ointments made from chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.), sage and calendula (Calendula officinalis) are also said to have a soothing effect.

The causes of otitis in dogs: what triggers the inflammation?

Let us start by considering that this is a prevalent problem: all veterinarians always visit dogs with inflamed ears. This is because many triggering factors can adversely affect the health of the dog’s external ear canal.

Among the most frequent causes are:

  • Allergies (e.g. food allergies)
  • Ear mite infestation
  • Foreign bodies (e.g. small ears of wild grasses)
  • Keratinisation disorders, e.g. when one has a hypoactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Severe fungal infection (Malassezia otitis)
  • Tumour formations (e.g. presence of polyps)
  • Mycosis can proliferate undisturbed if your dog’s immune system is weakened by other diseases or by taking immunosuppressants (such as cortisone).

Other factors to be borne in mind are the hot temperatures of summer days and the humidity: both of these can favour the proliferation of fungi and bacteria. Evidence of this is the fact that dogs that like bathing and swimming, in general, are more prone to develop otitis.

Prognosis: Can my dog recover from otitis?

Otitis externa can be painful, but fortunately, the dog usually recovers and heals entirely with the proper local treatment.

But be careful: to ensure that the benefits of treatment are permanent and that inflammation of the middle or inner ear canal (otitis media and otitis interna) does not develop, you must follow your vet’s instructions consistently and carefully.

Prevention: What you can do to prevent otitis in dogs.
Redness, brown discharge and thickening of the skin are typical signs of an ear infection that can occur in the outer ear canal of dogs.

Don’t forget that if your pet is prone to otitis, you must check its ears regularly and keep them perfectly clean at all times.

Which breeds are more prone to otitis in dogs?

In general, we can say that any dog can develop an ear infection. However, breeds with floppy ears are more at risk than others of suffering from inflammation of the ear canal.

Prevention: What you can do to prevent otitis in dogs

If your furry friend is the classic swimmer who thinks about how he can dive in at the sight of a puddle, you must pay close attention to his ears, which must always be carefully dried after each bath.

In all cases, your furry one’s ears should be checked regularly. If a lot of dirt accumulates, you should remove it with the help of special cleaning agents. Beware of conventional soaps and disinfectants: they can irritate your dog’s ears and lead to more severe inflammation.

NOTE: This article is not a substitute for veterinary care; a vet visit will only be required for diagnosis, treatment, and information purposes.

Dog ear infections are a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Bacteria
  • Yeast
  • Ear mites
  • Foreign objects in the ear
  • Allergies
  • Skin conditions
  • Immune system disorders

Symptoms of an ear infection in dogs can include:

  • Head shaking
  • Ear scratching
  • Drooping ear
  • Redness and swelling of the ear canal
  • Odour
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Loss of balance

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, you must take them to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment for dog ear infections will vary depending on the underlying cause. Sometimes, your veterinarian may need to clean the ear canal and prescribe ear medication. In more severe cases, your dog may need oral antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs.

There are several things you can do to help prevent ear infections in your dog, including:

  • Keep your dog’s ears clean and dry.
  • Avoid swimming in dirty water.
  • Trim your dog’s ear hair regularly.
  • Check your dog’s ears regularly for any signs of infection.
  • If your dog has allergies, treat them with medication as your veterinarian prescribes.

With proper care, you can help keep your dog’s ears healthy and infection-free.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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