Do you know that ear infections in dogs are so common that it is one of the major reasons for veterinary visits? When your pooch starts rubbing and scratching his ears then it is obvious that his ears are infected with something uncalled for. It is not a serious issue though but if left untreated can lead to many complications putting the canine’s life at risk. It is said that 20% of the canine population contracts this disease at any given period and is a common issue that can be treated with medications. Ear infections are also called as otitis externa and it is caused by many factors.
In this article we will discuss about ear infections in dogs and how to deal with it. Also, we will discuss in detail about various over the counter ear ointments that are available to treat ear infections in dogs.
- Causes of ear infections in dogs
- Symptoms of ear infections
- How can a vet help?
- Treatment options for ear infections in dogs
- Top five ear infection products for canines
- Tips to prevent ear infections in dogs
- Managing the dog after an ear infection
My Pet Julie And My First Encounter With Dog Ear Infections
I have a pet named Julie and she had a terrible smell coming out from her ears when I took her to give a kiss. Later I started watching her weird behavior like tilting and shaking her head frequently. It did not strike my mind that she might be having an ear infection but somehow I booked an appointment to sort out the issue. She had a real bad ear infection problem and it took around 5 weeks to totally get rid of the problem.
During this period she was given antibiotic ear ointments and the vet examined her routinely for further complications. He gave a list of prescription medicines to treat the ear infections and since my canine had an inflammation she was given ear drops called synotic ear drops for dogs. I remember this one name alone because it helped my canine to get relief from itchiness. She stopped itching and scratching her ears after administering the synotic drops for dogs prescribed by my vet.
After the whole episode of ear infections, I was keen that I should have a complete knowledge of ear infections in dogs so that I can take necessary precautions to prevent it. I am sharing whatever I know with you all so that you can help your canine when in need.
Firstly Who Are The Culprits Or Causes Behind Ear Infections In Dogs?
There are many causes behind ear infections in dogs and we will discuss one by one.
- Parasites like ear mites are one of the reasons that cause infections in dogs and especially puppies. If your dog is kind of hypersensitive then forget it!! He is surely going to pull out his ears by constantly itching it. Ear mites can give a tough time to your hypersensitive canine friend causing swelling and redness.
- Allergies are one of the major reasons why dogs have ear infections. If your dog has an allergy problem then probably unlikely foods or smell or other allergens may directly contribute to ear infections. Allergies cause an imbalance inside the environment within the ear which leads to secondary infections. This means that timely treatment is a must to prevent further problems.
- Foreign particles like foxtails also called as plant awns and other plant parts that stick to the dogs coat can lead to ear infections. Imagine if any of these enters the ear canal and then nothing can stop the canine from traumatizing its ears. This may also result in ear infections therefore make sure to groom him quickly and steal a look inside its ears frequently.
Other causes of ear infections in dogs
- Self inflicted trauma can also lead to ear infections. Excessive scratching and grooming can cause the area to redden and swell leading to ear infections.
- Hyperthyroidism can also cause ear infections in dogs. This is due to the fact that thyroid hormone is very necessary to maintain the metabolism in a dog’s body. If there happens to be an inadequacy in thyroid hormone production it may directly affect the health of the skin and the ears.
- Conditions inside the ear can also call for ear infections. If bacteria and yeast get to stick around in warm, moist ear canal then nothing is going to stop them from infecting the canine. Dogs with heavy and floppy ears are more prone to such issues.
- Hereditary conditions and certain breeds are more prone to ear infections than the others. A few examples are cocker spaniels, shar pei and sheepdogs.
Symptoms Of Ear Infections In Dogs
- Foul smelling discharges which may be yellow or brown in colour
- Excessive scratching especially around the ears
- Inflammation and swelling
- Redness around the ears
- Appearance of crusts on the outer ear
- Walking in circles and wired eye movements
- Tilting the head frequently
- Rubbing ears against objects
- Hair loss due to excessive scratching
- Loss of hearing
- Lack of body balance
- Stressed and irritated
What Can Your Vet Do To Help Your Canine?
When you find your dog having the above symptoms then better rush to the nearest vet clinic to take prompt action. He is the best person to take care of your canine before things get worse. My Vet will first diagnose the kind of infection that is causing the problem. He will also check for foreign objects, ear mite infections and examine the ear drum for any possible rupturing. He will use a tool called as otoscope to take a look inside the dog’s ears and if the condition is worse and painful then he would go for sedation. Sedation will help the dog to stay calm throughout the examination process else he might get irritated.
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If the whole issue is caused by a foreign object say “a plant awn” then he will carefully remove the object by sedating the dog. Ticks, other build-ups are removed by this process and afterwards the ears are cleansed thoroughly to prevent ear infections.
If the problem is not with the foreign objects then he will go ahead with cytology where ear canal samples are examined using a microscope. By doing so he can determine what kind of organism is causing the problem. Once he finds out the right cause he will start a course of medications to clear the infection. If multiple organisms are present in the cytology report then he will recommend a wide array of medications.
Outer Ear Infections treatment by Vet
The outer ear infections can be easily treated while if the infection is present in the middle ear then treatment methods are different. Middle ear infections are pretty challenging and hard to do away with. The vet will take x-rays, tests and in rare cases surgery might be the only alternative. In such cases it is very necessary to take care of the canine with strict diets and limited physical activity until it recovers fully.
As I said before the vet is the best person to seek help in such cases and don’t wait too long for the infection to take pace. If you start seeing ear infection symptoms then run to the vet and start the treatment. Leaving an ear infection untreated means it can risk your canine life and put him with permanent ear damage. Also if the issue gets complicated then surgery might be the only option which will make both you and your canine stressed to the core.
Treatment Alternatives For Ear Infections
Your veterinarian will decide what sort of medications are to be given once the lab reports are received. He will probably start with pain relievers and those which can control the infection. He might also administer ear drops, topical ointment and tablets depending upon the type of infection. Medications given can be natural remedies that can prevent ear infections, oral antibiotics or ear drops and topical ointments.
Natural Remedies For Ear Infections In Canines
Natural remedies are safe but knowing what to use and how is very important. If you have a hands on experience using such medications then it is fine. But if you are not sure what you are up to then don’t give a try as it will only worsen the problem. Natural remedies include herbal ear washes, cleansers like apple cider vinegar and other natural medications like ear care gold, zymox (a natural enzyme that can help to prevent ear infections), natural topical ointments. You can always ask your vet before trying any sort of natural medications just to be sure.
Topical And Oral Antibiotics For Dog Ear Infections
At times when the infections are too serious, antibiotics may be the only option to go ahead with. But the problem with such dog ear infection medicine is they are actually not a safe alternative to go especially when the eardrum is bruised or if your dog has allergy problems. If your dog has allergy problems, then it might not respond well after prescribing antibiotics. Moreover antibiotics do not kill the root cause but just sort out the symptoms. On the long run use of antibiotics are not considered safe as they harm the immune system and kill both good and bad cells of the body. Topical antibiotics and oral antibiotics are used to treat ear infections when the damage is severe but it is better to prevent ear infections at the first place.
This is another alternative method to treat ear infections in dogs and is relatively safe. But there is little information about how these medications work and prevent ear infections. Many dog owners heavily rely on homeopathic formulations to treat dog problems as they are safe compared to allopathic medicines. Homeopathic medications help to treat the root cause and prevent ear infection symptoms like inflammation and redness. Homeopathic herbal ear washes are best to keep in stock to prevent ear infection problems in dogs.
Healthy Diet As A Natural Medication
You must be wondering why I included this over here. Well the fact is that without a healthy diet no medicine or any topical cream is going to do wonders. Healthy diet which contains all essential elements is very important to fight against parasites and infections. If you want your dog’s immune system to function properly then provide nutrient rich foods that help in the metabolic functions. Addressing this problem at the right time can prevent many chronic infections and other major ailments. I avoid processed foods as much as possible for my canine. She loves eating homemade foods and trust me I never entertain my children feeding her with leftovers. Her diet is simple and prepared in the most hygienic way. Avoid all those processed foods that contain artificial colors and flavors that are harmful for the canine.
Caution: make sure that you use medications only after consulting with the vet. Sometimes ear drums get ruptured due to the ongoing infection and in such cases using medications like cleansers and topical applications can prove to be dangerous. Avoid antibiotics in general when there is a rupture in the ear drum. Also don’t overuse cleansers and medications than the prescribed amounts.
Tips To Prevent Dogs Ear Infections
- Ear infections might occur as a result of some other problem like allergies towards certain foods and objects. Hormonal disorders and genetic abnormalities can also cause ear infections so take for routine examinations.
- Give them foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids as they help to battle against inflammation.
- Understand what all they are allergic too and avoid those in their diets and surrounding. This will considerably reduce the problem of ear infections.
- Maintain hygienic surroundings from them play around and examine their ears after a walk from the woods nearby.
- Use herbal ear washes and drops like ear care gold that are natural and keep the ears free from infections.
- Apple cider vinegar can help a lot to prevent ear infections as I have tested them in my own canine.
- If your vet asks you to visit for a follow-up then kindly go and don’t skip those routines
- Check your dog’s hormones and how well they are functioning to keep his immune system intact.
- Groom him properly and regularly also remove excess hair from his ears.
- Dry the ears after taking bath or playing in water or even after a nice swim. Moist ears are great places for microorganisms to dwell. Therefore beware!!
- Make use of dehumidifiers to control the humidity levels indoors. It is good for both humans and animals alike
- Use natural insect repellents and sprays which are dog friendly as it will help to prevent infection from mites.
- Don’t overdo any cleansers and use only what is needed as per instructions.
- Stay natural as much as possible and given healthy diets (not processed foods).
Top Five Products That Help To Treat Dog Ear Infection
Otomax for Dogs
Otomax for cats and dogs treats both acute and chronic ear infections in dogs and cats equally. It contains three active ingredients, Gentamicin, Betamethasone and Clotrimazole. It provides anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal purposes to take care of the ear infection which are often accompanied by inflammations.
Otomax Ear Drops & Ointment For Dog
This is another popular ointment that is used to treat ear infections in dogs. If your dog is suffering from acute infections caused by bacteria and yeast then this is the best ointment you can rely on. It will help the canine to get relief from irritation and pain.
Otomax is a powerful culmination of ingredients like gentamicin sulfate, betamethason valerate and clotrimazole that is best to prevent fungal activity and other ear infection symptoms. It is available in two forms both drops and ointments. Both these forms are helpful to treat pain, redness, swelling and itching sensations. It is easy to apply and available in different sizes. Cleanse and dry the ears before applying the ointment or drops. Also make sure to ask your vet before going ahead with this product. Follow the dosage properly and apply as per instructions for better results. You can find these products at canna-pet.com.
This is an anti-inflammatory, antipruritic ointment which can be administered for local therapy in most of the dog breeds. It is effective against bacteria and fungi which makes it easy to clear off any sort of infection. The ointment treats both the symptoms and root cause thereby preventing the recurrence of such infections. It helps to prevent itching and inflammation problems that are common during ear infections. The following ingredients are used to Quadritop ointment: Nystatin 100,000 units, Neomycin sulfate (equivalent to neomycin base) 2.5 mg, Thiostrepton 2,500 units, Triamcinolone acetonide 1.0 mg
- Non irritating
- Effective against chronic and acute infections
- Powerful ingredients
- Soothes the skin and prevent itching sensation
- Comes in small tubes which are easy to use and treats a variety of infections
Remicin For Dogs (Gentamicin sulfate + Betamethasone valerate + Clotrimazole Ointment)
Remicin ear ointment for dogs is an antibacterial application which has anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. It helps to treat outer ear infections caused by yeast and bacteria. Remicin ointment for dogs helps to treat both acute and chronic ear infections in dogs. It contains aminoglycoside( gentamicin sulfate), betamethasone and clotrimazole which is an antifungal agent.
Remicin ear ointment tube helps to get rid of discomfort, swelling and bad odor that occur during ear infections. This ointment should not be used when the ear drum is ruptured, has allergies and while being pregnant. Pregnant canines should avoid using this drug as it may affect the unborn.
Remicin ointment side effects, though rare are inevitable. Couple of users claim that using Remicin gave their dog temporary deafness. Though it lasts only for a while, it is certainly a point worth noting. Hence, it is always best to consult Vet before trying on any medication.
Ear Care Gold For Dog Ear Infections
This is one of the best products to treat canine ear infections and must to have at every pet owner’s stock list.
It helps to soothe the skin, prevent itching and irritating sensations. If your buddy is having a bad odor due to ear infection then ear care gold can be used to prevent the same. Helps to boost immunity power and prevent recurring of such infections. Applying this natural medication will make your canine to calm down and get out of the scratching spree.
- Helps the skin inside the ears to bounce back to its normal
- Herbal infused oil which is easy to apply and keeps the ears healthy
Tri-otic Ointment For Dogs
This is one of the most powerful ointments that are available to treat ear infections. It is cheap and works in a way that instant results are visible within a few minutes of application. It will help to prevent bacterial and yeast infections. Your canine will be relived from inflammation, pain and swelling inside the ears. It encourages ear wax production which acts a barrier against microorganisms and foreign objects. It contains three antimicrobials namely gentamicin sulfate, betamethasone valerate and clotrimazole. These ingredients are effective against microorganisms that cause ear infections.
This ointment has certain side effects so always ask your vet before using this product. Dry the dogs ears well before applying this ointment and apply only the amount that is required and instructed. Never apply more or skip any doses so that the infections can be rooted out.
Ear Infection Management
Ear infections are common in dogs and are one of the major reasons for vet visits. Once your dog acquires an ear infection take him to the vet routinely and follow the medications that are given. During this period it is better to limit his physical activity and make him take rest as much as possible. It is natural for your dog to be stressed and irritated during this period therefore stay patient and be gentle with your dog. Applying medications and making them eat is yet another challenging task. Ear infections don’t stay long and they will clear in some time. if your pet is getting frequent ear infections then better consult your vet and diagnose the underlying problem than going with home remedies. Treating the root cause is important to help your canine lead a normal life.
Conclusion: If you have a canine then you must be aware of ear infections in dogs and various alternatives that are available to treat them. Ear infections can be irritable and stressful for dogs so taking timely action is very necessary to restore the quality of life. Prevention is the best technique to fight against ear infections so carefully follow the tips mentioned in this article and stay healthy.