Dog Ear Infection
Studies reveal that of the total dog population, approximately twenty percent of which are more likely to or have acquired dog ear infection, medically known as otitis externa.
Otitis externa is an infection of the outer ear canal caused by fungus, parasites, or bacteria in the dog’s ear. The infection may either occur suddenly and briefly, or it may develop gradually over time and persist as a recurring condition. Dogs with large floppy ears, like Cocker Spaniels, poodles, and Shar-Peis, are more prone to ear infection than others for some reasons.
Cocker Spaniels are inclined to acquire ear infection due to its abundant secretory glands. While the poodle’s thick hair in the ear canal keeps moisture in and, therefore, invites microorganisms to breed inside. Shar-Peis, on the other hand, are characterized by very small ears, small ear canal, and tightly closed ear flaps that make them susceptible to ear infection.
If you suspect that your pet dog is suffering from dog ear infection, look out for these signs: waxy discharges from the ears, intense scratching or rubbing of ears and head, strong foul odour, shaking of head, pain around the ears, redness and swelling of ear flap, and irritable behaviour.
As soon as you realize any of these signs is evident, it is recommended that you notify and consult with your veterinarian immediately. Request him for a medical evaluation on your dog so that treatment can be applied right away. Otherwise, the extent of infection may get to the point where your dog loses its sense of hearing.
Likewise, you may also do some home remedy to help ease the discomfort your dog goes through, by cleaning or disinfecting the ears regularly and applying the medication prescribed by its veterinarian. Cleaning the ears may involve flushing out the bacteria or fungus from your dog’s ears with warm wash cloth or cotton ball. Before applying medications at home, however, you should ask the veterinarian on the proper procedures of treatment. In addition, refrain from using cotton swabs in applying medication on your dog because it can only worsen ear infection.
However, in case of chronic ear problems, the veterinarian may well suggest that the dog’s waxy discharges be cultured to identify the exact organism that affects it, and consequently apply the appropriate medications.
Moreover, three major factors have been identified as causes of otitis externa, namely: primary, predisposing, and perpetuating factors.
Primary factors refer to certain elements or afflictions that actually initiate ear infections, such as parasites, foreign bodies, allergies, tumours, hypersensitivity, hypothyroidism, autoimmune ailment, juvenile cellulitis, and irritants.
Predisposing factors refer to circumstances by which animals – in this particular case, dogs – are exposed to the risk of acquiring dog ear infection. These circumstantial factors include inborn anatomy of the animal’s ears (as in the case of Shar-Peis), softening of the ear canal due to systemic ailment, and alteration in the atmospheric condition.
Perpetuating factors are those that pave the way for the disease to persist. These are similar to the primary factors, except that they seldom initiate the inflammatory process. Examples include bacteria, yeasts, inflammation of the middle ear, and chronic changes.
To wrap it all up, pet owners can tremendously help avoid dog ear infection in their dogs by making proper hygiene a regular habit. Likewise, if your dogs have to be involved in water activities like swimming, you have to dry them off completely and see to it that their ears are dry.