Our veterinarian near Danville answers many questions about pet care. Many pet owners wonder what causes ear infections in dogs, for example. Ear problems affect about 20 percent of dogs, according to the American Kennel Association, and infections make up a large part of ear problems. Ear infections are particularly a problem for dogs with floppy ears, such as Bassett Hounds and Cocker Spaniels.

Causes and Symptoms of Ear Infections

There are different types of canine ear infections, depending on which part of the ear is affected. Otitis externa affects the cells lining the external portion of the ear, similar to swimmer’s ear in people. Otitis media affects the middle part of the ear canal, while otitis interna is an infection deep inside the skull. Otitis media and otitis interna usually go together and can start from an external ear infection.

Dogs are vulnerable to ear infections because of the structure of their ears. A dog’s ear canal is much longer than is a human ear canal, and it is L-shaped. Because of this, fluid drains poorly from a dog’s ear. This makes the ear canal more susceptible to infections and other ear problems when bacteria, yeast, fungus, viruses or mites enter the ear canal to find a warm, moist place to grow. Allergies, wax buildup and foreign bodies may also cause an ear infection.

All types of ear infections can be painful, particularly otitis media and otitis interna. Signs and symptoms of ear infection include:

  • Head shaking or holding the head tilted to one side
  • Abnormal ear odor
  • Scaly skin inside the ear flap
  • Whining, especially when the ear is touched or rubbed
  • Pawing at the affected ear
  • Redness and swelling
  • Itchiness around the ear

Ear infections can develop into severe problems, such as deafness or facial paralysis. In some cases, ear infections can a vestibular disease that causes loss of balance and lack of coordination. Signs of the vestibular disease include head tilt, circling, and nausea.

A simple ear infection on the outside of your dog’s ear can spread quickly to the inner ear to cause serious effects, so early diagnosis and treatment are essential for the health and well-being of your four-legged friend.

Veterinarian Care for Ear Infections in Danville

Vet care begins with a comprehensive evaluation that includes an examination of your dog’s ear, discussing any signs or symptoms you may have noticed, and a review of your pet’s health history. Our vet will ask about the duration of symptoms, whether your dog has allergies or is on any medications. X-rays, biopsies and tissue cultures may be necessary to determine the extent and cause of the infection.

Treatment for canine ear infections may include a thorough cleaning, prescription medications, and antibiotics. Our veterinarian may prescribe medication to relieve pain or steroids to reduce swelling.

Contact Our Veterinarian in Danville for More Information Today!

Tassajara Veterinary Clinic is conveniently located at 3436 Camino Tassajara in Danville, CA. Make an appointment for vet care by contacting us at 925-736-8387.