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DOG EAR INFECTIONS

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Ear Infections in Dogs

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Ear infections in dogs is the number one reason for veterinary visits among dog owners.1 A common ear infection in dogs is otitis externa, a condition involving inflammation of the outer ear canal. The outer ear becomes red, swollen. This causes bacteria and yeast, usually present in low numbers in the ear canal, to grow abundantly, which leads to infection.

 

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Why do dogs get ear infections?

To understand why ear problems are so common in dogs, it helps to know a little about the shape of a dog’s ear.

The ear canal of a dog is very different than that of a human. It is deeper and more angled than a human’s—like the letter “L.” Because the ear canal has both a vertical and a horizontal component, debris must work its way up to exit the ear, rather than straight out as in the human ear. 

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Ear problems in dogs: are they serious?

Ear infections in dogs can cause significant discomfort for dogs as well as other problems, including potential hearing loss and balance problems. Ear infections can also reoccur often. That’s why it’s important to work with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s ear infection and understand how to clean your dog’s ears regularly.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT EAR CLEANING IN DOGS
  • What is otitis externa?

    Otitis externa is one of the most common ear infections in dogs. The condition involves inflammation of the outer ear canal. The outer ear becomes red and swollen. This causes bacteria and yeast, usually present in low numbers in the ear canal, to grow abundantly, causing infection. 

  • Which dogs are prone to ear infections?

    All dogs can get ear infections, but certain dogs are prone to them, including dogs with allergies, dogs with long or floppy ears, and dogs that like to swim or get wet.2

     

    References: 1. Pet ear infections. Nationwide Insurance website. Available at: https://phz8.petinsurance.com/pet-health/health-conditions/pet-ear-infections. Accessed July 21, 2020. 2. Overview of otitis externa. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/ear-disorders/otitis-externa/overview-of-otitis-externa. Accessed August 7, 2020. 3. Paterson S. Discovering the causes of otitis externa. In Practice website. Available at: https://inpractice.bmj.com/content/38/Suppl_2/7. Accessed August 7, 2020. 4. Nuttall T. Successful management of otitis externa. In Pract. 2016;38(Suppl 1):17–21.

  • Which types of allergies can cause ear infections?

    Skin allergy, which is caused by allergens in the air, such as pollen, is the most common type of allergy triggering ear infections in dogs. Other types include food allergy and contact allergy, which is caused by direct contact with an allergen that can irritate the skin.3

     

    References: 1. Pet ear infections. Nationwide Insurance website. Available at: https://phz8.petinsurance.com/pet-health/health-conditions/pet-ear-infections. Accessed July 21, 2020. 2. Overview of otitis externa. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/ear-disorders/otitis-externa/overview-of-otitis-externa. Accessed August 7, 2020. 3. Paterson S. Discovering the causes of otitis externa. In Practice website. Available at: https://inpractice.bmj.com/content/38/Suppl_2/7. Accessed August 7, 2020. 4. Nuttall T. Successful management of otitis externa. In Pract. 2016;38(Suppl 1):17–21.

  • Why are ear infections common in dogs?

    The ear canal of a dog is different than that of a human. It is deeper and more angled, like the letter “L,” which means that debris must work its way up to exit the ear, rather than straight out as in the human ear.

  • Why is controlling inflammation so important?

    Ongoing inflammation in the ear can lead to recurrent infection that may become harder to treat over time. Chronic inflammation can also cause changes in the ear that may worsen ear problems and make surgery necessary.4

     

    References: 1. Pet ear infections. Nationwide Insurance website. Available at: https://phz8.petinsurance.com/pet-health/health-conditions/pet-ear-infections. Accessed July 21, 2020. 2. Overview of otitis externa. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/ear-disorders/otitis-externa/overview-of-otitis-externa. Accessed August 7, 2020. 3. Paterson S. Discovering the causes of otitis externa. In Practice website. Available at: https://inpractice.bmj.com/content/38/Suppl_2/7. Accessed August 7, 2020. 4. Nuttall T. Successful management of otitis externa. In Pract. 2016;38(Suppl 1):17–21.

References: 1. Pet ear infections. Nationwide Insurance website. Available at: https://phz8.petinsurance.com/pet-health/health-conditions/pet-ear-infections. Accessed July 21, 2020. 2. Overview of otitis externa. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/ear-disorders/otitis-externa/overview-of-otitis-externa. Accessed August 7, 2020. 3. Paterson S. Discovering the causes of otitis externa. In Practice website. Available at: https://inpractice.bmj.com/content/38/Suppl_2/7. Accessed August 7, 2020. 4. Nuttall T. Successful management of otitis externa. In Pract. 2016;38(Suppl 1):17–21.