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DOG EAR INFECTIONS

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Causes, Signs, and Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs

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What causes ear infections in dogs? Usually, an underlying factor, such as allergies or immune disease, is responsible. Unless that underlying factor is identified and properly treated, the ear infection is likely to return. That’s why it’s important to visit your veterinarian as soon as you suspect your dog has an ear infection.

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How do I know if my dog has an ear infection?

Ear infections can cause significant discomfort for your dog. A dog in pain will shake its head and scratch its ears trying to relieve that discomfort. Be on the lookout for signs of ear infection in your dog.1 If you notice any of them, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.

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Left untreated, inflammation in the ear can lead to potential hearing loss and balance problems for your dog. It can also cause progressive changes in the ear canal that make the ear more susceptible to bacterial and fungal overgrowth and can result in chronic ear disease.2

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT EAR MITES IN DOGS
  • How can I tell if an ear infection is causing my dog pain?

    Pain is not always easy to identify in dogs. In addition to scratching or rubbing the ears, a dog in pain from an ear infection may become lethargic or withdrawn, display a loss of appetite, or become moody or irritable.4 If you notice an behavioral changes in your dog that concern you, contact your veterinarian.

    References: 1. 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. ‌‌2. Bajwa J. Canine otitis externa: treatment and complications. Vet Derm. 2019;60:97–99. 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. Allweiler S. Types of pain. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/special-pet-topics/pain-management/types-of-pain. Accessed September 9, 2020.

  • How do I know if my dog has an ear infection?

    Common signs of an ear infection include frequent scratching or rubbing of the ears, discharge from the ear, redness or swelling of the ear canal, and odor.1 If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.

     

    References: 1. 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. ‌‌2. Bajwa J. Canine otitis externa: treatment and complications. Vet Derm. 2019;60:97–99. 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. Allweiler S. Types of pain. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/special-pet-topics/pain-management/types-of-pain. Accessed September 9, 2020.

  • Is it possible for my dog to have infection in only one ear?

    Yes, ear infections may occur in either one or both ears.1

    References: 1. 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. ‌‌2. Bajwa J. Canine otitis externa: treatment and complications. Vet Derm. 2019;60:97–99. 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. Allweiler S. Types of pain. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/special-pet-topics/pain-management/types-of-pain. Accessed September 9, 2020.

  • Why does my dog keep getting ear infections?

    Some dogs are prone to ear infections. These include dogs with allergies, dogs with long or floppy ears, and dogs that like to swim or get wet.1 In addition, an underlying condition, such as allergies, can cause ear infections. In fact, allergies are the number one cause of ear infections.3 Your veterinarian will collect a detailed history to help uncover any underlying causes of your dog’s ear infection and to properly treat your dog to help keep the infection from recurring.

     

    References: 1. 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. ‌‌2. Bajwa J. Canine otitis externa: treatment and complications. Vet Derm. 2019;60:97–99. 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. Allweiler S. Types of pain. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/special-pet-topics/pain-management/types-of-pain. Accessed September 9, 2020.

  • Why should I visit my veterinarian if I suspect my dog has an ear infection?

    Your veterinarian will be able to uncover the primary reason for your dog’s ear infection and recommend a treatment plan specifically designed for dogs, and your dog in particular.

     

    References: 1. 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. ‌‌2. Bajwa J. Canine otitis externa: treatment and complications. Vet Derm. 2019;60:97–99. 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. Allweiler S. Types of pain. Merck Veterinary Manual website. Available at: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/special-pet-topics/pain-management/types-of-pain. Accessed September 9, 2020.