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Ear Health

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When to See Your Veterinarian

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Routine ear exams are an important part of your dog’s wellness visits. During these visits, your veterinarian will examine your dog’s ears to determine your dog’s overall ear health and to check for any signs of inflammation or other ear problems. If you already suspect your dog has an ear infection, be sure to make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.

How are ear infections in dogs diagnosed and treated?

During your dog’s veterinary appointment, your veterinarian will:

  • Collect a detailed history to help uncover any underlying causes of your dog’s ear infection
    • Identifying and treating the underlying cause will help keep the infection from coming back
  • Examine your dog’s ears thoroughly
  • Develop a treatment plan based on your dog’s needs
    • In most cases, cleaning and medicating the ear canal will quickly clear up an infection
    • Your veterinarian may recommend a suitable ear cleaner for dogs and show you how to clean your dog’s ears at home
    • Sometimes, surgery may be needed for chronic infections or if forceful head shaking causes the rupture of a vessel within the outer part of the ear

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT EAR MITES IN DOGS
  • Can I treat my dog’s ear infection at home?

    You will need to visit your veterinarian to have your dog’s ear infection properly diagnosed. But once you are given treatment by your veterinarian, you can administer that treatment at home.

  • Can I wait to see if my dog’s ear infection goes away on its own?

    It is important that your dog be treated for an ear infection right away. Left untreated, ear infections can cause progressive changes in the ear that can lead to chronic, or lifelong, ear disease.2

     

    ‌‌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 September 9, 2020. 2. Bajwa J. Canine otitis externa: treatment and complications. Vet Derm. 2019;60:97–99.

  • How will my dog’s ear infection be treated?

    Your veterinarian will develop a treatment plan based on your dog’s needs. In most cases, cleaning and medicating the ear canal will quickly clear up your dog’s ear infection. In some cases, surgery may be needed for chronic infections or if forceful head shaking results in the rupture of a vessel within the outer part of the ear.

  • What if my dog is in too much pain for a physical examination?

    Your veterinarian will be able to determine your dog’s level of pain using a gentle touch. If the discomfort is too great, your dog may need to be sedated before any further testing is performed.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 September 9, 2020. 2. Bajwa J. Canine otitis externa: treatment and complications. Vet Derm. 2019;60:97–99.

  • 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.