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Ear infections in dogs

Last post Jan 13, 2004 2:28 PM by itsjustme . 13 replies.


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  • Ear infections in dogs
    We have a beagle/dauchound mix who has long floppy ears. Because of this, she gets frequent ear infections (the ear hangs down over the ear canal and air doesn't get in there to dry it out). The vet gave us some stuff to clean her ears out and we have to clean her ears weekly (more if she has an infection) and I check her ears all the time to make sure she's not getting an infection.

    I have a friend who has a dauchound mix who has the same heavy, floppy ears. Yesterday I was visiting with her and I noticed her dog shaking his head and scratching at his ears. I said, "Oh, I bet Bingo has an ear infection, poor baby!" She said, "No, he just does that." I told her how our vet said that breeds with heavy floppy ears are prone to ear infections and I bent down and took a peek in Bingo's ears and sure enough, it looked like an ear infection! She said, "Oh, he just does that" ... (Yeah, because he has an EAR INFECTION, you dimwit!). I offered to give her a bottle of the ear cleaner stuff we have, but she said no, that Bingo has "always" shook his head like that.

    Now I'm concerned for poor Bingo with an untreated (and ongoing?) ear infection!

    Aside from the dog being miserable (and in Bingo's defense, he didn't seem in pain or anything), what are the medical ramifications of an untreated ear infection? Can't the dog eventually go deaf? Can't the infection eventually enter the blood stream? I even offered to clean Bingo's ears myself so she could see how easy it was, but her comment was that Bingo was her DD's dog (her DD is grown but lives at home) and if DD wanted to take Bingo to the vet and get it dealt with, she could.

    So, can an untreated ear infection lead to anything serious?
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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    Hi there...Sounds like your dog has ear MITES...which can cause the infection to occur. Yep it does need treatment...eventually the poor thing will scratch and itch and cause wounds to appear...or the infection will spread....I would think that the odor from it will eventually get her to treat the poor thing...
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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    Ridgetop, I don't know about mites, (and FWIW, it's not MY dog! *grin*, it's my NEIGHBOR'S dog!)

    I know that our dog, Spot, gets ear infections and the vet said it's from when moisture gets trapped in the ear canal and is unable to evaporate and/or escape because her ears are so floppy and heavy. It's just "one of those things" that happen to breeds of dogs with heavy, floppy ears (so says our vet).

    I assumed Bingo had the same problem because he also has the heavy, floppy ears and when I peeked in his ears, it looked like what Spot's ears look like when she has an infection.

    I didn't notice any odor nor did I notice any wounds in Bingo's ears. My neighbor said Bingo "always" shakes his head and scratches at his ears (which makes me think poor Bingo has chronic ear infections!) but I could be way off base, and maybe it's not an ear infection.

    I'm just concerned that if it IS an untreated ear infection, what might happen to poor Bingo? Deafness ...or even death if the infection enters the bloodstream?
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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    LOL Momma..yeah I knew it was your friends dog....not yours..see what happens when you are sleep deprived?? Yep..I've always had long earred dogs..and yes....it can be either moisture or mites...either way the infection can cause other problems including deafness...if left untreated...sounds like maybe you need to talk to her DD as it is HER dog??
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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    If your friend is married, tell her husband that the dog has an infection. Maybe that will help. Or show her what your dogs ears look like when thay are ok. I am surprised that Bingo's ears don't smell bad.

    My dog became deaf and his frequent ear infections were treated. And he had an eye disease that is common in dogs that get ear infections. (He was old when his eye got bad.)

    I feel so bad for Bingo
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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    Tell your friend to smell his ears...I bet they smell funky!

    Have you tried Revolution? It covers fleas, ticks, worms, and ear mites! My doggies had ear infections all the time before I started giving them this. Also, when your dog is sleeping...flip his ears up to let them breathe and air out.

    My dogs ears get groomed at the groomer every six weeks, too.
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    Rebecca

  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    Ear infections can be dangerous and it's also painful for the dog! It's very important to get it treated. I use a wonderful home remedy called Blue Ear Power, which you can make up from drug store ingredients.
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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    I have a doxie and I must clean is ears all the time. My dog does shake his head but if he does it alot I am usually aware that something more is going on.

    Here is some info. I found

    Ear infections are very common in dogs, although less so in cats. Two types are most often seen: otitis externa, infection of the external ear canal, and otitis media, infection of the middle ear. Although any dog or cat can get an ear infection, some breeds appear to be more prone than others. Dogs with pendulous ears, like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds, or dogs with hairy inner ear flaps, like Miniature Poodles and Schnauzers, tend to have a higher occurrence of ear infections. In cats, the Persian breed seems to be more prone to such infections.

    Most ear infections are easily and successfully treated. But if left untreated, they could result in serious damage.

    Causes
    Bacteria or yeast are most often the culprits of otitis externa. Other causes include an accumulation of wax, thick or matted hair in the ear canal, debris, a foreign body, a tumor or impaired drainage of the ear. Sometimes, infections of the external ear canal are a secondary result of some other bodily infection or ear mite infestation.

    Otitis media usually results from the spread of infection from the external ear canal to the middle ear. Also, foreign bodies, debris, ulceration or improper ear cleaning can rupture the eardrum and allow infection to reach the middle ear.

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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    Symptoms
    Ear infections are very uncomfortable for your pet. Your dog or cat will show his discomfort by shaking his head or scratching at his ears. Often, the ears will become red and inflamed with an offensive odor and perhaps a black or yellowish discharge. If your pet tilts his head constantly, it could be a sign of a middle ear infection.

    Diagnosis and Treatment
    Because many different culprits can be the cause of your pet's ear infection, it is important to have your cat or dog examined by a veterinarian, who can then determine the proper medication or treatment. Your veterinarian will also make sure the eardrum is intact, as some medications can result in hearing loss if administered to a pet with a ruptured eardrum.

    What is involved in an ear exam? Your veterinarian will use an otoscope-an instrument that provides light and magnification-to view the ear canal. He or she will determine whether or not the eardrum is intact and if any foreign material is present. If this is very painful to the pet, sedation or anesthesia may be necessary to complete the exam.

    Next, your veterinarian will take a sample of the material in the canal and examine it under a microscope. This is called cytology, and allows the doctor to determine the organism causing the infection. If more than one organism are culprits, multiple medications or a broad-spectrum medication is necessary.

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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    If your veterinarian finds a foreign body, a tick or a very heavy buildup of debris, sedation will likely be required to remove the irritant or to allow a thorough cleansing.

    A middle ear infection can be more difficult to clear up. Diagnosis and treatment may include lab tests, X-rays and even surgery. Four to six weeks may pass before the infection disappears, and often during this time you will be told to restrict the activity of your pet.

    For both types of infection, you should keep water from entering your pet's ears. Follow-up visits to your veterinarian are very important to make sure treatment is working and the infection has disappeared.

    Remember, the longer infection is present, the harder it is to get rid of it. If an ear infection goes untreated, your pet will continue to be in pain. Your pet's head shaking and scratching can cause further problems, such as broken blood vessels that require surgery to correct. Chronic infections can harm the eardrum and close the ear canal. Surgical reconstruction of the ear canal may then become necessary.

    Medicating
    Treatment prescribed by the doctor usually includes administering medication to and cleaning the ears daily for one to two weeks. Remember, your pet's ears are painful, and Fluffy or Fido might not appreciate what you are about to do, so use caution. Ask your veterinarian for a demonstration on how to treat the ears properly.

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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    Prognosis
    Most often, with proper diagnosis and treatment, your pet's ear infection will be cured. However, if ear infections are chronic or recurrent, an underlying problem, such as allergies or thyroid disease, may be the cause.

    Because cats are normally resistant to ear infections, other problems should be explored. Your cat may have an unusually shaped ear canal, or its immune system could be suppressed. Have your veterinarian test your cat for the feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), both of which affect the immune system. Also, diabetic cats tend to be prone to ear infections, so testing for diabetes may be indicated.

    Prevention
    Pet owners can help their pets avoid ear infections by practicing preventative care at home. This is especially important for those animals that have pendulous ears, have lots of hair in their ears, or have allergies or other medical problems that make them prone to ear infections. A weekly ear cleaning with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleansing solution can minimize or prevent infections. Such a cleaning provides other benefits, as well.

    "Weekly ear cleanings get the pet owner to really see the ear on a routine basis, allowing him or her to notice any early warning signs of infection," says AAHA veterinarian Dr. LeeAnn Dumars. "And they get the pet used to having its ears handled, making exams and medication administration easier when necessary."

    In addition to ear cleanings, pets with lots of hair on the inside ear flap should have those hairs plucked periodically by their groomer or veterinarian.

    "Pet owners with animals that have chronic ear problems must realize that life-long preventative care and maintenance will be necessary to ensure their pet's good health," says Dr. Dumars.

    Link: http://www.healthypet.com/Library/cat_dog_health-16.html
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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    Don't think I can add much to what's been said! Junkfood did a very thorough job!! LOL

    As for the neighbor ignoring you, if she says it's DD's dog, then talk to DD. The mom obviously isn't going to take responsibility.

    It seems like all the dogs I've had since I've been married have been prone to ear infections, so I know how nasty they can be.
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  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    Momma, we have a cocker spaniel that suffers from ear problems. If we keep up on the cleaning, she stays very healthy. There have been times though that she has become chronically infected. Twice it has affected more than her ears. It made her physically sick. It was like the infection was throughout her body or as you said, in her bloodstream. The vet gives her an antibiotic shot and she takes antibiotic pills. Also uses a ear drop mixture that works on ear bacterial and yeast infections. All of this aggressive treatment works well. We've don't have too many flare ups now as long as we keep her ears cleaned about once a week and give her maintenance doses of the pills and ear drops.
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    Some days, I can literally see the testosterone floating in the air around here. 

  • RE: Ear infections in dogs
    My dog recently had an infection. The vet told me that shaking his head is a symtom. The dog can actually rupture a vessel doing so and then surgury is required. I had to give our dog pills to calm him down for a few days so the itching didn't drive him crazy and he would stop itching and shaking his head.
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