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Otitis Media in Dogs (Middle Ear Infection): Symptoms & Treatment

Otitis Media in Dogs (Middle Ear Infection): Symptoms & Treatment

Ear infections such as otitis media can cause your dog a great deal of discomfort. Today, our Renton vets discuss middle ear infections (otitis media) in dogs including the causes, signs, treatment, and prevention.

Moisture & Your Dog's Ears

Dogs tend to be a lot more susceptible to ear infections than people because of the shape of their ear canals. If your dog swims a lot or has long floppy ears they will be even more prone to ear infections since moisture can become trapped in the ear and create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.

If your pup does get an infection, by seeing a vet early there's a good chance that it can be cleared up quickly and easily. Left untreated, ear infections in dogs can develop quickly and result in symptoms such as balance and coordination issues, pain, and in severe cases facial paralysis.

Otitis media is an ear infection of the middle ear, leading to inflammation and a build-up of fluid behind the eardrum. Below, our vets discuss the signs of treatment of this condition, and how you can help prevent it.

Signs of Otitis Media

Ear infections can be very painful or uncomfortable for your pooch. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection, contact your veterinarian immediately to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of any ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing and reduce the chances of complications.

If your dog is suffering from an ear infection, they may show one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pawing or rubbing at the ear
  • Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
  • Odor in the ear
  • Redness inside of the ear
  • Head shaking
  • Tilting head
  • Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
  • Swelling of the ear

If your dog's ear infection is more severe you may notice additional symptoms such as:

  • Indications of hearing loss
  • Loss of coordination or balance
  • Unusual eye movements
  • Walking in circles

Treating Ear Infections in Dogs

If your dog has an ear infection your vet will take the time to clean your dog's ear with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications appropriate for treating your pet's ear infection. Your veterinarian may also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.

When ear infections are diagnosed and treated in the early stages, an uncomplicated ear infection will typically clear up within just a week or two. If your dog's ear infection is more severe or is caused by an underlying health condition, treatment may be more challenging and may take months to resolve. Unfortunately, more severe cases can result in chronic ear infections in dogs or repeated ear infections throughout the pet's lifetime.

Following your veterinarian's instructions very carefully will be essential to clear up your dog's ear infection as quickly as possible. Not finishing prescriptions, or stopping treatment before the infection has completely cleared can lead to a recurring infection that becomes increasingly difficult to treat.

Follow-up appointments with your vet are highly recommended when it comes to dog ear infections. While it may look as if the infection has cleared there may still be traces of infection that are difficult for owners to spot. Finishing treatment before the infection has fully healed can lead to recurring symptoms that are difficult to treat.

Preventing Canine Ear Infections

Our vets believe that prevention is always better than treatment when it comes to ear infections. To help prevent your pup from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your pet's ears clean and dry.

Speak to your vet about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears every week, and always dry your dog's ears whenever they come out of the water.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing signs of an ear infection? Contact our Renton vets who can refer you to a veterinarian that can care for your pup.

New Patients Welcome By Referral

Northwest Animal Eye Specialists is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the eye health of animals. Talk to your vet today about getting a referral to our Renton or Kirkland clinics.

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