One of the Most Common Conditions in Dogs - What You Should Know
When working in general practice veterinary medicine, there are things we see all the time. One is ear infections. Ear infections represent one of the top 10 reasons dogs are brought to veterinarians and they may affect up to 20 percent of dogs. Ear infections can be very hard to deal with. They're not always identified properly, they can be painful and difficult to treat - and they can come back.
I ran into an owner the other day that told me they spent over $700 treating their dog's ear infections over the last 3 years. (Ear infections are common in dogs with allergies, which their dog also had.) The dual diagnosis meant that their dog was dealing with two problems at once and you could tell the poor thing didn't feel good.
Treatment for ear infections usually consists of using medications directly in the ear. It can take a couple of weeks to fully recover from the average ear infection. If your dog has chronic infections, like the patient I mentioned above, the treatment's not over even when the medication has run its course. You also have to find out the cause of the infection and prevent them from coming back.
It can take running ear cultures, administering different rounds of antibiotics, and giving aggressive cleanings to deal with the problem. Some dogs behave very well for their treatments and others become stressed out and scared.
Some of the most important things to know about ear infections is that they are common, they are easier to treat when you first see them or suspect a problem, and they can come back without proper treatment.
Here are a couple great articles:
Preventing and Treating Ear Infections
Home Care of the Dog with an Ear Infection
Ear Infections in Dogs - A Complete Guide to Why and What Your Vet Wants You To Know
What can you do to prevent ear infections? Check your dog's ears a couple of times a week (or sooner if you see your dog shaking his head or scratching at his ears). Keep an eye out for any discharge that is black, yellow, or bloody, swelling or redness, or any foul smells coming from your dog's ears. See your vet at the first sign of a problem.
One more tip - Don't forget to clean your dog's ears regularly using a gentle dog-safe cleanser to remove built up wax and discharge.