Ear infections are very common in pets. Here is some information to help you determine if your pet may have one and how to treat it if they do.
How do you know if your pet has an ear infection?
Common symptoms include: scratching at ears, debris in ear, foul odor from ear, redness or swelling inside the ear, hair loss around ears, rubbing head on floor or furniture, shaking head, or head tilt.
What causes an ear infection?
Ear infections are usually caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast. Often times trapped moisture from bathing, swimming, incorrect cleaning method, excess hair or wax, a tumor or foreign body in ear canal. Allergies can also aggravate the ears and cause or worsen ear infections. Some breeds are more prone to infections, especially those with floppy or hairy ears.
How can an ear infection be prevented?
Check the ears regularly for signs of infection. For dogs with a history of infections, clean the ear canals regularly with a solution recommended by your vet. Keep ears dry with a cotton ball or towel, especially after baths or swimming. Keep the opening of the ears free of hair, either by plucking the hair at home if the pet allows, or request your vet or groomer to do so.
How to clean the ears:
Use an ear cleaning liquid only. Do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide; they can irritate a sore ear. Fill the ear canal with the ear cleaner. You can also moisten a cotton ball with the cleaner and place it in the ear canal. It helps to elongate the cotton ball into a “torpedo” shape and then feed it into the ear canal to ensure it gets deep enough to reach the debris. Squeeze the base of the ear listening for a “squishing” sound. Let the pet shake their head to help release debris trapped deep in the ear canal. Remove moist cotton ball and replace with dry cotton ball; squeeze ear again. Remove cotton ball. Wipe out debris and excess cleaner with cotton balls until they come out clean. Do not use Q-tips or paper towels.
If you are concerned your pet may have an ear infection, give us a call at (218)751-2753. We’d be happy to set up an appointment with a doctor to have the ears checked and also show you how to treat them.