Know From the Vet: Three Symptoms That Show Your Dog Has an Ear Infection

Ear infections are probably the most common problems for dogs in the United States. Veterinarians nationwide frequently see patients developing ear problems.

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The most typical is known as Otitis Externa or simply “inflamed outer ear.” Ear infections may also occur in the center and inner ear, but these are not as common as otitis externa. Even though otitis may often be caused by a bacterial infection, there are lots of other causes and further complicating aspects, such as fungal infection, parasites and allergic disease.


It is most important for a dog owner to be familiar with the symptoms and know when to contact the vet. Without proper treatment, ear infections will be agonizing and can spread to the inner ear, leading to several other systemic symptoms such as facial paralysis or staggering.

In fact, inflammation that remains in the outer ear may result in hearing disability. Ear infections are likely to be chronic and not easy to handle even in the best cases, and hesitation in trying to find help simply allows the problem to take a firmer hold on your dog’s ears.

Should you recognize any of these signs, take notice and examine your dog for the other symptoms. Your dog might have otitis and will be needing your help.

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1. If your dog happens to be shaking his head or scratching at his ears, he is attempting to let you know something is wrong. Ear inflammation and infection may cause itchiness. And because our dogs don’t have fingers to rub or scratch, they would make use of their back legs to scratch their ears or rub their ears on the ground or even on furniture.

If you noticed the problem when it’s first starting, and it’s still at the itching stage, you may possibly be able to stop it before it advances to the next two symptoms.

2. There shouldn’t be any bad smell or discharge from the ears. Normal ears are dry and don’t smell notably bad. They must be lined with skin that is the exact same color as your dog’s normal skin, not bright red.

If you raise your dog’s ear and smell something bad or see bright red skin, you should call your vet now. If you notice a reddish brown discharge (or actually ANY discharge) do not dash to the feed store for “ear mite” medicine. Adult dogs hardly ever have ear mites and you would only complicate things with an unnecessary solution in the ear. You might also teach your dog to stay away from you because they’re scared you’ll give them more medication.

3. If your dog cries whenever you scratch his ears, there’s a problem. While it’s a fact that the ears are extremely sensitive and have many nerves, normal ears shouldn’t hurt with regular petting or scratching or even rough play.

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If your dog cries when you touch his ear or appears to try to stay away from you touching them, it is advisable to call your vet. Normal petting shouldn’t be uncomfortable for your dog and she is attempting to let you know something is wrong.

Most cases of otitis are associated with allergic disease, which – sad to say – is not treatable. However your veterinarian can assist you in searching for a recipe to manage the signs and symptoms and make your dog at ease.

Please do not disregard these three warning symptoms, and your dog will surely thank you for it.

If you love dogs and would like to know more, you may contact Dr. Primm on Facebook through this link.

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