The most common disorder of the ear canal in dogs is called otitis externa. This condition occurs when the layer of cells lining the ear canal becomes inflamed. Many different factors can cause otitis in dogs.
Some of these factors, such as parasites, external objects, and allergies, seem to cause inflammation directly. While others, such as certain bacteria, yeasts, or a middle ear infection, perpetuate the condition. To complicate matters further, the shape of the ears or the ear canals may predispose these animals to develop otitis externa.
The identification of these factors is key to the successful control of inflammation. Unless all causes are identified and treated, the condition may return. Based on these factors, the veterinarian can determine if the disease can be cured or if long-term or even life-long treatments are necessary.
How to detect otitis in dogs
The symptoms of otitis externa are quite distinct and can begin when your dog shakes or bows his head frequently. Also, you can see it in your ear, rubbing or scratching furniture around your ear. If you look inside his ear, you can observe:
- Reddish or brown secretions
- Strong smell
- Crusts or scabs inside the ear
If your dog additionally exhibits unusual eye movements, is walking in circles, or has problems with its balance, it may be time for the veterinarian to examine it more deeply to rule out a more acute infection.
Your dog may require sedation or anesthesia to allow a complete examination, especially if he has a sensitive ear, if the canal is blocked with secretion or extended inflammatory tissue, or if the animal is not cooperative.
The best treatment of otitis in dogs is prevention. Be sure to inspect your dog’s ears regularly. Stay alert for unusual temperature changes, changes in skin color or condition, sudden increases in humidity, or other modifications.
Also, it is prudent to do a proper cleaning to your pet’s ears. Do not use anything that can push debris or other material into the ear canal. Avoid applying liquids to remove the wax from your dog’s ears.
The veterinarian can show you the proper way to clean your friend’s ears, as well as the use of drying accessories in the ears of dogs that swim frequently. And how to prevent water from entering the ear canals during the bath.
In some cases, and always under the supervision of a professional, trimming the hair inside the earbud and around the ear canal improves ventilation and decreases moisture in the ears. This hair should not be removed if it is not causing any problems.
Treatment of otitis in dogs
To treat otitis in dogs, the veterinarian must identify and correct any underlying cause. Any pain should also be managed. Usually, the area of hair around the ear will be trimmed to improve cleaning and home treatment.
Because topical treatments can be eliminated with the secretion of the ears or with an excess of earwax, the veterinarian will probably clean them gently and then dry them before starting the treatment.
In animals with sensitive ears, proper cleaning requires anesthesia. Follow the advice of the specialist to continue the treatment at home. Generally, you will be advised to wait to begin cleaning the ears at home after a new appointment, around the next seven days.
When applied correctly, the ideal medicine will cover the layer of cells that line the outer ear canal in the form of a thin film. Medications administered by the specialist, orally, or by injection to treat otitis in dogs, will probably be included in the long-term care regimen.
Most topical medications for otitis in dogs contain a combination of antibiotics, antifungals, and glucocorticoids. The veterinarian will prescribe the most appropriate according to the particular case of your dog.
Irritating agents should be avoided as home remedies based on vinegar dilution. These cause swelling of the lining of the ear canal and an increase in glandular secretions, which predispose to bacterial or fungal infections.