If you’re like most of our clients at Manchaca Road Animal Hospital, you absolutely adore your pooch. You love everything about them dearly. The way they perk up whenever they see you coming, the way they bark, and the way they blissfully wag their tail! Therefore, as a good pet parent you want your dog to constantly be robust and in good health. So, what if your dog is relentlessly scratching his ears? Could it possibly be an infection?
If you notice that your dog has a foul odor from his ears, shakes his head constantly, tilts his head to one side or scratches his ears, this could be a sign of an infection in your dog’s ears. Ear infections are most often caused by yeast such as Malassezia or a bacteria such as Pseudomonas. This infection develops in the ear canal of dogs from all ages and breeds. Chronically itchy ears are almost always present with yeast infections and may be an indication of another underlying allergy.
Your doggie’s ear is the perfect breeding ground for yeast because it thrives in moist and dark environments. If your dog has floppy ears it is even more prone to these infections. Dogs with ears hanging down loosely, like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds, or dogs with hairy inner ear flaps, like Miniature Poodles and Schnauzers, are more prone to ear infections. Oxygen and sunlight are yeast’s natural enemies. Therefore, if your dog has ears that stick up they usually have less trouble with ear yeast infections.
The best way to diagnose an ear infection in your dog’s ears is to find the organism under a microscope. At Manchaca Road Animal Hospital we obtain samples from the infected area by swabbing inside of the ear canal and applying it to a glass slide. Then, we stain the slide and look at it under the microscope to identify what organisms are present. This way we can prescribe the right medication.
An ear infection can be a most often a frustrating ailment that takes commitment on the owner’s part. You can effectively conquer your dog’s ear problems by keeping the whole dog healthy and clean. Diagnosis and treatment of any underlying cause for ear infections can help prevent a chronic ear problem. In addition weekly ear cleanings with a product which cleans and dries the ear canal is recommended.