Why Your Dog Has Ear Problems

Why Your Dog Has Ear Problems

Your cocker spaniel Coco is driving herself nuts, as she violently shakes her head and rubs her ears on the floor. Between those episodes, Coco furiously scratches and digs at her ears like her life depends on it. You also saw some nasty black discharge in her ears this morning. Coco’s got some type of ear problem, as the space between her outside ear opening and eardrum can attract varied irritants. You’ve asked your Park County veterinarian to diagnose and treat Coco’s maddening ear symptoms.

Ear Anatomy and Skin Allergies

While Coco has slightly floppy ears, dogs such as bloodhounds and basset hounds really have long hanging ears and little ear ventilation. This means yeast and bacteria can run rampant in these dogs’ ears. Other breeds suffer from skin allergies that can lead to chronic ear inflammation, eventually erupting into a full-fledged ear infection. Chronic ear infections can lead to compromised ear tissues and perhaps a ruptured eardrum. Now the infection gets a fast track to Coco’s middle and inner ear, causing Coco to tip off balance and weave a bit while she walks.

Ear Mites and Ticks

Contagious ear mite infestations exhibit a waxy-appearing black discharge. If Coco falls victim to these vicious little parasites, she’ll itch and scratch herself into oblivion. Ticks also look for a free ride on little Coco, as the little blood suckers attach themselves to the inside of your pooch’s ears. These unwelcome visitors can cause irritation and might even block Coco’s ear canal. Then, Coco’s ears will lose their normal ventilation, and her hearing might suffer.

Bacteria and Yeast

Coco’s ear canal lining regularly hosts a controlled bacteria and yeast population. While these little organisms generally cause minimal impact, optimum growth conditions allow their populations to explode. If that occurs, Coco’s ears will become irritated and inflamed, will emit a nasty discharge, and will stink to high heaven.

Treatment Protocol

First, your Park County vet will clean Coco’s ears, probably under sedation or anesthesia so she doesn’t experience discomfort. He’ll prescribe ear medications, generally placing the ointment or drops directly into her ears. Finish the entire medication course even if you think her problem has disappeared.

To reduce the chances of future problems, clean Coco’s ears with a vet-approved solution. Resolve her skin problems quickly, and stay alert for foreign objects in her ears. Head off developing conditions before they cause Coco real discomfort.

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