Dogs are prone to contracting some type of ear infection because of the L-shape of their ear canals that tend to hold fluid potentially infected with bacteria.
Dogs with floppy ears like that of a Basset Hound or a Cocker Spaniel are more likely to have an ear infection; generally, 20% of dogs have some degree of an infection. In most cases the affected area is the layer of cells on the external part of the ear canal; this degree of infection is medically referred to as otitis externa, any deeper infections are a result of this initial infection.
In some cases both ears can be infected, however, remedial procedures are available and fairly simple. Brief symptoms of an ear infection in your dog’s ear include:
- Dark discharge from the ear
- Crusting or scabs in the ear
- Irritation or itchiness
- Swelling or redness of the ear canal
Now on to addressing the infection; first and foremost pay your vet a visit as soon as possible, the last thing you want is the infection worsening. Be prepared to give your vet a timeline on the infection’s progression, thereafter they will perform some physical examinations, if the case is severe they may sedate your dog to perform the examination within the deeper regions of the ear canal.
With regards to the treatment of the infection, the vet will perform a thorough cleanse in your dog’s ear with a medicated cleanser. In some cases, your dog may be prescribed some ear cleanser and medication to use at home. Your dog will recover from milder infections within 1 to 2 weeks, but severe cases may take months to clear up, minimum. This is why prevention is always best; excess moisture is the main culprit behind ear infections, so ensure that your dog’s ears are thoroughly dried after baths or swimming.