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How Do I Know If My Dog Has an Ear Infection?

Ear infections are prevalent in dogs. It is especially true for pups with floppy ears, such as cocker spaniels and basset hounds. Ensuring you know how to detect such issues is essential to getting them to get better fast. 

If you live with your pooch at home, you should become familiar with the common signs of canine ear infections, the necessary steps you need to take, and the potential treatments.


Types of Dog Ear Infections 


Canine ear infections are typically categorized as otitis interna, media, and externa. Otitis externa is the most prevalent. It affects the cell layer that lines the outer part of your pooch's ear canal. 

On the other hand, otitis interna and media affect the internal and middle ear canals, respectively. In extreme cases, these two infections can result in vestibular signs, facial paralysis, or deafness. That is why preventing ear infections and seeking early treatment are vital.


Signs of Canine Ear Infections


Some pups may not exhibit signs of ear infection aside from discharge and wax buildup in the ear canal. However, these infections cause noticeable discomfort. Your affected furry companion may show symptoms like:

  • Scratching the affected ear

  • Itchiness

  • Odor

  • Pain

  • Scabs or crusting in the ears

  • Head shaking

  • Redness or swelling of the ear canal

  • Dark discharge


Diagnosing Canine Ear Infections


It is crucial to visit your pet doctor as soon as possible if your pooch shows any ear infection symptoms. Addressing the issues early makes your dog comfortable, as ear infections can be very painful. It also prevents the infections from spreading to the inner and middle ear. 

You need to provide a comprehensive history of the issue at your vet's. It is especially crucial if you are seeing a new vet or if it is a first-time infection. Your pet doctor will need information such as:

  • The duration of the symptoms, including odor, swelling, pain, and discharge

  • Your dog's diet

  • If your pup has underlying medical issues or allergies

  • If your pooch is on medications

  • Your dog's recent activities like swimming, grooming, or baths

  • If your dog has an ear infection history

  • How often do you clean their ears


Treating Canine Ear Infections


The above information will enable your vet to perform a physical examination. They can use technology such as a video otoscope where you can even see your pooch's ear condition in the exam room. 

It is an innovation that is crucial in diagnosing and treating dog ear issues and abnormal growths inside the ear. Your vet can use the endoscope containing a working channel to perform numerous tasks. They can deep clean your pup's ears, clean or flush behind ruptured eardrums, or remove tumors in the canal.




Ear infections are prevalent and recurrent in many pups. Visiting your vet can help keep your dog's ears healthy and clean. Seek immediate treatment for your dog if they show signs of an ear infection.

For more on dog ear infections, visit Eastern Animal Hospital at our Baltimore, Maryland office. Call (410) 633-8808 to schedule an appointment today.

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