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Ear Infections in Dogs

Because the ear canal in dogs is mostly vertical (unlike a human ear canal that is horizontal), it is easy for debris and moisture to be retained in the ear canal. Ear disease usually stems from over-production of wax as occurs in response to irritation. Allergic skin disease affecting the ears is one possible cause, especially in recurring cases; other causes of ear infections include ear mites; foreign bodies such as grass awns or foxtails; or hair growth deep in the canal, which is especially common in poodles and schnauzers. The moisture of the wax promotes bacterial growth and infection. Soon wax in the ears is joined by pus.

Symptoms of Ear Infection

The following symptoms may indicate that your dog needs to have his ears checked by a veterinarian: Odour in the ear, head shaking or head tilt, scratching of the ear or area around the ear, brown, yellow, or bloody discharge, circling, pawing and scratching the head, crusts or scabs on inside of the outer ear. If your dog is showing any of the symptoms described above, he should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Ear infections can be very painful and if left untreated can harm both the ear canal and middle ear.

Treating Ear Infections

Most ear infections are cleared up simply with professional cleaning followed by medication at home. If there is only mild debris in the ear canals, simple disinfection and washing of the ear is adequate; however, in many cases, a full ear flush is needed to even examine the eardrum. A sample of ear discharge is commonly examined under the microscope to assist in selecting medications for home use. After a couple of weeks of home treatment, the ear canals are rechecked to be sure the infection is gone. In most cases this completes treatment but for stubborn cases, we must proceed to the next step. Some dogs have chronic ear problems in which the infection is not controlled by general medication or returns when general medication is discontinued. In these cases, the ear discharge should be cultured so that the precise organism can be pinpointed and treated specifically. Regular treatment at home with disinfecting ear washes should become part of the pet’s grooming routine.

How to prevent ear infection in dogs?

Check your dog’s ears regularly for abnormal discharge, odour and/or redness

If your dog’s outer ear appears dirty, clean gently with a cotton ball dampened with a solution suggested by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can make recommendations on how frequently you should clean your dog’s ears.

After baths and swimming, be sure to dry your dog’s ears thoroughly.

If your dog has excessive hair in the outer ear canal, it should be removed. A groomer can do this, or you can ask your veterinarian to show you the proper technique for removing the hair.

Written by Mehran Baroughi, DVM

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North Town Veterinary Hospital is committed to doing everything possible to combat the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

As part of this commitment, effective immediately, North Town Veterinary Hospital will be instituting the following precautionary protocol to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

For the safety of yourself, our staff, and the community we are limiting the amount of clients permitted inside of our building. We have initiated a semi- open door policy to allow one person inside the hospital while your pet is here for a scheduled exam. One person is also permitted inside the hospital for surgical drop offs. Our emergency services remain closed door to clients as our building does not allow for proper social distancing while waiting for the veterinarian. Please call 905-451-2000 when you arrive for your appointment, surgical drop off or emergency service to gain further direction from one of our team members. You can also place an order for pet food through our Online Store by visiting our website.

IMPORTANT NOTICE - OVERNIGHT CLOSURES
Due to the current veterinarian shortage in our industry, our emergency service will be closed overnight starting at 7:00 pm on the following dates: September 3, 2021 | September 4, 2021 | September 17, 2021 | September 18, 2021 | September 19, 2021 | September 26, 2021

For any after-hour emergencies, please refer to this list of clinics/hospitals.

EMERGENCY CASES

- If possible, please call us at 905-451-2000 to let us know you are on the way so that we can be prepared to meet you upon your arrival at the hospital.

- When you arrive, please stay in your vehicle in our parking lot and call 905-451-2000, and we'll come to you.

- If you do not have a phone or your pet's emergency is immediately life-threatening, please come to the front door and ring the bell.

Thank you in advance for your understanding.