Dog scratches ear, shakes head, red ear, bad odor = dog has ear infection!
If you see your dog constantly scratching his ear and shaking his head, bring him to the vet!
What are the symptoms of an ear infection?
A dog with an ear infection is uncomfortable; his ear canals are sensitive. He shakes his head trying to get the debris and fluid out, and scratches his ears. The ears often become red and inflamed and develop an offensive odor. A black or yellowish discharge commonly occurs.
How important is it to treat an ear infection?
Dogs with ear infections are miserable. Their ears are a source of constant pain resulting in head shaking and scratching. However, that is not the only problem. Head shaking and scratching can also cause broken blood vessels in the ear flap, requiring surgery, and chronic ear infections can penetrate the ear drum and result in an internal ear infection.
How common are ear infections in dogs?
Infections of the external ear canal (outer ear) by bacteria or yeast, are one of the most common types of infections seen in dogs.
Don't these symptoms usually suggest ear mites?
Ear mites can cause several of these symptoms, including a black discharge, scratching, and head shaking. Ear mite infections generally occur most commonly in puppies. Ear mites in adult dogs occur most frequently after a puppy carrying mites is introduced into the household. Sometimes ear mites will create an environment within the ear canal which leads to a secondary infection with bacteria and yeast (fungus). By the time the dog is presented to the veterinarian, the mites may be gone, but a significant ear infection remains.
Ear infections can be caused by any number of things. Wet ears not dried after swimming or bathing, a build up of ear wax, grass seeds and fox tails, untreated ear mites, using cotton tips to clean ears (which pushes things further into the ear), and growths in the ear canal, can all lead to ear infections.
If your dog is scratching at his ears, rubbing them, holding his head to one side, or down, shaking his head, or if they look bloody or waxy or swollen, they should be checked out. And if he cries when his ears are touched, this is another sign of a potential ear infection.
When untreated ear infections progress deeper into the ear, the pain the dog is in increases sharply. The dog may hold his head as still as possible, and to one side. And opening his mouth, or touching his head, will cause him pain. Dogs can also become dizzy, with poor balance and coordination, when the infection progresses to the inner ear. Dogs may walk around in circles, and vomit.
Ear infections are also related to skin allergies, especially food hypersensitivity dermatitis and canine atopy. Dogs with these conditions often develop inflamed ears. The dog's ears become very itchy, which creates an 'itch-scratch-itch' cycle that in turn creates scabs around the ear, hair loss, crustiness, and raw skin. The ear canals become filled with a brown wax.
Dog ear infection can be treated with medication prescribed by your vet.
If left untreated, the ear infection will become worse and require surgery.
Learn more about dog ear infection:
http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog ... ection.htm
http://pethealth.petwellbeing.com/wiki/ ... Infections
http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/293 ... auses.html