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Dog scratches ear, shakes head, red ear, bad odor = dog has ear infection!

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Apr 15, 2010
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Dog scratches ear, shakes head, red ear, bad odor = dog has ear infection!

Someone had a dog who had an ear infection. She didn't know that her dog had an ear infection so the condition was left untreated. Eventually, her vet told her that the ear infection was so severe that the dog required surgery. Surgery for dogs is expensive! Treat your dog's ear infection with medication before the condition becomes worse and requires surgery.

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
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jaxx lite wrote:
Jul 9th, 2010 9:24 pm
Wet ears not dried after swimming or bathing
especially problematic for those with floopy/droopy ears :(
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We didn't dry our puppies ears properly after a bath and ended up giving her an ear infection :( Her biggest symptom was that sometimes while scratching herself or us touching her ear area, she'd yelp.

Really easily treated if caught early.
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Oct 19, 2004
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one of the main culprits which causes ear infections, and is often overlooked by most owners (and the majority of vets)...can be attributed to grains!

normally if its chronic (recurring, even after medication), the first thing that one might want to eliminate in the affected pets diet is all grains and its as simple as that....

to maintain and clean ears, use witch hazel and no alcohol (which can be an irritant and drying)

I've seen too many dogs continuously suffering from chronic ear infections, and when then owner has exhausted all avenues of treatments available to them, then they change their dogs diet by removing grains....it clears up and doesn't come back.

typically an elimination diet (removing known allergans) will help identify the causes, allowing the owner to prevent it from recurring again.
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Personally, it's inconceivable to me how a dog owner would not immediately respond to the tell-tale signs of discomfort in their dog. A dog scratching and shaking its head all the time is an immediate sign that something's up.

I'm diligent with keeping every detail of my bully's body clean and dry. Nothing goes undetected or untreated in my home. I will also politely approach a dog owner I don't know if I spot discomfort with their dog. If I can immediately spot these things, I certainly think the owner of a dog is aware there are issues unless they're incredibly daft or cheap or both.
The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it. - Anonymous
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1V4N wrote:
Jul 9th, 2010 10:42 pm
I've seen too many dogs continuously suffering from chronic ear infections, and when then owner has exhausted all avenues of treatments available to them, then they change their dogs diet by removing grains....it clears up and doesn't come back.
can you give examples of grains?

do you mean whole wheat bread? cookies? cereal?

thanks for info
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jaxx lite wrote:
Jul 10th, 2010 12:27 am
can you give examples of grains?

do you mean whole wheat bread? cookies? cereal?

thanks for info
grains can be found in a majority of the big box stores and supermarket pet foods as well as a majority of the veterinary brands

here is a quick list of the grains from the top of my head: rice, barley, oats, rye, wheat...and of course their glutens

they are also used in breads/cereals/cookies/pasta....and in alot of pet treats as well (baked and moist)

I strongly suggest reading the back of all the food/treats ingredient list to see if any grains are used
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okaywithme wrote:
Jul 9th, 2010 11:11 pm
Personally, it's inconceivable to me how a dog owner would not immediately respond to the tell-tale signs of discomfort in their dog. A dog scratching and shaking its head all the time is an immediate sign that something's up.

I'm diligent with keeping every detail of my bully's body clean and dry. Nothing goes undetected or untreated in my home. I will also politely approach a dog owner I don't know if I spot discomfort with their dog. If I can immediately spot these things, I certainly think the owner of a dog is aware there are issues unless they're incredibly daft or cheap or both.
+1. I also examine my pet's body thoroughly on a very regular basis. If he has an eye boogie, its immediately removed. If he has some burr or branch stuck to his hair, its immediately removed. If he had a new mosquito bite I'd know about it. Owners should be more diligent about examining their pets on a daily basis. If you start while the dog/cat is still young, it also helps get the animal used to being touched all over and having its body examined without putting up a fuss. I just don't know how an ear infection could go unnoticed for so long.
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How do you guys deal with keeping your dog's ears dry or dried after/during a bath?

I have a chihuahua mix so she has pointed up ears. When I give her a bath, I used to try putting cotton balls in her ears but they would fall out. After a bath, I try to dry it out with a tissue but I am never really 100% sure it's all dry and whether whatever's left will cause an infection.

I also have some ear cleaner solution but it's so difficult getting my dog to comply when I use it. :/
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Feb 22, 2007
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amz155 wrote:
Jul 10th, 2010 11:10 am
+1. I also examine my pet's body thoroughly on a very regular basis. If he has an eye boogie, its immediately removed. If he has some burr or branch stuck to his hair, its immediately removed. If he had a new mosquito bite I'd know about it. Owners should be more diligent about examining their pets on a daily basis. If you start while the dog/cat is still young, it also helps get the animal used to being touched all over and having its body examined without putting up a fuss. I just don't know how an ear infection could go unnoticed for so long.
I'm glad to know I'm not the only obsessive dog owner out there! I'm also an avid poop inspector (I know it's kind of gross). Nothing goes on with my dog without me knowing, especially an ear infection that has gone that far.

As for keeping the dog's ear dry during a bath, I just don't wash her head period. I have a handheld sprayer so I can control where I'm spraying the water. I clean her head using a wet towel separately from the bath.

And for making your dog accept ear cleaning, it boils down to training, training and training. Keep lots of treats ready, and start slow. Having a second pair of hands to keep the dog steady during the cleaning also helps.
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Aug 5, 2005
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What I regret with my previous dogs was to purchase commercialized dog food like Pedigree and Iams because the ingredients of "by-product" can in fact be from a leather boot or a dead-animal. *shudder* My previous golden retreiver had skin allergy which can be related to poor-quality commercialized dog food. He had to be place on several medications but still was not good as his immune system got worse.

If we had known about the commercialized dog food, we would have never used it. It's scary to think how much you love your pet when you are directly causing them to be ill. =(

Now, we use TLC Petfood (purchased online) and my new puppy has had no allergy problems.

In response to your dog with an ear infection, definitely take your pooch to the vet. The vet has anti-biotics w/ a syringe to help fight off the infection.
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jchin wrote:
Jul 10th, 2010 11:42 pm
As for keeping the dog's ear dry during a bath, I just don't wash her head period. I have a handheld sprayer so I can control where I'm spraying the water. I clean her head using a wet towel separately from the bath.
yeah i do that as well. for times that we don't have a handheld nozzle, we use a basin of water for pouring to avoid the head. makes things easier in the end rather than dropping them into a bathtub full of water or what not :)
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Jun 3, 2006
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my dog has an ear infection but he wont let us put the medication in his ear, every time we try he starts to get aggressive and start kicking and biting, even with 3 people holding him down he still moves around and there just no way we can clean his ear and apply the medication. Anyone have any idea or other form of medication (pills) for his ear infection
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We have a chocolate lab ABBY , and she has a yeast infection in one ear. This is a known desease with dogs with long and dropping ears.

After numerous vet visits, tests and switching foods, so is currently on GO all stages, it was foudn not to be a food/grain alergy.
But due to winter months ears get infected quickly as drying in house with heat on.

We have found with cleaning her ears a few things, ABBY hates it, but we make it most comfortable time as possible:

We tell ABBY her ears need to be cleaned. She runs and hides under table, we then call her and ABBY comes with head down, then we proceed to clean ear in one if 2 ways dependant on how bad, cotton ball with ear cleaner or pour a few drops direct in ear. We then message ear, if she yelps we know its a bad one and ease off and use medicine afterwords. After we have cotton ball out, she shakes here head, then we use another 2-3 dry cotton balls and clean up excess if lots.

Aftewords she goes bezerk running around and jumping on couches, we calm ABBY down quickly by saying ABBY was a good girl getting ear cleaned, do you want a TREAT, we then give her a heathy treat and ABBY is happy again till next cleaning.
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Sep 24, 2006
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I took my kitty Bootsie with the same symptoms. Vet took swabs & it wasn't mites it was a fungus infection. We got sucolan which if for cats & dogs. Now day two of the medicine and she stopped scratching her ears and she is a changed cat.
Good Luck!!
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