Ear Care: Treatment
Dog Ear QuickLinks
Bacteria is considered to be the primary cause of a dog ear infection, however it is fairly related to other factors as well. Primary (originates in the ear) and secondary (caused by another problem)ear infections might occur. Different species of bacteria can cause primary canine ear infections once the microbial population increases. On the other hand, fungus and parasites such as fleas, ticks and mites can cause a primary infestation and opportunistic bacteria surely can cause secondary infections as the immune system depresses as the disease progresses, a process called pathogenesis.
Allergies, environmental factors and stress are some other possible preliminary factors for canine ear infections, in which severe symptoms such as itchiness are noted even in sub clinical infections.
The canine ear canal has three different parts or tubular anatomical distributions in the ear. These parts are divided into the external, middle and internal ears. Ear infections are classified as otitis externa, media and interna respectively. Otitis externa (external or outer ear infection) is considered the simplest form as it can be easily diagnosed and thus treated. Otitis media and interna are comparatively complicated forms, and are hard to diagnose and treat.
Inflammation is the major sign of ear infection. All components of a typical inflammatory response, i.e. pain, swelling, redness (due to increased blood supply), partial loss of function etc can be noted. Some additional symptoms such as itchiness, yellowish to brownish discharges and foul ear smell are are noted due to anatomical disturbances caused by the infection.
An affected dog experiences severe itchiness and thus shakes its head and scratches itself. In advanced stages of infection, and due to self injury from scratching, this can lead to complications such as lesions, which are crusty and are filled with pus. A patient can thus experience severe pain and if it is not treated, the physiology of ear can become disturbed. Partial or complete dog ear deafness along with an irrecoverable physiological deformity can occur.
Ear infections that occur in the outer part of the ear are easy to diagnose when examined, while those in the middle and internal ear require a detailed clinical examination along with the culturing and isolation of possible bacterial agents from the ear discharge.
When diagnosing ear infections in dogs, it is also required that other possible factors such as parasites, fungus and allergies be diagnosed for confirmation of the cause of the dog ear problem.
Specific treatment is accomplished by using prescribed antibiotics; other drugs such as anti fungal and anti parasitic medications might also be needed in cases where the ear infection is diagnosed as being a secondary infection. These drugs are either used topically or orally, and sometimes in both forms. Mild infections can be treated with natural preparations as well.
Along with the use of drugs, cleaning dog ears with a quality ear cleaner/ antiseptic preparations is compulsory during recovery; discharges, debris and causative agents should be thoroughly be cleared.In support to enhance recovery and the restoration of immune and health status, supportive measures are practiced such as the use of supplements, symptomatic cures and natural remedies such as Ear Dr. to strengthen the ear and to strengthen the immune system, Immunity & Liver Support Formula.