A dog that is scratching around the ear – or inside of the ear – may be in need of veterinary attention. While some dogs are just scratchers, there are a lot of other things that could be causing this behavior. New Bedford pet owners need to be aware of the common causes of ear scratching, which can be indicative of serious ear infections and other conditions that require treatment at your local veterinary clinic in Dartmouth. Ear infections are common in dogs because their ear canal is vertical, which makes it easy for moisture and debris to become stuck inside the canal. Humans have an ear canal that is horizontal, which helps to keep our ears clear of debris and excess moisture from showers and swimming.
How to Identify an Ear Infection
So how can you tell if your dog is just itchy or if he is suffering from something more serious, such as ear mites, wax build-up or an infection that requires treatment? If your dog suddenly starts scratching the inside or outside area of the ear or if the scratching persists in the same spot for a couple of days, it could indicate common canine ear infections or other issues. Also be on the look out for any discharge or odors coming from the affected ear. Check for swelling redness, scabs or crusty, dry skin around the outside of the ear, as well as hair loss.
Excessive scratching that requires immediate attention at your Anchor Animal Hospital veterinary clinic in Dartmouth can be observed in a dog that is shaking or tilting his head, as well as rubbing the ear on the floor or the furniture. Sometimes these symptoms are accompanied by a loss of balance or unusual movements of the eyes, hearing loss and even walking in circles. An inner ear infection can really cause a lot of other symptoms, so it is important to pay attention before your dog’s condition gets worse.
What You Need to Know
While all breeds can be susceptible to conditions that might require ear infection treatments for dogs, there are some dogs that are more prone to getting ear infections than others. Dogs that have allergies, as well as dogs that have longer “floppy” ears, have a predisposition to the development of common canine ear infections. Dogs that produce excessive wax or have excessive hair growth within the ear canal itself are also more likely to get an ear infection or other type of ear-related condition than other dogs.
Prevention is the best approach, especially if you have a dog that is at-risk for common canine ear infections. New Bedford pet owners should check their dog’s ears on a regular basis for odor, redness and discharge. The outer ear can be cleaned with a cotton ball and a cleaning solution that is recommended by the veterinary clinic in Dartmouth. Your vet may also suggest a specific time frame for cleaning your dogs ears to prevent build-up. Your dog’s ears should be dried completely after taking a bath or swimming to prevent moisture build-up from occurring. Your groomer can remove excessive hair from the outer ear canal to reduce your dog’s chances or getting an ear infection.
Bringing Your Dog to the Vet
When you identify that your dog may have an infection, obstruction or condition that requires professional ear infection treatments for dogs, bring him into the Anchor Animal Hospital veterinary clinic in Dartmouth. We see pets from New Bedford pet owners and pet owners from the surrounding South Coast area, including Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Your vet will usually be able to diagnose the ear infection just by performing an examination of the ear drum and ear canal. If the area is very painful and the dog is sensitive, this could potentially require the dog to be sedated during the procedure.
If ear discharge is present, your veterinarian may examine it to determine whether yeast, parasites or bacteria are the cause of the common canine ear infections. When bacteria is a concern, it is likely that your vet will test a sample of the ear discharge to determine the exact cause of the infection. This will affect the ear infection treatments for dogs to help clear up the infection and get your dog feeling healthy as quickly as possible. Other testing may be required if the cause is not visibly clear, such as thyroid testing for an under-active thyroid. There are many different things that could cause ear infections and ear pain in dogs, so it is important to get a proper diagnosis in order to get the best ear infection treatments for dogs.
If you suspect that your dog might be suffering from common canine ear infections or are concerned about another condition, make an appointment at the Anchor Animal Hospital veterinary clinic in Dartmouth. We have a team of highly trained and specialized veterinarians on staff who can help to diagnose your dog’s condition and provide ear infection treatments for dogs for quick healing and recovery. New Bedford pet owners should schedule at least an annual check-up for all dogs to review health status, diet and other issues that can contribute to your best friend’s longevity and happy life.