Ear Problems in Dogs

According to the Pet Insurance industry, the most common reason for an owner to take his or her dog to the veterinarian is an ear problem. Ear problems are common in many breeds of dogs but are particularly common in those dog breeds who have long floppy ears, such as Cocker Spaniels and Hound Dogs. Ear infections in dogs most commonly involve the external or outer ear canal, whereas in people the middle ear is more commonly involved. Infections caused by bacteria or yeast are most frequently seen although ear mites ( a small parasite that lives in the ears of dogs and cats) are common in puppies and kittens.

When it comes to ear infections, there is always an underlying cause. Common causes of ear infections can be food allergies, environmental allergies, hormone imbalances ( such as thyroid problems), excess moisture ( swimmer’s ear) , immune disease or excess wax. Floppy eared dogs have less ear flow into the ear canals making them more predisposed to infections.

Diagnosis of ear infections is generally made by examining the debris from the ear and determining what is causing the infection–bacteria, yeast or mites. Once the diagnosis is made, a sample of the debris may be sent to the lab for culture to determine the exact nature of the problem and which is the best medication to cure the problem. The ear then needs to be cleaned thoroughly and appropriate medication instilled. This medication may be an antibiotic or it could be a natural herbal medication. Echo Gold from Pet Wellbeing is a good choice for a natural ear medication.

It is very important to clear up ear problems as quickly as possible as otherwise continuous shaking of the head or scratching at the ear can break the blood vessels in the flap. This creates a bubble of blood under the skin of the ear and this condition is called an aural hematoma. These almost always require surgery, but herbals and homeopathics may help in some cases.

Chronic ear problems should always be investigated for underlying issues such as food allergies and hormone problems. Many of these dogs need herbals or homeopathics to strengthen their immune systems. I have successfully used Chinese Herbals to clear up and prevent ear infections in some of my patients.


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