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Dog Ear Infections FAQs and Answers from our Baltimore Veterinarians

Dog ear infections are a relatively common problem that many owners have to deal with. Some dogs are at greater risk than others, but any dog can get an ear infection. These are some of the frequently asked questions we receive at Fullerton Animal Hospital in Baltimore.

smiling veterinarian in Baltimore with a dog after treatment for dog ear infection

Q. What causes canine ear infections?

A. Canine ear infections are caused by either bacterial or fungal infections within the ear. The infection may involve the middle ear, inner ear, or both. Having ear mites may increase the risk of developing an ear infection because the damage to the ear promotes bacterial growth. Some ear infections are the result of trauma or a foreign body in the ear, but many are of unknown causes.

Q. What are the symptoms of canine ear infections?

A. What symptoms you see when your dog has an ear infection tends to depend on how severe the infection is. Dogs with minor ear infections may not show any outward symptoms, and dogs with very severe infections may show nervous system involvement:

  • Redness
  • Bad smell
  • Discharge
  • Pawing at the ear
  • Shaking head
  • Reluctance to open mouth
  • Reluctance to chew
  • Leaning toward the affected side
  • Balance problems
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Deafness

Q. Which dogs are at greatest risk for ear infections?

A. Because bacteria thrive in warm, damp, stagnant environments, dogs with excessive hair and droop ears are most at risk for ear infections. This includes breeds such as the spaniels, poodles, long-haired retrievers, and more. Dogs with allergies may also be at an additional risk of developing ear infections.

Q. How are ear infections diagnosed?

A. Visually examining the ear using an otoscope is typically enough to diagnose the infection. If this causes a lot of pain, sedation may be necessary. Sometimes, a sample will be taken to determine which bacteria or fungi are present.

Q. How are dog ear infections treated?

A. Most bacterial infections will resolve with a course of antibiotics, although some may require further treatment. Our veterinarian will advise you about whether cleaning the ears is recommended or required. Seeking veterinary advice about both preventative and treatment-based ear cleaning is recommended to ensure that you do it properly and on the right schedule. Severe or repeated dog ear infections may be treated with surgery.

Fullerton Animal Hospital in Baltimore Treats Ear Infections

Here at Fullerton Animal Hospital, our Baltimore veterinarians provide full-service care for your pets. Our veterinary practice treats ear infections along with other common canine maladies on a regular basis, and we can help your dog feel better quickly. To make an appointment with our veterinarian, call us at (410) 665-6996 today.