Everything Ear Okay Doggie?

a basset hound riding in a car with her head out of the window aDoes your dog whimper when he scratches his ears? Are the ear-scratches more frequent and for longer durations than normal? Does he shake his head or drag it along the ground? If so, your dog may have an infection, or otitis (inflammation) in one of the three ear parts.

The outer ear (otitis external) may be upright, folded, or flush with the head. The shape is not as important as whether your dog plays outside and gets debris/dirt inside the ear. The ear canal (otitis media) should be rinsed out with ear-cleaning fluid from the store. NEVER use a q-tip, instead use a cotton ball or towel, so that you don’t damage the ear. Finally, the inner ear (otitis internal) can get infected and cause severe pain for your dog, affecting his balance and energy level. This is why it is important to monitor your dogs ears using the 3 inspection tricks below:

1. SMELL the pups ear – if it stinks, frequently a yeasty smell, it’s probably infected
2. VISUALLY INSPECT the ear – check to see if the ear is pink or red, has sores, or oozes
3. TOUCH the ear area, try rubbing it, and if he whimpers this can be a sign of infection

What causes these ear infections? Once again, one of three things, or a combination of them:
1. Bacteria (signs include rubbing at ears, shaking head, red/swollen ear, a milky discharge)
2. Fungus (dogs with ear flaps that trap moisture inside tend to get this more often)
3. Ear Mites (a common sign is dried blood inside his ears, frequent head shaking)

Medication (insecticide) and/or antibiotics are the best treatment to kill the mites, bacteria or fungus.

**A note about cat ear-cleaning:
(Cats tend to be more resistant, so take time to swaddle them in a towel first to prevent scratching you during ear cleaning. Gently wipe the inside of the ear with a cotton ball with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide – squeezing out excess first and being careful not to insert the cotton too far down into the ear canal. Then, put the drops in one ear at a time, rubbing them to move the solution down the ear canal.)

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