Ear infection in dogs
The ear in dogs is a very sensitive organ. its sensitive to skin infections, allergies, endocrine diseases, and water. Usually, ear infections presents as pain, head shaking, scratching of the ears, head tilt and ataxia. Upon examination of the years, the veterinarian usually finds a very inflamed, painful ear that has a lot of waxy exudate. The canine ear is anatomically different from the human ear in that the canine ear has a vertical and horizontal canal whereas the human ear has a horizontal canal only. Therefore, simple things like allergies and water can cause the waxy exudate to accumulate therefore causing an ear infection. This may be the most common dermatological problem we see in small animal medicine.
Typically when we see a patient for a possible ear infection, the first thing we do is take a swab sample and stain it on a microscope slide. we then look at the slide under a microscope to determine what type of infectious "bugs" we have to deal with. The more common types of infections that we see in dogs are staphylococcal, streptococcal, and yeast infections. Sometimes, we get some nasty bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics. These are the real challenging ones. We have many treatments that we can do to treat the various types of infections. usually there is an underlying cause for these infections. the key is to identify the cause and treat that too. It can be as simple as a food allergy, or more complex like thyoid disease or auto immune disease.
The key to successful treatment is early diagnosis, proper therapeutic treatment, and proper identification of the underlying cause. This can be costly and also can be long term.Chronic ear infections can be frustrating not only for the pet, but for the owner and veterinarian also. we must remember that early detection of not only the ear infection but the underlying cause is of paramount importance to get the infection under control quickly and prevent it from happening again.