Cody's ears have been doing much better, and his attitude and energy levels are back too. They still require daily cleanings and medication, but he's not in the pain that he was before, and he's no longer running a fever.
Since he's gotten his ear infection, I've gotten quite a few questions. Most people I talk to didn't even realize dogs could get ear infections. It almost goes without saying then that people don't recognize the signs of an ear infection nor do they know how to treat one. So, I thought I'd give some tips.
What is an ear infection?
Ear infections in dogs are generally somewhat different than ear infections in people. In people, most ear infections are caused by sinus issues. They're accompanied with fevers, sneezing, and a lot of mucus. Most ear infections in dogs are caused by a bacteria build up in the ear. When one says "my dog has an ear infection," they're generally referring to a build up of yeast bacteria in the ear.
What are the symptoms of an ear infection?
Some are fairly common to a person's symptoms. You'll often see itching, shaking of the head, and tenderness around the year. In addition, though, there will be a lot of dark, waxy build up and a not-so-pleasant smell. In more severe cases, you may even find that your dog runs a low-grade fever.
How can I treat a yeast infection?
Sometimes, if caught early enough, a few thorough cleanings will do the trick (ask a dog professional on the proper way to clean). I get my cleaner from the vet, so it's actually an anti-yeast cleanser. For more severe infections, an antibiotic will be required. This go round, Cody needed cleanser and an otic antibiotic. We were probably just a day away from needed oral antibiotics too.
Are some dogs more prone to ear infections than others?
Yes. Dogs with floppy ears and particularly hairy dogs are more prone to ear infections. The floppy ears and hair trap moisture and foster bacteria growth. Doodles, unfortunately, have both floppy ears and hairy ears, so they have a rough go of things. Age can also be a factor.
Are there things I can do to help prevent ear infections?
Yes. The best thing to do is to routinely clean your dog's ears. I often pluck hair from Cody's ears, and I try to keep them dry. While I've never used them, there are some powders that will help dry your dogs ears as well. Always talk to a vet before using anything new, though.
Cody hasn't had an ear infection this bad since he was a pup, and I hope it's a good long while before he has another one (a.k.a. never). I try to keep his ears clean and dry, but this summer was rough on him. The summer humidity was bad enough, but he also had Lollie drooling on and chewing on his ears. The combination was too much. Either way, I'm glad he's feeling better!