Ear infections increase during the hot and humid months. There are a number of factors which can cause infection. Dogs with ongoing ear issues usually have underlying skin problems and dogs that suffer from allergies are predisposed to ear infections.
Scratching, rubbing at the ear and head shaking are all common signs. You may also notice redness and swelling or an abnormal odour. Most ear infections in adults are caused by yeast and bacteria. Ear mites and foreign bodies are also a common cause, especially in puppies.
Some ear infections are not preventable but care and grooming can help in the hot and humid months.
Keep the opening of the ear canal free of matted hair by clipping the fur around the outside of the ear and gently removing any matts. Do not forcibly pluck the ear as this causes inflammation which can lead to infection.
Clean waxy ears every 2-4 weeks. Use an ear cleaner that dissolves wax and dries up the ear (Epi Otic.) These drops are designed to loosen the debris inside the ear so it can be dislodged when the dog shakes its head. Fill the ear with cleaner and gently massage for one minute. Wipe any debris from the outside of the ear with cotton wool.
If the ear is red, swollen, purulent and sore to touch, contact one of our vets for an examination before proceeding any further. Chronic ear problems can be difficult to manage and dogs with persistently bad ears often need to be examined and have their ears flushed while anaesthetised. Occasionally surgery is needed to fix ongoing ear issues and a referral to a specialist veterinary dermatologist may help underlying allergies.