Problems with a dog’s health may affect them in many different ways. The issues may be associated with the breed or it could be a problem that is common to an area of the dog. As an example, many dogs have a problem with their ears and this can lead to a common ear infection that is known as otitis. The problem can either be acute or chronic and it can lead to very uncomfortable symptoms or in some cases, to serious problems with the dog’s ear.
In most cases, a problem with an ear infection in dogs is easy to recognize. Most dogs will shake their head or scratch at their ear flaps when an infection exists. This is an attempt to alleviate some of the symptoms, such as itching and discomfort. When an infection becomes more deep-seated, it can also lead to a bad odor that emanates from the ear as well. When you look in the ear, you may notice some additional symptoms, including swelling, redness and scaling skin.
There are varying types of infection that can affect the ears of dogs. When it is largely external, it is known as otitis externa but when it affects more of the inner ear it is known as otitis media. These issues can be caused by a wide variety of problems, including reactions to medications, allergies, parasites, foreign bodies, buildup of dead skin and autoimmune diseases. Some dogs are also more susceptible to this problem because of the type of ear that they have or because it is an issue that tends to be a problem in that particular breed.
Aside from diagnosing the problem by a visual inspection of the ear, it may also be necessary to take x-rays for diagnosing otitis media. MRIs may also be necessary to determine if there is a problem with the soft tissue or if there is an accumulation of fluid in the middle ear. Skin scrapings from the ear may be taken and tests for parasites may be considered by the veterinarian.
In most cases, a problem with otitis in dogs can be treated on an outpatient basis. The only time that your veterinarian may consider keeping the dog is if the inner ear has been affected. Typically, some type of topical therapy and antibiotics may be considered, along with steroid medications or drops to help reduce swelling and discomfort.
Along with treating a problem with an ear infection, it may be possible to reduce the possibility that it would occur with an ongoing ear cleaning program. This is something that can be done at home but it needs to be done properly, using the right tools and the right fluids. In many cases, a dog that may have a problem with chronic otitis can have the issue resolved through veterinary care and proper home care.