What Causes Otitis In Dogs?
Otitis in dogs is a very common problem, especially in certain breeds with large, floppy ears where, because of their morphology, there is poor ventilation in the ear area.
This condition can cause a lot of itchiness and discomfort to the animal. As dog handlers, we must be aware of the importance of maintaining regular cleaning of the animal’s ears, as well as taking it to the veterinarian when detecting an infectious outbreak. Today, we are going to present all the possible causes of canine otitis.
The symptoms of ear infections in dogs are quite obvious, so it won’t be difficult to identify them. Below, we will list the most common clinical signs of this pathology:
- Dark secretion in the ear canal: the ears are dirty with a sticky substance, sometimes brown and with an unpleasant odour.
- Signs of pain: the ear infections can cause considerable discomfort to the animal and you can see that he tilts his head to one side, which coincides with the affected ear. He may also change his behavior and become irritable or even aggressive.
- Shaking the head: When shaking the head , dogs try to get some of the dirt out of their ears.
- Moderate or severe itching : The dog continually scratches its ear.
- Inflamed ear canal: this symptom is detected by the veterinarian in the clinic with the aid of an otoscope.
Faced with these signs, it is important to go to the veterinarian so that he can perform an exam and detect the cause and type of otitis that the animal is suffering from. Fast detection will always facilitate the dog’s treatment and recovery.
What Causes Otitis in Dogs?
Otitis can be caused by very different factors and the treatment can change according to the triggering agent. Therefore, it is very important to go to the veterinary clinic to receive the proper diagnosis. Next, we will show the most common reasons that cause canine otitis.
There are several infectious agents that can settle in a dog’s ear. Among them, we find the following:
- Mites : the proliferation of some mites can cause ear infections in dogs. The main species that attack dogs’ ears are Otodectes cynotis , Demodex and Sarcoptes scabiei. These invertebrates are characterized by producing a dark brown secretion with an unpleasant odor.
- Fungal and yeast infections : Malassezzia naturally inhabits the skin of animals, but its uncontrolled proliferation causes ear infections.
- Infections Bacterial: bacteria of the genera Staphylococcus or Pseudomonas cause ear infections in dogs and also produce bad smell.
Presence of a foreign body in the ear canal
It is very common that the cause of otitis is a splinter that entered the canal during a walk, in which case it will be necessary to extract it. Do not try to do this at home as you can further deepen the splinter. The veterinarian will extract it using proper technique and instruments.
Otitis externa is an inflammation of the mucosa of the external auditory canal and is frequent in dogs with droopy and heavy ears, as insufficient ventilation of the canal favors the proliferation of bacteria and yeasts. It can also be common in dogs with small ear canals or with a lot of hair in the ears, such as the Yorkshire terrier .
In addition to the reasons described above, there are also other causative agents that can lead to the development of otitis in dogs. Let’s briefly mention some of them:
- Allergy: the otitis is usually related to allergy cases. In this case, it may be accompanied by itching, redness, crusting and discharge.
- Moisture in the ear canal: the humidity and temperature are key factors for the growth of microorganisms. Large ears retain more moisture as they are harder to dry.
- Pathologies of different nature: endocrine diseases, reactions to toxic products or auditory tissue hypertrophy.
Treatments for Otitis in Dogs
Faced with an otitis problem, the veterinarian will clean the animal’s ear and may also take a sample of the secretion, which will be examined under a microscope to determine the causative agent of the otitis.
Depending on the cause of the condition, ear cleansers with antibiotics, acaricides or antifungals can be applied, depending on whether there are bacteria, mites or fungi. The veterinarian may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory for the dog to reduce inflammation, or a pain reliever to relieve pain.
Otitis can get complicated, and some dogs live with chronic otitis throughout their lives and need more frequent cleaning and veterinary appointments. Sometimes excessive scratching and head shaking can cause internal bleeding in the ear, called an otohematoma, which requires surgical intervention.
Can otitis in dogs be prevented?
As a preventative measure, the pet owner should periodically clean the ear to prevent relapse. As in many other cases, good hygiene is the best treatment.
Ear cleaners are specific for dogs and therefore it is not possible to use those for human use. In addition, it is not recommended to use cotton swabs, but a clean gauze to extract the debris removed by the ear cleaner.