The eerie truth about smelly and itchy ears.

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Dog’s ear canals plunge downward and then horizontally from the ear opening, in the canal they have ceruminous glands that produce wax. Sometimes, when drainage from the ear canals is not adequate, bacteria or yeasts can overgrow in the ear canal, making it smell really bad. Certain conditions, like allergies or ear mites, can also increase yeast and bacterial overgrowth, leading to smelly ears. Ear_Exam

It’s important not to self-diagnose ear problems, as improperly treated infections may lead to chronic pain or deafness in dogs. Please always allow your vet to determine the cause of your dog’s symptoms.

The following symptoms may indicate that your dog needs to have his ears checked by a veterinarian:

·         Ear scratching

·         Brown, yellow or bloody discharge

·         Odour in the ear

·         Redness

·         Swelling

·         Crusted or scabby skin on the near ear flap

·         Hair loss around the ear

·         Wiping the ear area on the floor or furniture

·         Head shaking or head tilt

·         Loss of balance

·         Hearing loss

·         A sudden increase in aggression can be an indicator of physical pain. Such behavioural changes should also prompt a veterinary exam.

Treatment will depend on the diagnosis by your vet. A sample of ear discharge may be examined to look for bacteria, yeast and parasites. A vet may also suggest blood work and allergy tests to determine the root causes. Sometimes Vets will treat what they see and then a follow up consultation will be made to see what remains, this is because secondary infections can hides the underlying cause. Allergies can cause chronic recurrent ear infections. Moisture as a result of hairy ear canals or swimming can also cause recurrent ear infections. Often ear allergies and excess moisture can be treated effectively by topical corticosteroids, topical antibiotics, or topical ear flushes to enhance drainage.

Prevention is always the best medicine, checking your dog’s ears regularly will help you keep on top of unnecessary moisture and build-up. Inner-ear skin is delicate, so ask your vet to demonstrate the proper method for maintaining your dog’s ear health.  After baths and swimming, be sure to dry your dog’s ears as thoroughly and carefully as you can.

Remember to ask your TAH Vet to demonstrate the safest way to clean your pets ears.

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