- Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:03
The Veterinary Pet Insurance Company reported that canine ear infections were the #1 health reason owners took their dogs to a Vet in 2009. As a general rule, a dog with floppy ears requires more care than upright ears, due to the lack of proper air circulation. These ears can play host to mites, bacteria, yeast and fungus, which are the sources of infection.
Does your Shih Poo rub or scratch its ears? Does he or she shake its head often? These are common signs of an ear infection. Others are:
- Odor or discharge from ear
- Swelling or redness of ear flap
- Tenderness or pain of ear when touched
Causes of ear infections in dogs:
- Water in pet’s ears due to bathing
- Hair growing in pet’s ears and not removed
- Warm, moist environment of floppy ears
- Ear mite infestation
- Presence of a tumor in ear canal
- Skin allergies
Please call and see your Vet if you suspect your Shih Poo’s ear is infected. This infection is painful and needs medical attention! Treat early before it worsens. Your Vet will thoroughly examine both of your dog’s ears using an otoscope. Dogs’ ear canals are L-shaped. During this exam your Vet will check the eardrum, the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear areas.
Outer ear infection = very common and less severe; symptoms red, tender, odor and discharge
Middle and inner ear infection= less common but more severe; often becomes worse and sometimes is not curable
- Severe infection can cause facial nerve problem called otitis media.
- Untreated ear infection often leads to sarcoma, which is a tumor that forms in the ear canal.
- Whenever inner ear damage, deafness occurs.
Puppies often have ear mites.
Older dogs sometimes develop tumors.
If caught early, ear infections can be treated easily with antibiotics and/or ear drops given by your Vet. Be sure to keep your follow-up appointment with your Vet! Why? Canine ear infections can be stubborn and the ears may still be infected. Follow directions carefully on your Shih Poo medications to prevent recurring ear infections. Do not skip a treatment.
Ask your Vet to recommend an ear cleaning solution for you to gently clean your dogs ears every two to four weeks as needed. This will help prevent infections. Use a cotton ball soaked in the solution to clean the ear flaps and inside. DO NOT USE Q-TIPS OR GO DEEP! The ear is tender and infections are painful. Clean the ears gently until the cotton ball comes clean, and then dry carefully.
Also, have your professional groomer routinely check and clean the ears and remove any hairs in the ears to prevent infections.
Please clean and check your Shih Poo’s ears regularly. Have you ever had an ear ache? It is no fun.