Ear infections are a common problem in dogs––particularly those with floppy ears and allergies. Fortunately, there exist a variety of treatment options and effective medications to help combat the issue, depending on the severity of the infection.
Diagnosing Ear Infections
A veterinarian will diagnose an ear infection by first performing a thorough physical examination of your dog. This includes evaluating the rest of the dog’s body for skin lesions, indicators of flea sensitivity and allergy symptoms such as paw licking and inflamed lymph nodes. The veterinarian will also examine the ear canal under magnification, keeping an eye out for foreign objects such as cotton balls or ticks, growths and dermoids––cysts with ingrown hair. She will also take note of any pus or inflammation while inspecting the eardrum.
Medications for Ear Mites
Ear mites are easier to treat than other ear infections. Although they have become resistant to most chemicals in over-the-counter ear mite treatments, there still exist several brands of Ivermectin-based medications that do the job effectively. Most vets recommend Revolution, which is a monthly spot-on used for eliminating fleas, larvae, worms and ear mites. First, the veterinarian will remove any accumulated ear wax and massage in 0.1 percent Ivermectin. Then, after two to four weeks, she will treat with Revolution to get rid of any remaining ear mites or eggs that survive the Ivermectin.
Medications for First-Time Ear Infections
In the case of minor, first-time infections, the veterinarian will first clean out the ear and then instruct the dog’s owner about how to clean the infected area at home. This usually involves using a soothing ear cleaner that might include a topical steroid or antibiotic, applying it twice daily until the infection is gone. Depending on the extent of the infection, a vet might recommend oral antibiotics or Benadryl to reduce itchiness and irritation.
Medications for Severe Ear Infections
First, ear cleaners are recommended to eliminate wax and make the ear canal acidic or basic, depending on the kind of bacteria that is found on the culture. Vets will often add Baytril antibiotics, Benadryl and dexamethasone to the cleaner if the bacteria in question is pseudomonas. Afterward, veterinarians prescribe treatment with oral antibiotics for a minimum of three weeks. The majority of ear infections necessitate cefpodoxime, but pseudomonas infections often call for one of the fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Short-term steroids also aid in reducing swelling and inflammation and in providing overall pain relief. Duralactin is another solid option for pain control.
Preventing Future Ear Infections
Owners are encouraged to put their dogs on a hypoallergenic diet containing traces of omega fatty acids. Also, antihistamines help control underlying allergies and irritation. Furthermore, it is essential to keep fleas under control and regularly clean the dog’s ears in order to prevent future infections.