Many owners of lhasa apsos think their dogs make perfect pets. This is certainly not the case, however, when it comes to their health. According to the Pet Well-Being website, lhasa apso dogs are prone to developing ear infections. If you suspect your lhasa has an ear infection, take it to a veterinarian for an examination and treatment as soon as possible.
Ear infections have a variety of causes, including allergies, trauma, bacteria and hormone abnormalities. A moist ear environment can cause infection as well. According to Dr. Holly Nash of Doctors Foster and Smith, bacteria and yeast--infection-causing components--thrive in ear canals that are moist and dark. This environment is often the result of a lack of air flowing through the canal.
Lhasa apso dogs are prone to developing ear infections because of excess hair in and at the opening of their ear canals. This hair blocks air from entering the canal, creating a moist environment. In addition, lhasas have long, floppy ears that prevent air from entering. The combination of the moisture and the darkness in the ears makes lhasas susceptible to developing ear infections.
Lhasas with ear infections will often scratch or paw at their ears or rub them against the floor. The dog may tilt its head to the side or shake it excessively. Furthermore, the ear may have a discharge and odor and it may become swollen. The lhasa may even bite or growl at its owners when they pet its ears because they are so painful.
A veterinarian can diagnose an ear infection in a lhasa apso by looking into its ears. With an otoscope, the vet can see deep into the canal and look for tumors, foreign bodies or parasites. The vet can obtain a sample of the ear discharge and determine which substance is causing the infection; it is usually either bacteria or yeast.
The lhasa’s ear infection will likely clear up with cleanings and medication that will eliminate either bacteria or yeast. However, the hair must be removed to fully treat and prevent additional ear infections. If the hair is left, the canal will continue to stay moist and probably become infected again. The vet, a groomer or you can pull the hair out of the ear with your fingers or tweezers. Keeping this area free of hair will allow air into the canals and prevent future infections.