Because of the length of their ears, cocker spaniels are more likely to have ear infections during their lifetime. There are two common areas of the ear that get infected. Otitis externa is an infection around the opening of the ear, and otitis media is the infection of the middle section. Otitis media can be a result of untreated or improperly treated otitis externa.
Cocker spaniel owners should take note of the following: constant scratching at the ears, odor, discharge, red and swollen ears, pain, behavioral changes and shaking or tilting of the head.
Ear infections in cocker spaniels may result from excessive moisture, lack of air circulation, abnormal growth, tumors, trauma, hair and other matter entering the ear and even harmful cleaning practices. The vet will give the dog a complete physical to reach a proper diagnosis, including blood and skin tests.
Your dog's ear may need to be cleaned at the animal hospital, and for some cases that involve swelling or pain, surgery may be necessary. Otherwise, the vet will prescribe medication depending on the infection, be it fungus, bacteria or parasite.
For regular ear cleanings, pour ear rinse on a piece of cotton or gauze and gently massage your dog's ear. If your dog has been outdoors, clean the ears out and brush away any dirt. If your dog has been near water, dry the ears as soon as you can. Keep the under-flap of the ear trimmed close to the skin.
Yeast infection is a common fungus that infects cocker spaniels. An odor and brown waxy fluid indicate its presence. The vet usually prescribes an anti-fungal ointment for the dog.