Hi everyone! This is Dr. Boyker and its my first time blogging today!! I am sitting on my bed tonight after a long day cuddling with my favorite pup (he is passed out) and thinking about a topic to start with. Today, after a looong day of treating many many ear related problems, I want to talk about ear infections.
Ear infections are an incredibly common problem in our dog friends. They can be bacterial (ew gross), fungal (stinky and smelly) or both. They can be associated with moisture, dirt or even another disease like allergies. Here in SoCal, even though it's winter time, we LOVE to take our dogs to swim, to play at the park on a Saturday morning, or for a stroll on the beach.
As a veterinarian, I am constantly asked how to treat ear infections and how to prevent them. Well, my first piece of advice would be to look at your pets ears. LOOK! Flip over that soft floppy ear (also known as the pinna) and if they are red, inflamed, full of gross dirt, or look like skin should NOT look, you might be dealing with an infection. If there is a smell, get them examined and treated. If there is scratching, head shaking, or whining when you pet them (my dog looooves his ears rubbed) then you might be dealing with an infection. Ear infections can be painful and hard to treat.
Now that you have looked at the ears and possibly noticed an infection, you are thinking, "what can I use to treat them?? Hydrogen peroxide? Apple cider/vinegar mix? warm water/soap on a washcloth?" No. I’m sorry but no. Ear infections are bacteria parties. Ear infections are fungal raves (yeast). Hydrogen peroxide is NOT meant to go in the ears. STOP. Apple cider/vinegar is for cooking (or maybe not, clearly I’m not a cook). STOP. And warm water can actually make the infection worse. So, next step if you really think they are infected, call your vet and make an appointment tomorrow. Yes, take your sick animal to the doctor, trust me, we LOVE to help.
Your vet will perform a test to find the what kind of infection you have, and give you correct medication. Perfect to get rid of that infection. If there is bacteria, we will give you antibiotics. If there is yeast, we will give you an anti-fungal. If there are other signs of a food/environmental allergy, endocrine disease, or other concern, we will talk about that too.
Now, you have your medications, have treated your infection properly, and have perfectly happy, healthy ears again. YAY!! Let’s talk about prevention of ear infections. PREVENT that next infection!!! Follow your vet’s recommendations about any further testing (…no we are not out for your money we seriously are just trying to help make you and your pet's life better) and clean out those ears regularly. Either from the vet’s office (if they recommend a specific kind), or from the pet store, use a PET made ear cleaner to help clean out ears to get those infections out! Clean after the beach, clean after the park, clean after that swim!!!
You got this!!!