Ask a Vet Archive

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  • My dog is shaking his head frequently. We clean his ears frequently with over-the-counter ear cleaning products. We thought it could be ear mites and treated his ears for it, but no success. Could it be a bacterial infection? How can I treat this infection? He hates it when I apply ear drops. It really bothers him and seems to have intense pain in his ears as a result. Is this a natural reaction to ear treatment or is the ear treatment not suited for him?

    Ear infections or “Otitis Externa” is a very serious problem in a lot of different breeds of dog. It is often related to other skin problems since the ears really do provide a nice warm pocket of skin for all the nasty things that grow on skin to make a home in.

    Although dogs can get ear mites, they usually don’t unless they are puppies or are exposed to other animals with them. I do worry about the ear mite medication being very harsh on their ears (especially the over-the-counter medications) and making bacterial and yeast infections worse.

    It is also important to remember that bacterial and yeast infections look very similar – we can only consistently tell them apart with a microscopic examination of the ear wax – and the treatment for either one would make the other worse.

    I would suggest bringing him in for an exam – in addition to determining the cause of the infection (bacteria/yeast/allergies/mites) we can also make certain that his ear drum is intact. Sometimes with really bad infections it can rupture and not only is this painful, it makes treatment more difficult and many of the usual medications more dangerous to use. It sounds like he has been suffering with this for a while and I worry about scar tissue forming when these go untreated for a while – we could also get him some pain medication to make cleaning and treating a lot easier for everyone.

     


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Behavior