Whilst any dog can potentially suffer from an ear infection, some pets are unlucky enough to experience ear troubles throughout their life.
Recurrent ear infections can be understandably frustrating for both pet and owner, and it important to understand why it keeps happening and how you can help.
There are some common pitfalls of managing ear infections which can contribute to ear infections that do not resolve or keep reoccurring. Knowing the reason is important to help manage the problem effectively
Common reasons for an ear infection returning include
- Stopping treatment before the infection has completely resolved
- Inability or inconsistency in applying ear medication at home
- Not following up to make sure the infection has resolved
- Damage to an ear canal due to previous infections
- Underlying skin and ear allergies such as Atopic dermatitis
Why are some pets prone to Chronic and recurrent ear infections?
Certain dogs can be more likely to develop ear infections repeatedly. The most common reason is linked to Atopic Dermatitis and skin allergies which we have been discussing previously. The ear is an extension of the skin which is why allergies can cause ear problems as well.
Certain breeds can also be prone to developing problems more commonly. For example
- Shar Peis can have very narrowed ear canals which trap wax and moisture, as well as often having underlying skin allergies.
- Cocker Spaniels tend to be more prone to developing inflammatory changes within the ears linked to more reactive ceruminal glands within their ear canals.
- Some breeds with very hairy ears such as poodles can trap dirt and moisture with ear canals.
What are the potential complications of leaving ear infections untreated?
Unfortunately, when a dog experiences recurrent or ongoing ear issues that may be poorly managed, it can cause thickening and narrowing of the affected ear canal. A chronically narrowed and thickened ear canal has an increased risk of becoming infected along with increase difficulty medicating and cleaning.
The take home message…
It is important to realize that some pets will have ongoing ear problems, flare ups and ear infections. Being able to recognize the signs of a flare up early, and also having a suitable treatment plan in between flare ups can help improve the overall health of you pet’s ears.