header photo

Nanaimo Veterinary Hospital

Your Dog's Ears

Inside a dog’s ear canal is a place where you can’t see without a scope, and so there can be some mysteries about it when it gets sore, and this creates anxieties for dog owners. The dog will usually tell us that there is an ear problem by shaking his head, scratching at the affected ear, lowering that ear, or we can see the redness and waxy discharge.

Most ear problems in this part of the world are from allergies. The three main allergies for dogs are flea bite, food, and inhaled. We can keep fleas off, and we can talk about the best low allergy food (hypoallergenic), but we can’t stop airborne allergens like pollens. There is a species difference with inhaled allergies - people get “hayfever”, red and wet eyes, nose and throat, whereas dogs get skin and ear inflammation. The end result is that most dogs with ear problems are controlled, especially in their season of allergenicity, rather than cured, with ear cleaners, ear medicines, and oral medicines.

Many dogs will have ear problems with predictable treatment outcomes (they show the same repeated clinical signs and have the same treatment successes), but an ear can change overnight into a brand new problem. Veterinarians like to swab ears and look under the microscope to see what’s going on in there. Sometimes we send off a swab to grow the microbes to identify them and to test which drug to use to get rid of them. Fortunately for our dogs, the drugs that have been developed over the last decade that help with sore ears have decreased the need for surgery, but it is still a useful option in some cases.

- Dr. Brett Hayward


Go Back

OMG, Jack has been shaking his head since before Christmas his ears flapping like castinets. Poor fellow. I guess that means an appointment. Thanks for the heads up. This site is a very good service. Thanks ML.