How Can I Treat My Dogs Ear Infection At Home – Basic Effective Tips
Ear infections are very common in dogs, and a little less so in cats; it must be said that proportionally the ears of dogs being larger, they provide a wider range of opportunities for pathogens. The different ear pathologies can affect one or both ears and can also be associated with skin conditions on other parts of the body. This is one of the reasons why veterinarians frequently examine the rest of the body, even if the ears seem to be the main problem, and conversely, they will also examine the ears when you visit them for other types of problems.
Some individuals may have a predisposition due in part to the structure of their ears, such as dogs with floppy ears, those with abnormally hairy ear canals, allergies, or other genetic factors. In any case, we advise you to obtain a diagnosis from your veterinarian before considering any form of treatment, natural or otherwise. If you have an animal that has numerous recurrences, you will quickly learn to differentiate the pathology that seems to affect it most often.
We will see each type of pathology in a little more detail below, but one thing is certain: many of these conditions have a common denominator: the immune system, whether it is overactive in the case of allergies, or depressed in the case of infectious ear infections, parasitic or fungal conditions. Hormonal imbalance can also be the cause of the problem, and by hormones I mean hormones in the broadest sense of the word, not just those related to the reproductive system.
First of all, it should be remembered that most of the natural treatments we will be dealing with are best diagnosed by your veterinarian. You are in no way obliged to accept the prescription of allopathic remedies, but you will have to be logical. Applying the wrong treatment for the wrong pathology could lead to serious consequences, such as perforation of the eardrum.
Does your four-legged friend often shake his head, constantly scratch his ear, hold his head to one side or complain when you touch his ear? Then it’s likely that your dog has an ear infection. This infection is very common and unfortunately difficult to prevent. Luckily, otitis can be treated well, provided, of course, that you react quickly.
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Symptoms of Otitis Media In Dogs
An ear infection in dogs is easy to detect. The most common symptoms are as follows:
- Your dog often scratches his ear.
- He leaves it hanging.
- He complains when you touch his ear.
- He holds his head crookedly.
- His ear produces pus or a lot of earwax (brown or black wax).
- His ear smells bad.
- Your dog can’t hear as well.
- The inside of his ear is red or even swollen.
Otitis is a generic term to describe an inflammation of the ear canal, which can be chronic. There are otitis external, otitis media and otitis internal, the causes and symptoms vary and so do the treatments.
Otitis external is the most common, it involves inflammation of the auricle, and potentially vertical ear canal obstruction and inflammation of the horizontal ear canal. It is caused by allergies, a foreign body, a particularly hairy ear canal, an accumulation of dead skin as in the case of keratinization, an autoimmune disease, a bacterial or fungal infection, cleaning too often or with too aggressive a product, parasites, etc.. There may also be a genetic predisposition in certain breeds such as Cocker spaniels, German Shepherds, Poodles, due to a higher density of apocrine sweat glands or cerumen gland problems (those that produce cerumen). In any case, it would appear that ear conformation affects ventilation and may be a contributing factor. In the case of recurring ear infections, consider checking your pet for digestive problems, especially IBD or a problem with intestinal hyperpermeability. Treating topically without treating the source will lead to nothing.
MEDIUM OTITIS is less common and results in inflammation of the tympanic cavity and the formation of an inflammatory fluid. It is often the result of poorly treated otitis external, or a foreign body, causing the eardrum to rupture. At this stage it is necessary to be very vigilant because the next stage is fraught with consequences.
Internal otitis media is much rarer but also much more serious. It can range from the absence of visible symptoms to a reluctance to chew, the animal may shake its head or bend it to the side of the affected ear, an altered sense of balance, coordination problems, apparent damage to the nervous system or deafness.
Before reaching this point, it is therefore necessary to identify the different pathologies that can lead to it and are much easier to manage.
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OTITIS OF ALLERGIC ORIGIN
Allergies are often the cause of inflammation of the ear canal, but some subjects may also show inflammation of the entire pavilion, or even of the cheek and / or eye, which is the case with one of my dogs. Identifying the source or sources of these allergies can be a real headache, as they can be environmental or food. Anyway it is a sign of inflammation. Food allergies are easy to resolve if you know which foods are responsible for it because you just have to eliminate them. But if they are environmental the part turns out to be more difficult, it requires a huge work of observation because you will then have to determine if it is an element of the environmental flora, a detergent or other chemical molecule used in your home or garden, or a parasite or insect. Allergies are difficult to differentiate from certain other pathologies, because they often have some of the same symptoms. An untreated allergy can become a source of infection.
- Ear thicker, red and / or warm to the touch
- Abnormal discharge of dark and / or odorous earwax
- Inflammation of the ear canal
- Excessive itching / scratching
- Crusts in the ear
- Animal frequently shakes its head
Try to identify and eliminate the allergen responsible, or reduce exposure if it is environmental.
Clean / disinfect your pet’s ears twice a day (see paragraph below on natural cleaners)
Administer natural allergy treatments like Allargem from Herbalgem (1 drop / 10kg bodyweight / day), and / or quercetin (multiply animal weight by 1000mg and divide by 125).
For seasonal allergies, in homeopathy you can also give Sulfur 9CH once a week for prevention, then Abcedyl by following the dosage on the bottle, and Arsenicum Album 9 CH morning and evening, as soon as the first symptoms appear.
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ARASITIC ORTIAL EARS
Otodectes cynotis is a type of scabies found in cats, dogs and ferrets. The cycle from egg to adult lasts from 18 to 28 days, depending on several environmental factors, and goes through 2 larval cycles: the protonymph and the deutonymphe. This type of scabies can be particularly difficult to diagnose because some animals will exhibit more symptoms when they have only one or two mites in the ear – as long as they are allergic to this mite -, and others, on the contrary, infested, will have little or no symptoms. This type of mite is very contagious and can migrate from one animal to another, and the animal can also reinfect itself, since the mites can migrate to other parts of the body, in particular the legs by scratching the ears. To diagnose ear mites, your veterinarian should examine a sample of earwax under the microscope. You can check for the presence of these mites yourself, by collecting a sample of the waxy substance from the external ear canal, and placing it on something dark. Using a magnifying glass you will then observe small white spots the size of a pin head and which move.
- Accumulation of more or less abundant earwax and a dark, waxy substance resembling coffee grounds in the ear canal
- Excessive scratching
- Frequent shaking of the head
- Inflammation of the ear canal
- Potential purulent exudates when a secondary bacterial infection sets in
It can be primary and in this case, due to a cold spell, maceration in dogs with drooping ears or the pavilion prevents ventilation, excess coat in the ear canal, or water when the dog has swam; hormonal disorders can also lead to excessive production of earwax. The symptoms are almost the same as for allergic otitis.
- Clean / disinfect your pet’s ears twice a day (see paragraph below on natural cleaners)
- Support the immune system with one of the supplements listed below in this article
- Dry the ear well, put a little Thornit powder (I use the back of a teaspoon) in the ear and massage it twice a day while the symptoms persist. One to 3 days is enough, do not exceed 5 days.
- If you face a more virulent form of otitis, in his Practical Guide to phyto-aromatherapy for pets, for dogs (except in pregnant or lactating females and puppies under 6 months) Dr. Pierre May suggests a formula containing 30% Calophyll vegetable oil (antibacterial and analgesic), 50% Calendula HV (antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory), 5% each of Geranium Rosat, Lavender Aspic essential oil , Laurier Noble and Palmarosa (4). Put 1 or 2 drops of this mixture in the ear canal and massage.
- Or, put a few drops of garlic macerate in the ear canal 1 to 2 times a day and massage (heat 2 CaS of olive oil and 1 crushed clove of garlic in a bain-marie for 20 minutes , then filter).
Mycotic otitis is an opportunistic infection caused by a fungus like the yeast Malassezia Pachydermatis. This type of yeast is normally present on the coat and in the ears of our pets, but when there is proliferation it is a sign of an immune imbalance, even if sometimes secondary as when taking corticosteroids. There may be a genetic predisposition, especially in brachycephalic dogs whose skin forms folds on the muzzle, or a hormonal factor. A concomitant bacterial infection can also lead to the proliferation of these fungal infections, as well as an allergy. This type of infection is much rarer in cats and ferrets than in dogs.
The symptoms are similar to otitis media , but there may be an additional rancid odor.
Frequent shaking of the head, or repeated shock (s) can cause a hematoma in the pavilion of the ear, which is quite common in dogs, and a little less in cats. There is a theory that it could also be due to an immune mediated process. It is particularly painful for the animal and can affect all or part of the pavilion, and is characterized by a rupture of the blood vessels in the ear. It is an accumulation of blood and seroma. Untreated, scar tissue will form but the ear will remain deformed, like cauliflower, not to mention the painful aspect. So we’re going to tell you about the different options for treating this condition, hoping to give you enough information to allow you to make an informed decision. Whatever you decide, act quickly because the longer you wait, the more difficult the condition will be to treat. Traditional forms of treatment practiced at the veterinarian include:
It consists of aspirating the liquid using a syringe, it is by far the least invasive form of allopathic treatment, but it is less and less practiced because recurrences are frequent, not to mention the potential risk of infection.
SURGICAL DRAINAGE AND SUTURES
The procedure consists of incising the pinna to drain the accumulated fluid, under general anesthesia of course, then practicing numerous sutures to allow re-adhesion of the walls of the ear to the cartilage. The sutures must remain in place for 3 weeks, and the animal will be given antibiotics and painkillers. The risk of scar and deformation remains present, but it is purely cosmetic.
There is another procedure, little used, which consists in making a slight incision to drain the liquid, then suturing a drain which will remain in place for several days. This requires local anesthesia, and the animal may spray blood / fluid on walls, floors and furniture while shaking.
Essential Oils : If the othematoma is less than 12 hours old, and if it is not too large, you have several options to try to reduce it or by massaging your pet’s ear several times a year. day with pure helichrysum essential oil, for a dog, or helichrysum hydrosol for a cat, or a mixture of 50/50 helichrysum or cypress oil, and lavender, which has a vasoconstrictor effect of blood vessels and analgesic. Another option is to make cold packs with 1 or 2 drops of these HE.
Homeopathy: Arnica 7CH + Lachesis 5CH + Millefolium 5CH morning and evening.
It is advisable to give it only every other day, or as a 5-day treatment with a 5-day break between the two, since prolonged use could increase the level of liver enzymes. If no convincing result after 3 weeks, stop.
Here are some natural techniques and tips approved by our experts that have proven their effectiveness.
Check your dog’s ears
First of all, let’s take some precautions: watch your dog’s ears before cleaning them ! If you see anything unusual, bleeding, swelling, warmth or even an odor from its duct, do not clean it up and take your dog to the veterinarian instead. These signs may indeed hide a possible infection, and you could make matters worse if you touch your dog’s ears. Better to let a professional check them and treat them if necessary.
For ear cleaning: apple cider vinegar and water
After checking the condition of your dog’s ears, you can proceed to cleaning them. You need to :
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2/3 cup of warm water
- Mix it all up
- Dip a cotton ball, a compress or a soft cloth in the solution and press it gently against the inside of your dog’s ear, without pushing it into the ear canal!
To dry the ears after a swim: vinegar, alcohol and baking soda
Alcohol helps dry out the ears. After a swim, to prevent water from stagnating in your dog’s ear and causing otitis , you can therefore prepare a solution that contains it according to the following model:
- One and a half teaspoons of baking soda
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar
- A few drops of rubbing alcohol
- Shake everything and mix
- Dip a cotton ball, a compress or a soft cloth in the solution and gently wipe it against the inside of your dog’s ear, without pushing it into the ear canal.
- Wipe the dog’s ear again with a damp washcloth.
To remove the wax: almond oil or olive oil
If your dog’s ears are not too dirty but you want to remove the excess wax, pour a few drops of almond oil or olive oil directly on the visible part of the ear to peel it off. Leave to act while the wax comes off and let your dog shake his head to get the oil out of his ear. Then clean the wax and oil using a cotton ball or a cloth.
Possible Causes of Otitis Media in Dogs
Otitis in dogs can have several causes. The culprits can be bacteria , fungi or mites . Sometimes it is a foreign body (for example a grass spikelet) that is the cause of otitis by irritating the lining of the ear canal.
Are all dogs prone to otitis media?
Some dogs never suffer from otitis, others regularly. Dogs with drooping ears are the most likely to suffer from it (the ear canal is poorly ventilated), as are dogs who swim regularly (the accumulation of water in the ear canal increases the risk of otitis. ).
Treat otitis in dogs
If you think your dog is suffering from an ear infection, make an appointment with your veterinarian quickly. This infection is not only painful for your dog, but it can also cause irreversible damage.
Your veterinarian will prescribe treatment based on the cause of the ear infection. If it is a bacterial infection, he will prescribe antibiotics , or an antifungal medication if he suspects an infection with a fungus (yeast). If your dog has ear mites , he will prescribe an ointment or drops to eliminate the parasitic mites.
Finally, if a grass spikelet is the cause of otitis, he will remove it with the help of a special forceps (in some dogs, this requires light anesthesia) and he will prescribe a treatment to relieve the irritation and the infection.
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