How to Diagnose Ear Infections in Cocker Spaniels
Cocker Spaniels are notorious for getting ear infections. This is because their heavy, floppy, hairy ear flaps are so efficient at sealing off the entrance to the ear canal, making it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and other infections. A Cocker Spaniel's ears often touch the ground when she sniffs, and this means the long hair may sweep up grass seeds which could migrate into the ear canal.If you own a Cocker Spaniel, you need to check her ears for signs of infection.
Identifying The Signs Of Ear Infections
Notice when your dog favors her ears.When your dog has an ear infection, she will be touching and favoring her ears more than usual. This includes scratching the ears with her paws and rubbing her ears along the floor.
Watch for any head tilting.If your dog holds her head to one side, her ears may be sore. She may also shake her head a lot. Head tilting can be a sign of a deep infection, so it's important to get the ear checked immediately.
Listen for whining.Ear infections make your Cocker Spaniel’s ears sore, and because she is in pain, she may whimper or whine. Some dogs will whine while scratching their ears, which indicates their ear hurts.
Check for bad smells.Bacterial infections often give off an unpleasant odor. Lift your Cocker Spaniel’s ears and sniff them. If one of them smells bad, or smells a little worse than usual, your dog may be developing an ear infection.
Look for discharge from the ear.One of the main symptoms for ear infections is discharge. The discharge will come from the ear canal and might be a thick, black or brown wax, a yellow-green substance, or even bloody.
Notice skin changes.If the infection causes inflammation, the skin may be reddened. Excessive scratching may also cause inflammation. An infection may also cause swelling and greasiness.
- You may also see scabs or crustiness in the ear. Hair loss may also occur on the ear.
- Compare one side with the other to get an idea if the skin is normal or thickened.
Watch for signs of your dog feeling bad.Ear infections can be painful, thus making the dog feel bad. Your dog may not want to eat, either because she feels bad or because chewing hurts due to the ear pain. Your dog may seem depressed or lethargic, meaning she doesn’t want to do normal activities.
Diagnosing Ear Infections
Check your dog’s ears regularly.Since you own a Cocker Spaniel, you should check her ear flaps at least once a day so you can pick out debris, such as twigs or grass seeds, that has become entangled in the long fur. Regularly check the ear for infection. To do this, lift the ear flap and check for skin redness, excessive wax, or discharge from the ear. Sniff each ear to see if they smell bad, which could indicate an infection.
- If you have doubt about whether your dog’s ear looks normal or not, compare one ear with the other. Often ear one side is worse than the other when there is an infection.
Take your dog to the vet.If you think your Cocker Spaniel has an ear infection, take her to the vet immediately. The vet will perform a physical examination, looking to see if the dog has a head tilt, if there is pain around the ear, if there is a discharge, or physical changes in the ear. The vet will inspect the ear canal for inflammation, redness, ulcers, discharge, or foreign bodies in the ear, such as a grass awn.
- The vet uses an otoscope to look down the external ear canal. The otoscope fits down the ear canal and allows the vet to look deep into the ear for infections.
- If a discharge is present and the ear is sore, this is enough to diagnose an ear infection.
Get the proper treatment for your dog.Your vet will decide the cause of your dog’s ear infection, such as bacteria, yeast, or something else. This will determine how your dog is treated. Your vet will clean your dog’s ear.Most of the time, the vet will start with a topical ear drops in the office, which contain medications against yeast, bacteria, or ear mites. Then, your vet will give you an antibiotic, antifungal, or other medicine to administer at home.
- If the dog has regular ear infections, or the infection is slow to respond, the vet may perform further tests. These include examining discharge smears under a microscope or sending a swab away for culture.
Video: Dog Ear Infections - Vet Advice
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