Ear Infections In Dogs
Most ear drops are designed to prevent or treat ear infections. Some dogs are more prone to ear infections than others, such as dogs with hairy and floppy ears.
Ear infections are painful, so most dogs will shake their head or mess with their ears as they attempt to relieve the discomfort. Some may scratch their ears as well. Usually, the dogs ears may become inflamed as well. A common sign of infection is smelly ears. However, black or yellow discharge can occur as well.
In chronic cases, the ears may get crusty.
Ear infections and ear mites are commonly confused with one another. Therefore, it is essential to visit your vet so that they can help you tell the difference. Ear infections are far more common in adult dogs than ear mites. So, if youre noticing these symptoms in adult dogs, it is probably ear infections.
There are several things that cause ear infections, including funguses and bacteria. Therefore, it can be difficult to tell exactly what medication you should use for your canine. Many over-the-counter medications include multiple ingredients so that they can handle multiple causes. However, if you visit your vet, they can pinpoint the reason and prescribe a specific medication.
For chronic ear infections, your dog may need to have other tests run. For instance, some ear infections are caused by allergens are similar underlying illnesses. To prevent the ear infections from reoccurring, your canine will need these underlying problems handled as well.
How Can I Treat Earache
How you treat your earache depends on what is causing your pain.
If your pain is coming from a build-up of wax, you may need ear drops to soften the wax. You might need to have your ear canal cleaned by a health professional.
If your earache is caused by a middle ear infection, its likely to get better on its own within 7 days and usually wont need antibiotics. Until the pain gets better, you can use simple pain relief medicines like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
If your earache is caused by an outer ear infection, you may need a prescription for antibiotic ear drops to treat it. The drops may contain other medicines such as steroids.
Never try to remove something stuck inside your ear by yourself ask your doctor for help.
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What Is My Doctor Looking For
Your doctor will ask you about any symptoms youâve had. Be sure to come to the office with any notes you might need and questions on your mind.
She will look at the eardrum with an instrument called an otoscope for signs of infection. This is a tough task with a fussy infant, so be ready to help calm the little one if itâs your child with the earache.
Signs of infection include a red eardrum or a bulging eardrum with fluid behind it. The fluid may be thin like during a cold, or thick like pus. It is located in the middle ear, just behind the ear drum. Otitis media means inflammation of the middle ear. A puffer attached to the otoscope blows air to see if your thin eardrum moves. With fluid in the middle ear, the eardrum is more rigid and doesn’t move back and forth.
She might also look for signs of infection with another instrument. Itâs called a tympanometer, and it uses sound and air pressure to check for fluid in the middle ear.
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Infections Inside The Ear
Antibiotics are not usually offered because infections inside the ear often clear up on their own and antibiotics make little difference to symptoms, including pain.
Antibiotics might be prescribed if:
- an ear infection does not start to get better after 3 days
- you or your child has any fluid coming out of the ear
- you or your child has an illness that means there’s a risk of complications, such as cystic fibrosis
They may also be prescribed if your child is less than 2 years old and has an infection in both ears.
If antibiotics are not prescribed, eardrops containing a painkiller and an anaesthetic might be prescribed.
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When Do Children Need Tubes In Their Ears
If your child has frequent ear infections, or if they have trouble hearing because of ongoing fluid in the middle ear, they may need a tube inserted through the eardrum and into the middle ear. The tube helps to keep air pressure normal on both sides of the ear drum and helps fluid drain from the middle ear.
Putting tubes in requires a brief operation by an ear, nose and throat surgeon. Children can usually go home the same day.
How Do I Prevent An Ear Infection
If you or a loved one gets ear infections often, here are a few ways to prevent them:
Clean your hands to prevent the spread of germs
Dry your ears thoroughly after water activities
Breastfeed children for at least 12 months
Dont smoke, and try to avoid secondhand smoke
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How Can I Prevent My Child From Getting An Ear Infection
- Wash your childs hands and your own often to keep germs away.
- If possible, breastfeed your baby.
- Avoid bottle-feeding your baby when they are lying down. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle.
- Transition your baby from a bottle to a cup by 1 year of age.
- Dont smoke, and keep your child away from any second-hand smoke. Exposure to smoke can increase the risk of ear infections.
- Ensure your child gets the pneumococcal vaccine .
- Ensure your child gets a flu shot every year.
- If your child has had many ear infections, try reducing the use of pacifiers . Using a pacifier may increase the risk of repeated ear infections.
Can You Get Rid Of An Ear Infection Without Going To The Doctor
As mentioned, in many ear infection cases, the infection is due to a virus or weak bacteria. Thankfully, these mild infections can resolve without the need to see a healthcare provider.
But in other cases, your immune system may not be able to fight off the infection, causing continued discomfort. You should seek medical attention if you have any of the following:
Symptoms that last for more than 2 to 3 days
A fever of 102°F or higher
Pus or fluid coming from the ear
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How Ear Drops Work For Earwax
All ear drops are designed to break down and dissolve the earwax buildup that is causing issues. The different substances used in the drops work in different ways:
- Mineral oil: Some OTC ear drops contain various types of mineral oil. Mineral oil softens hard and dry wax, which allows the wax to be cleared out of the ear once it becomes soft enough.
- Glycerin: Glycerin is used to soften the wax that has built up in the ears. This helps to clear any blockage or buildup, as the wax can then clear out on its own.
- Carbamide peroxide: Carbamide peroxide releases oxygen in the ear. The oxygen thats released causes foaming within the ear, and that foam softens, loosens, and helps remove the excess buildup of wax.
- Saline solution: Saline solution helps soften the wax that has become hard.
- Baking soda: Since baking soda is an alkaline substance, it can help clear out earwax by dissolving it. It can do this because the earwax is acidic. The chemical reaction that occurs between baking soda and earwax is what dissolves the earwax.
- Acetic acid: Acetic acid is found in water-based ear drops and helps dissolve the earwax buildup.
Although ear drops can be helpful in the removal of built-up earwax, there are some downfalls. For those who have sensitive skin, ear drops can cause irritation of the skin in and around the ear canal. Therefore, they should be used sparingly or as directed.
How Can I Prevent Future Ear Infections
Ear infections generally come after another illness caused by viruses or bacteria. Anything you can do to keep from getting sick or boost your immune system, should also help reduce your chance of ear infections. Here are ways to keep yourself and your family healthy:
Ear infection? Were ready to help.
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When To See Your Doctor
Dr. Nguyen-Huynh recommends seeing your doctor if:
- Your symptoms remain after two or three days, even if youve tried over-the-counter or home remedies.
- Your ear is very painful, or you have other symptoms that bother you.
- You have a fever over 104 degrees Fahrenheit
Other common conditions like temporomandibular joint dysfunction , can masquerade as earache infections. TMJ causes ear pain because your ear canal and jaw joint share a nerve.
If you have ear pain along with trouble chewing, talking or yawning, then you should see a dentist or TMJ expert to be sure youre treating the right condition, advises Dr. Nguyen-Huynh.
The good news? Hot and cold compresses and OTC pain relievers can also help relieve TMJ pain until you sort things out.
What If My Ear Infection Doesnt Go Away After Antibiotics
If you or your child finish your course of antibiotics, but it seems like the ear infection hasnt gone away, make an appointment with your doctor. Theyll help figure out whats going on and what to do next. Theres a chance that your doctor may prescribe a different type of antibiotic to see if it works better.
Its also possible that the infection is gone but the symptoms arent. This can happen if theres still fluid trapped in the ear, causing a plugged-up feeling, pain or hearing loss. Most of the time the fluid in ears drains within a couple of weeks, but sometimes it sticks around longer.
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Research On Treatments For Outer Ear Infections
Researchers from the analyzed the results of 19 randomized controlled trials that tested various treatments for outer ear infections. Almost 3,400 children and adults with an acute outer ear infection took part in these good-quality studies. The researchers didnt include studies on chronic outer ear infections.
Most of the studies were done in specialized ENT departments. The problem with that is that many people go to their family doctor when they have an earache they are referred to specialized ENT practices or clinics only if the infection is especially severe. So it might not be possible to apply the results of the study to all patients who have an outer ear infection.
Also, the treatments in the various studies weren’t always done in the same way. Because of this, it isnt possible to draw any reliable conclusions about the advantages and disadvantages of the various ear drops and sprays.
How Long Do Ear Infections Last Without Antibiotics
Generally, an ear infection will improve within the first couple days and clear up within one to two weeks without any treatment. It is recommended to use the wait-and-see approach for: Children age 6 to 23 months with mild inner-ear pain in one ear for less than 48 hours and a temperature less than 102.2 F.
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When To Call A Doctor
Ear pain often gets better in 2 or 3 days on its own or with home care. Often all you need to do is take a pain reliever and be alert for symptoms that get worse. That said, itâs important to know when your discomfort might be a sign of something more serious.
- You have a high fever, headache, or are dizzy.
- You believe an object is stuck in your ear.
- You see swelling behind your ear, especially if that side of your face feels weak or you canât move the muscles there.
- Youâve had severe ear pain and it suddenly stops .
- Your symptoms donât get better in 24 to 48 hours.
Can You Treat An Ear Infection At Home
It depends on the severity.
Mild-to-moderate ear infections frequently go away on their own. Fortunately, you can usually treat your symptoms at home in these situations. The CDC recommends rest, plenty of fluids, and pain relievers as the main home remedies for ear infections.
But severe ear infections cant, and shouldnt, be treated at home. You may need to take antibiotic or antiviral medications. Antibiotics and antivirals arent available OTC theyre only available with a prescription. In rare cases, your healthcare provider may also need to insert a small tube to help your ear drain.
If you need an antiviral medication, you should start taking it as soon as possible. For instance, if a virus like the flu has led to an ear infection, antiviral medications should ideally be taken within a few days of getting sick.
If you need an antibiotic, time isnt usually as sensitive. Your healthcare provider may recommend taking them right away, or they could recommend that you watch and wait before attempting to treat the infection.
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Who Should Take Oral Antibiotics For Ear Infections
- Children without ear tubes should take oral antibiotics for middle-ear infections, especially when they have severe ear pain or high fever.
- Children with ear tubes should take oral antibiotics if:
- They are very ill.
- They have another reason to be on an antibiotic.
- The infection doesnt go away with eardrops.
Oral Antibiotics Help Treat Swimmers Ear When:
- Infection spreads beyond the ear.
- The person has other conditions, such as diabetes, that increase the risk of complications.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
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