Healthy ears

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Ear infections is a common problem especially with longer haired breeds, but all dogs can get ear infections. Some hints to avoid ear infections:-

  • Never spray water directly into the ear canal.
  • Always wipe the dogs ears out after a bath.

Seeds
Country dogs often get grass seeds down the ears, causing a head standing, mind-bursting tickle. The onset is sudden and the vet should be seen as soon as possible; grass seeds left down the ear can cause long-term chronic ear problems.

Mites
Especially with dogs who sleep in close proximity to cats, ear mites can be a problem. Invisible to the naked eye, these creepy-crawlies, often buried in wax, cause a tickle by doing a dance down the ear canal. This condition can be diagnosed with the microscope and the vet will prescribe suitable drops.

Hemorrhage In The Earflap
This causes it to swell up like a balloon, and usually only occurs in older dogs who have some chronic ear trouble. Plagued by a bad ear, they shake their heads a lot, rupturing one of the ear’s tiny blood vessels. Surgery is usually needed in such a case.

Local Allergic Reaction
Sometimes the bare underside of the earflap becomes irritated by something in the environment such as grasses and goes red and hot. The dog shakes its head because of the irritation and may start trouble further down the ear. A call to your vet would be suggested.

Signs Of Ear Problems
Head shaking, rubbing the ear along the ground or scratching it are usually the first signs of ear problems in a dog. The more chronic case will hold its head to one side or hold the ear flattened against the head. Any bad smell coming from the ear spells trouble. Also, any yellow discharge should be regarded very seriously and requires an immediate visit to the vet. Remember though in some bad ear cases there are no early signs so you must always do a regular check.

Putting In Ear Drops
Sometimes ears do not get better under treatment because owners do not put the drops or ointment in correctly. They often flatten the ear across the top of the head so the ear canal closes and the drops do not go to the bottom where they are needed. If you hold the ear up vertically by the tip, this opens up the canal so the drops hit the spot. Then you should massage the base of the ear where you will hear a squelching sound, indicating the drops have collected in the right place.

Ears – One Up One Down
This condition is often due to teething as it seems the local pain in the mouth causes the muscles that make the ears stand up to not function properly. Some pups’ ears can end up in bizarre position where they are so erect that they cross over while others end up with one ear up and one ear down.

Many show dog owners actually tape up their pups ears so that they eventually stand up themselves. If the ears are not up by 4 months, and you want your dogs ears to stand up then taping must start to prevent a ‘soft ear’. Many good show dogs have been lost because this was not done. Many dog owners will verify that they have had a pup who’s had a soft ear, but with continous taping, it slowly gets stronger and will one day hold itself without any help.

Of course if those ears do not end up in the right place, it may spoil your pup’s chances for the show ring, but it does not detract from the health of the pup.

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