Outer ear infections are common with dogs and usually are caused by 1 of 4 culprits:
Yeast – Also known as Malassezia
Bacteria – Caused by Staph and any other numerous types of bacteria
A foreign body in the dog’s ear – Vets have found everything from blades of grass to small pieces of dog food stuck inside dog’s ear canals
Excess hairs growing inside the ear that trap moisture
There may also be an issue of yeast and bacterial infection occurring simultaneously. A dog may have an ear infection in the inner, middle or out ear canal. Most common is the outer and some owners may find these to be reoccurring.
What Are the Symptoms of a Boxer Dog Ear Infection?
Boxer dogs will show signs of the discomfort that they are feeling in their ears by:
Scratching at their ears
Attempting to rub their ear on the floor or up against furniture
Tilting their head - A sign of an infection that has reached the middle ear
A lack of balancing skill - A sign of an infection that has reached the middle ear
Strange eye movements - Also a sign of an infection that has reached the dog's middle ear
Treatment for Common Dog Ear Infections
The Boxer dog must be examined by the veterinarian. Tests will be performed such as examine the ear canal and in many cases, flushing the ear to examine the drum. For dogs who are sensitive, the dog may be sedated so that he or she does not jump or move erratically during examination and potentially causing harm.
The veterinarian will perform a professional cleaning and then medication will be given to you, to bring home to treat your Boxer dog. Most infections clear up in a week or so, if medication is given properly and ears are kept clean.
What About Reoccurring Dog Ear Infections?
There is help for a Boxer dog with reoccurring ear infections. Some dogs have chronic ear problems, that keep coming back as soon as the medication is gone and with some dogs, medication just does not seem to help.
For the sake of your Boxer dog's health, if your dog's veterinarian is not willing to do extensive tests to determine the exact cause of the reoccurring infections...get a 2nd opinion from a new vet! As long as the dog keeps getting hit by infections, scarring will increase and lead to even bigger health issues.
If this is the case with you dog, several steps should be taken:
1) The veterinarian should take a sample of the dog's ear discharge. This should then be cultured to pinpoint the exact culprit so that it can be specifically treated.
Owners must regularly perform ear washings at home
3)Testing may show that the infections are being caused by allergies. This is the #1 reason for reoccurring problems. Allergies take time to figure out...however once you can pinpoint the allergy trigger with a dog, treatment is often easy. A dog may be allergic to an external element or an internal element.
Think about all of the external elements that affect your dog and remove 1 element every 1 week. Doing so can help you to determine which element is causing problems for your dog. Common external elements are:
With an internal trigger, symptoms will be caused by something that your dog is ingesting; Canines are often allergic to artificial coloring. This can be found in lower-end commercial dog food and in many manufactured treats. For dogs that are sensitive to these chemicals, opting for white or cream colored treats is best. Orange and red treats hold a lot of chemicals.
If the ingredient is in the main meal itself, often it takes a complete 'reboot' to find the culprit. An owner should begin by only giving their dog plain, un-seasoned white breast chicken meat along with plain, un-seasoned white rice. After one week on this very bland diet, one new ingredient can be incorporated every 7 days.
Choosing fresh, wholesome vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, sugar snap peas and healthy fruits such as blueberries and raspberries can keep allergies away. Yogurt and cottage cheese can be mixed into these foods as well as a bit of plain cooked pasta.
If you are interested in making meals at home to keep artificial coloring, preservatives and fillers out of your dog's system, you may be interested in Healthy Home Cooking for the Boxer.
Pseudomonas Ear Infections
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a very rare type of bacteria and it is resistant to almost every antibiotic. When a dog has reoccurring infections, most likely every antibiotic has been tried. When this happens, most of the bacteria is killed off, but not all. What remains is a strain that is extremely resistant.
When the culture of the dog’s ear discharge is done, this will show if it is indeed Pseudomonas. This will also show if this strain is still vulnerable to the antibiotics Enrofloxacin or Orbifloxacin.
One of these two types of antibiotics should be given, in very high doses. Small doses would just make the bacteria more resistant. In addition, a topical treatment will be given as well to use at home.
Still No Relief?
If nothing can be determined as to the cause of the reoccurring dog ear infections and medication is not working, the next step would be for an experienced veterinarian to surgically open the vertical canal. The ear is then easily and completely cleaned out and treated.
Consistent ear infections can cause a dog's ear canal to become scarred. In some cases, this scarring can become so severe that the canal becomes almost closed. In these cases, a surgical procedure called an Ablation is the final option and only done in the most severe health cases with dogs for which no cause can be determined and medication just does not help.
In this procedure, the entire ear canal of the dog is removed. Healthy tissue then regrows. This is not performed by a general veterinarian; a specialist will do this and costs can run quite high.
Prognosis is quite good; the majority of dogs then go on to have zero ear infections for the rest of their lives.
Prevention and Proper Care at Home
Proper grooming in regard to the your dog’s ears will make a big difference. Dogs with a medical history of ear problems do much better with correct home care.
Remove excess hair - Hair stops the natural flow of air into the dog’s ear canal. Excess hair should be plucked out with tweezers.
Flushing - Once any excess hair is removed, the ears should be flushed and cleaned. This can be done with solution given to you by your dog’s veterinarian or over the counter dog cleaner products. After doing this, carefully and gently massage the base of your dog’s ears to help move the solution in and around the folds inside the ear. This solution will not only clean, but will dry the canal and help keep the pH balanced properly.
This should be done 1 time per week and any time after your dog has a bath or swims in water.