One of the most extraordinary attributes of the canine is its acute sense of hearing. As in humans, the dog's ear and ear canal can build up with fluid from common infections and diseases - most of which are easily treated, and in many cases, are also preventable.
There are signs that a dog can have an ear infection. Shaking of the head, scratching of the ears, foul odor or discharge coming from the ear are all symptoms of an ear infection or fluid build- up in the ears. WebMD describes other signs of ear infections in dogs to include loss of balance, redness and swelling. If fluid in the ear lobe is present, it may be brown, yellow or bloody.
According to the ASPCA ear infections are common in dogs with heavy, droopy or hairy ears. Because of the "L" shape of the ear canal, the inside of the ear may not be able to dry out after getting wet causing bacterial growth.
There are three types of ear infections affecting canines. Otitis external infects the ear canal, otitis media infects the middle ear and otitis internal is an infection of the inner ear. Most common are the middle ear infections. Most ear infections are caused by bacteria or ear mites and do require treatment.
A small parasite that lives in the ear canals and in the head of the canine is an ear mite. They feed on tissue and can cause inflammation in the dog's ears. Pet Education explains that a common sign of ear mites is scratching and head shaking; however, extreme cases may cause discharge or bleeding from the ears. Ear mites in dogs can be treated with medications from your veterinarian. Thoroughly drying your dog's ears after bathing or swimming, and cleaning the ears can help prevent ear mites.
Yeast thrives in moist, warm environments making the ear a welcome spot for yeast to grow. Common symptoms for a yeast infection in a dog's ears include scratching and rubbing of the ear, redness, swelling, discharge and foul odor coming from the ear. Yeast infections are similar to ear infections as the discharge can be brown, yellow or bloody. These infections are treatable by your veterinarian.
A hematoma is swelling caused by a ruptured blood vessel. When those blood vessels bleed, the hematoma appears like a mass in the dog's ear. This hematoma is firm and filled with fluid. Should the mass rupture, the dog's ear may emit fluid. According to Healthy Pets this mass is usually caused by an underlying problem such as trauma. In some cases, the mass will need to be drained of the fluid.
A common contributor to ear problems in dogs is allergies. These allergies can be caused by the food the dog eats or from airborne particles from the dog's environment. Allergies that affect the ear can contribute to bacteria and yeast infections of the ear. Because there are various allergies that can affect dogs, Animal Pet Doctor recommends a thorough exam to find the underlying cause.
Foreign bodies that enter the ear can cause irritation and injury. Scratching of the ear can lead to trauma which then leads to infections. During cleaning and grooming, observe the ears for substances that shouldn't be there.
Vet Info warns "The accumulation of ear wax can facilitate the occurrence of fungal or bacterial ear infections." Over-production of ear wax can be caused by other underlying issues such as allergies and the growth of hair. The ear wax causes the ear to be moist which promotes the growth of bacteria. Removing your dog's ear wax regularly can help prevent infections that can lead to fluid build-up in the ears.
To help prevent of ear infections that can lead to fluid in a dog's ears is to keep the ears clean and dry. Clip excess hair from around the ears to allow air flow. If your dog is showing signs of ear discomfort, excessive scratching, a foul odor or discharge from the ears seek veterinarian as soon as possible.