There is nothing worse than settling down on the couch with your pooch after a long day, only to catch a whiff of – eww, what is that? Stinky dog ears, yuck! What is going on?
In most cases, stinky ears can be attributed to an ear infection. Accompanying symptoms may include scratching or head shaking, redness and/or inflammation of the ear flaps and canal, and even goopy, crusty discharge. No wonder they smell!
An infection of the most visible part of the ear canal, considered the “outer ear,” is called otitis externa and is quite common. An infection found deeper down into the inner ear canal is called otitis interna, and, although much less common, can be a lot more serious than an outer ear infection as it can cause nausea and disorientation.
Luckily, almost all ear infections are easily treatable once they have been properly diagnosed. It is important to book an appointment with your veterinarian in order to determine these four things:
- What type of ear infection is it?
- Has the eardrum experienced any damage?
- What is the underlying cause of the infection?
- How do we go about treating the infection?
The doctor will use an otoscope to check the ear canal to see if they are dealing with an outer or an inner ear infection. As long as there isn’t too much discharge or inflammation, they will also be able to see the ear drum and make sure it is fully intact. Next, the doctor will take a sample of material from the ear canal and look at it under a powerful microscope. This is how they figure out what type of organism is the cause of the infection. Based on that diagnosis, they will prescribe the appropriate medication. Antibiotics, either oral or instilled directly into the ear, will be given if the infection appears bacterial, and an anti-fungal medication will be given if the infection appears fungal in nature. Most courses of treatment will last 7-14 days, but sometimes longer if the infection is chronic.
So, the next time you notice a foul odor coming from your dog’s ear, you’ll know why!