Dog Ear Infection or Mites?

Dog ear problems such as a dog ear infection, can spring up quickly, and cause a tremendous amount of pain for your pet.

Properly taking care of your Golden Retriever's ears will greatly reduce the chances of her getting an infection.

©Photo courtesy of Pawel Pieniazek

Generally, an infection is caused by moisture inside of the ears.  Since Golden Retriever's have long ears, air does not circulate well.

Many people mistake the beginning signs of an infection for  mites, as a few of the symptoms can mimic each other.

However, contrary to popular belief, dog ear mites are not all that common. 

Cats are much more prone to mites than a dog is.

If your Golden Retriever is shaking her head, scratching her ears, or you can see an excessive amount of dark, brownish-black ear wax build up inside her ears, this can be the beginning symptoms of a dog ear infection.

©Photo Courtesy of Kevin Hooke and "Poppy"

It is these signs that people mistakenly believe to be signs of mites, and try to treat their dog, with an over the counter remedy, while the infection grows more severe.

Unless you are very knowledgeable in identifying mites, it would be best to take your dog to the vet, to verify whether she has mites, since an infection is more often the problem.

As a dog’s infection progresses, you may notice her holding her head tilted to one side.  Her face and ear can swell.

There usually will be an odor, but this is not always evident in the beginning stages.

©Photo Courtesy of Andrea Titterness

As the infection continues to progress, the inside of her ear will turn a bright red, and you can actually feel the heat coming off of it.  There may also be small blisters inside.

She may get a yellowish-white, pus discharge. 

As this drains from her ear, her face will also become infected.

You may be thinking that it takes awhile for the symptoms to reach this stage, but an infection can happen incredibly fast, and can go from not realizing she has one, to being extremely severe, within a day or two.

©Photo Courtesy of Ari Mattson

Your dog will usually need to have her fur shaved from her face and neck, along with antibiotics, and medicated ear drops.

The good news is that she can make a full recovery from it, without there being any permanent damage to her hearing.

Anytime your dog has ear problems, it is always best to be safe than sorry, and get her to a vet, rather than self diagnose on your own.

Prevention is always the best rule of thumb.  Cleaning your dog's ears on a regular basis is the best prevention. 

If you take your Golden Retriever for a swim, part of your her care should always include drying her ears thoroughly afterward.

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Consult your vet for advice about medical treatment for your Golden Retriever.
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