Saturday, July 5, 2008

Natural Treament of Acute and Chronic Ear Infections in Dogs

Chronic and acute ear infections in dogs can difficult to treat. There are some natural treatment options for dog ear infections and sinus infections.

If you don’t know the signs of an ear infection in your dog, then chances are that you are still familiar with the smell! It is one that once you come across it, you never forget it. Dogs with chronic ear infections are fighting a painful disease that in most cases can be prevented with proper care. Knowing the signs and symptoms of this condition is the first step to eliminating the problem. By knowing your pet and paying attention to their signs you can help make your dog’s ear infections a thing of the past.

There are three distinct parts to your dog’s ear, the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear. Ear infections are generally caused by a build up of bacteria on the outer ear canal. If left un-cleaned, these bacteria can get out of control and lead to an infection. While this can happen in any breed, some are more at risk than others. Dogs with floppy ears like Cocker Spaniels, Bassett Hounds, or Labs, are in this group as well as dogs with hair that grows in their ears, like Poodles.

The best way to prevent these infections in any breed is to keep the ear area clean and dry. To clean your dog’s ears you first need to obtain a good ear cleaning solution. Your vet can recommend one to you. Fill the ear canal with the cleaner and massage the ears for about 30 seconds. Then carefully clean out any debris with a cotton ball. You may have to repeat this process several times to completely clean the area. When finished allow your dog to shake their head and dry out their ears. Then you can apply any medication your vet has given you.

So how do you know if you have an infection on your hands or not? First you have to know what you are looking for. The biggest thing, and what most people notice right off, is the smell. Your dog will develop a very strong foul odor that originates in their ears. They might also be scratching at or rubbing their ears and head. If you look into the ear you might notice some discharge or redness and swelling, and the area could be painful for you to touch. Also if you notice that your dog is suddenly shaking their head a lot, you should probably have them checked out.

Ear infections can only be diagnosed in the vet’s office. There are many conditions that can cause this same set of symptoms and each one requires a different course of treatment. Your vet will need to take a swab of your dog’s ear and look at it under a microscope. Only then can they tell if the problem is mites, yeast, bacteria, or a more serious underlying problem. Once they have this figured out, then they will set you on the right path to recovery.

The treatment regimen will depend on the cause of your dog’s ear infection. You may be given an oral antibiotic, a cream for the ears, or both, it just depends. Some dogs have to be anesthetized in order to handle the pain of their ears being cleaned and treated. You have to remember that an ear infection can be extremely painful for your dog. It is important to be gentle in treating it.

One school of thought around the treatment of ear infections is found in the area of natural cures. There are some very well researched homeopathic remedies such as PetAlive Ear Dr. available on the market that show as good if not better results then what you can get with a prescription. These options use natural herbs and extracts to heal the infection from the source, as well as preventing its spread from one pet to another. While natural cures may not be some pet owners first choice, there is too much strong data there to ignore this option. Make sure that you bring it up when you speak with your vet, because in the long run it might just be better for you and your dog! Homeopathic and natural remedies are increasing in popularity for most pet health issues.

If you follow the vet’s instructions then your pet should make a full recovery. But, if you don’t find and treat the cause of the infection then it will be back before you know it. Take the time to clean your pet’s ears regularly and work with your vet to find the cause. Curing the cause will make both you and your dog much happier in the end.

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