Canine Glue Ear: What is that Gunk in Your Dog’s Ear?
Molly, a loving dog owner, was baffled when she noticed a strange, gunky substance in her dog’s ear. Concerned about her furry friend, she promptly sought help from her veterinarian. It was then that she learned her dog had Canine Glue Ear, a condition she had never encountered before. Eager to find out more, Molly embarked on a mission to understand the ins and outs of this peculiar condition.
Glue ear (also known as “otitis externa”) occurs when wax builds up inside the ear canal. This is a common problem in Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs. This causes irritation and pressure, which leads to inflammation and infection. The most common cause is a bacterial infection. This problem is common among small dogs, especially those under 12 weeks of age.
The term glue ear refers to the sticky substance that accumulates in the middle ear. In some cases, fluid accumulation causes the eardrum to stick together, preventing sound waves from passing into the inner ear. Other times, the fluid becomes infected, causing swelling and inflammation.
What Causes Ear Glue in Dogs?
Glue ear may cause a dog to lick itself excessively. Overgrooming happens when a dog licks his fur excessively. Licking removes oils that protect hair follicles and prevent bacteria from growing. Licking causes them to ingest excessive amounts of saliva, dries out their ears, and makes them itch. As a result, the dog scratches his head until he bleeds, causing him pain. He may also scratch himself raw, leading to infection.
Another reason is allergies. Allergies also cause the glue in a dog’s ear. Dogs with allergies often lick their paws, face, eyes, and ears. They may also rub against furniture and carpeting, causing them to pick up allergens. The allergens can then be transferred to their ear when they lick or scratch the area.
Finally, some breeds are predisposed to developing glue ears. These include poodles, bulldogs, boxers, and terriers. These breeds have a genetic disposition to excessive wax production in their ears, which can lead to the closure of the ear canal and result in hearing loss.
Watch for Glue Ear Symptoms
Your dog may experience clinical signs such as fever, lethargy, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst. These symptoms indicate that your dog may be experiencing discomfort due to a glued ear.
Here are other signs of glue ear:
- rubbing and scratching their head or neck against the furniture
- licking ears excessively
- His ears flap when he walks.
- He pulls his ears out of his head.
- He shakes his head back and forth.
- He may yawn excessively and cough.
- He wiggles his ears.
- He rubs his eyes.
- His head tilts
- He looks uncomfortable.
- He seems anxious.
- The mucus plug can be seen in their ears.
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, take him to the vet immediately. The sooner he receives treatment, the better his chances of recovery.
How Do Veterinarians Diagnose and Treat Otitis Externa in Dogs
Otitis Externa (glue ear) is a common problem in a dog’s middle ear. It affects about 10% of all dogs. While most dogs recover naturally within a few weeks, some experience symptoms even months later. If you notice signs of glue ear in your dog, rule out other possible causes before referring them to an otolaryngologist.
Veterinarians diagnose dogs with gluing ears by ruling out other diseases such as allergies, bacterial infections, foreign bodies, and tumors. They do this by performing a thorough physical examination using an otoscope. First, a veterinarian looks at the inside of your dog’s ear. This procedure is called otoscopy. This is done to determine any swelling or fluid behind the ear drum. CT or MRI scan is also used to diagnose glued ears. In addition, it helps veterinarians see if there is any damage to the eardrum or inner ear.
Another way to diagnose ear glue is called a myringotomy. Vets take samples of blood and tissue. Next, a small incision is made on the top of the ear, allowing the doctor to insert a needle to remove the accumulated fluid. Once the liquid has been removed, the hole is closed with stitches.
The final method used to diagnose glue ear is Tympanocentesis. First, a syringe is inserted into the eardrum through the opening created during the previous step. Next, the veterinarian collects a sample of fluid from inside the middle ear.
Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, vets will recommend different treatments. Treatment may depend on the severity of the condition. For mild cases, vets recommend keeping the dog’s ears clean and dry. A warm compress applied to the affected areas will help relieve itching. You can also use a topical solution containing corticosteroids. These topical solutions help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Removing the mucus plug and flushing are also recommended if your dog experiences frequent episodes of ear discharge. Flushing involves inserting a cotton ball soaked in saline solution into the ear canal. This helps clear debris from the ear canal. This may need to be repeated this process several times over a week.
For more severe cases, the vet may prescribe corticosteroids and antibiotics to treat the underlying bacterial infection. Antibiotics should not be used if the dog has a penicillin allergy. Antibiotics work well because they kill bacteria quickly and effectively. However, antibiotics aren’t effective against viruses so they won’t cure viral infections.
If your dog has a bacterial infection, he may need to take antibiotics for several days. Antibiotics are safe when used properly, but some dogs experience side effects, including diarrhea, vomiting, skin rashes, and loss of appetite.
In addition to treating the infection, vets may recommend surgery if the condition does not improve after several days. Surgery involves removing excess earwax and cleaning the ear canal. It is usually performed.
Surgery is another option for severe cases of glue ear. First, the vet removes excess wax and debris from the ear canal during surgery. Then, the surgeon makes a small cut in the eardrum to allow air to enter the ear. Afterward, the surgeon closes the wound with sutures.
While surgery can be very successful, it is only sometimes necessary. Some dogs recover without undergoing surgery. Others require only one surgical procedure. Your vet must recommend the best treatment plan based on your dog’s needs.
After surgery, you’ll need to monitor your dog closely for signs of infection. If you see any signs of infection, contact your veterinarian immediately.
How To Prevent Otitis Externa in Dogs
Prevention is the key to keeping otitis externa under control. Here are some tips to prevent otitis externa in dogs.
- Cleanse the Ears Regularly
Your dog’s ears need to be kept clean to prevent this condition. Regular cleaning includes keeping your dog’s ears clean and dry, removing debris, and checking the ears regularly. Use cotton balls soaked in warm water to gently wipe out excess debris and dirt. Make sure to dry off the ears thoroughly after cleaning.
- Avoid Playing in Water
Dogs often play in the water, especially puppies. As a result, they may lick their paws and ears excessively after swimming. This habit causes bacteria to enter the ear canal.
- Use Antibiotic Ointments
Antibiotics such as amoxicillin or cephalexin are effective against bacterial infections. Apply these medications directly onto the affected area twice daily until symptoms subside.
- Provide Plenty of Fresh Air
Fresh air is necessary to maintain proper humidity levels in the environment. Make sure your pet has access to fresh air every day.
- Maintain a Proper Diet
A balanced diet is essential to maintaining optimal health. Feed your dog a nutritious diet rich in protein and carbohydrates. Also, avoid giving your dog too many treats. Overfeeding can cause excessive buildup of wax, which can lead to glue ear. It can also cause other problems, such as obesity or diabetes.
- Vaccinate Against Viruses
Vaccination is one of the best preventive measures against diseases. Ask your veterinarian about vaccines recommended for your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
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