Are you looking for information on Labrador ear infection? Do you suspect your lab is suffering from ear disease? In this article we will outline the reasons for labrador ear problems, the signs, symptoms, treatments and more.
Dogs are, perhaps, a man’s best friend. They stick around through thick and thin and bring a smile on your face. Talk about Labrador Retriever only – the sweet-faced “handsome fellow.” Labs are energetic and enthusiastic athletes who love to socialize.
Labs are true companions who not only form a bond with the owner and their family but also neighbor dogs. While Labs are a cheerful breed, ear infections can cause a serious nuisance to them. Ear infections are common to most pets; however, dogs are the most vulnerable.
Labrador Ear Infection
Do you know that more than 20 percent of dogs have some form of ear disease, including infection? So, your Lab is not alone dealing with the pain. Dogs with floppy ears, such as Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, and Labrador Retriever, are more susceptible to ear infections due to their ear structure.
A Labrador’s Ear Structure
Unlike humans, the ear canal of dogs is more vertical, giving it an L-shape. The shape holds in fluid, such as wax and bacteria. Labradors have floppy ears that give them an endearing distinctive look. However, the same soft ear flaps make a Lab vulnerable to ear diseases.
The soft furry flaps cover the ear canal, creating a dark warm environment. No to mention, germs thrive in such places. Also, the flopped-ears trap ear wax, dirt, and other bacteria in the ear canal and inner ear structure.
Labrador Retriever Ear Infection types
The ear is the ideal place for infections to settle in and can occur anywhere in the ear. Your dog may develop an infection in the inner, middle, or outer ear.
- Otitis Externa - It is the most common ear infection in Labrador Retrievers. Otitis externa is the infection of external ear, which causes inflammation. It affects the layer of cells lining outside the ear canal.
- Otitis Media - Otitis media occurs in the middle ear of the dogs. When otitis externa worsens, it reaches the middle ear canal.
- Otitis Interna - It is the advanced stage of the infection and affects the inner ear canal.
Both otitis media and interna can cause serious health problems for your companion. It may lead to facial paralysis, deafness, and vestibular signs.
Symptoms of Labrador Ear Infection
The big question: How do you know that your Lab is dealing with an ear infection? The most common sign is the excessive production of earwax or hypothyroidism. As a result, your dog may begin to
- Scratch its ear
- Shake head incessantly
- Also, examine your Labs’ ear for these symptoms
- Redness or swelling
- A foul discharge
Causes of Labrador Ear Infection
Many factors can trigger an infection in your Labrador’s ear. Adult dogs develop ear infections mostly because of yeast and bacteria. In young puppies, ear mites are a major cause of ear infections. Some of the other causes include:
- Moisture in the ear
- Skin allergies (in 50% of dogs) and food sensitivities (in 80% of dogs)
- Hormonal abnormalities
- Endocrine disorders, such as thyroid problems
- Foreign bodies
- Trauma or injury to the ear canal
- Excessive cleaning
Labrador Ear Infection Home Remedy
Nature has an abundance of sources that can help alleviate the symptoms of your dog’s ear infection. The best thing is that you can find most of the ingredients in your home only.
- Natural Oil - Rather than washing your dog ears excessively, you can pour a couple of coconut or olive oil drops in the ear. Natural oils soften the wax buildup in the ear canal and help move it up. You can easily wipe the wax with a tissue.
- Mullein Oil - Mullein is a plant with antibacterial properties. It helps alleviate the pain, kills bacteria, and reduces the swelling. Soak the mullein leaves in olive oil and add a clove of garlic in the mixture for 2-3 weeks. Strain the liquid and apply a few drops on your dog’s ear.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Vinegar is a potent antiseptic and antibiotic substance for fighting bacteria and infections. Prepare a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. You may either spray the mixture in the infected ear or soak a cotton ball in it to clean out the ear.
- Baking Soda - Baking soda is a potent neutralizing agent that helps eradicate most of the fungal infection. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda in one-liter water. Spray the solution on the infected area.
- Vitamin C -Adding Vitamin C in your dog’s diet can prevent ear infections and improve aural health. Fresh lemon is one of the best sources of Vitamin C. Use an equal amount of water and fresh lemon juice to prepare a solution. Massage your dog’s earlobes with the mixture. Its citrus smell repels fleas and pushes them away from your buddy.
Labrador Ear Infection Treatment
If you notice adverse symptoms of ear infection in your Labrador, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. Acute ear infections take 1-2 weeks to resolve. The vet will recommend a conventional treatment plan with some conventional medications.
The first step, however, is the thorough examination of your dog’s ear with a medicated cleanser. After examination, your vet may prescribe a topical anti-fungal for the yeast. For severe infection, he/she may also give oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines for fast relief.
In the case of chronic ear infection in one or both the ears, conventional treatment may fail. The vet, therefore, may recommend surgery, such as TECA –Total Ear Canal Ablation. During the procedure, the vet removes the ear canal, which eventually removes the affected tissue from your dog’s ear.
Your dog is your companion who is unable to express their pain through words. However, if you “talk” to your Lab more often, you can detect the early signs of an ear infection or other ear diseases. You may treat your “friend” with some natural remedies.
Also, you may go for conventional treatment, such as steroids and antibiotics. However, make sure there are no lapses in the treatment as this may lead to other infections.