Golden Retrievers are wonderful dogs with sunny dispositions. Some Retrievers are more prone to ear infections, and knowing how to identify, treat, and prevent recurring infections will go a long way towards avoiding unnecessary pain and expense.
Checking Your Golden Retriever’s Ears
Since Golden Retrievers are one of the breeds prone to ear infections, it makes good sense to inspect your dog’s ears frequently. As long as they’re healthy, most Goldens don’t mind their ears being caressed. While you’re petting your dog, inspect his or her ears, turning them over and looking inside. Healthy ears will be pinkish, and the inner skin smooth. A sniff test can confirm that there are no infections brewing deep inside the ear.
If your Golden Retriever is exhibiting any of the classic signs of an ear infection, you will want to take a closer look. Signs of an ear infection in a dog include scratching at his ears, shaking the head as if to empty water from the ears, or in more advanced cases, holding the head tilted to one side.
If your dog is doing any of these things, look inside the ears with a flashlight and see if there’s any dark, granular build up, which can indicate the presence of ear mites. If your dog’s ears are sensitive while you’re handling them, or they feel warm to the touch or look swollen, that’s another sure-fire reason to start closer attention to your dog’s ear health as they are likely infected.
Golden Retriever Ears
Because the Golden Retriever is intelligent, empathetic, and imminently trainable, it’s a favorite as a service dog. Golden Retrievers are bred and trained for assisting the visually impaired, but many people don’t realize they are also especially bred as hearing service dogs. A Golden Retriever’s hearing is acute and sensitive, much more so than a human’s. That’s why caring for your Golden’s ears is so vital.
Your dog’s ear has three parts: the outer ear or pinna (also called the auricle), the middle ear, and the extremely delicate inner ear. The pinna can be seen visibly on your dog. It’s a flap that forms the outer section of the ear. The middle ear processes sound, and includes your dog’s eardrum and tiny bones referred to in layman’s terms as the hammer, anvil, and stirrup. Deep inside the inner ear are more delicate receptors, including the snail-shaped cochlea, auditory nerves, and tiny hair-like structures, which all contribute to your dog’s sense of balance.
Golden Retriever Ear Problems
Ear infections are a fairly common nuisance in dogs, especially in those that have heavy, hanging or drooping ears (the Basset Hound is probably the most extreme example). Breeds with floppy ears combined with profuse hair are even more susceptible, such as the Cocker Spaniel. In the case of your Golden Retriever, the exterior hair and shape of the ear flap are not quite as extreme, but he or she may still quite frequently be the subject of an ear infection. A dog’s ear canal is rather long and there is an abrupt turn in the canal right before the ear drum. While this right turn protects the ear drum, it also means one more angle to impede vital air circulation which aids to dry out the inner ear. In the case of floppy-eared dogs like your Golden Retriever, the dangling ears is an added reason that its ear canals are shut off from air flow, and the moist warm environment that results is ideal for bacteria and yeast growth.
If left untreated, ear infections can develop into chronic conditions which are very painful to the dog and may cause deafness. One condition that can arise from an undetected ear infection is an aural hematoma. This condition is indicated if your dog’s ear is quite swollen. An aural hematoma is caused by the accumulation of blood from a ruptured blood vessel in the ear, which can happen if your dog is constantly scratching or shaking his ears because an of an ear infection. If your dog’s ears get to this state, consult a veterinarian.
Types of Ear Infections (or Otitis)
If your Golden has an ear infection, it could be located in the external region (a condition referred to as otitis external), or in the middle or inner ear (otitis media and otitis internal, respectively). Generally, outer ear infections happen first, and the infections deeper inside your dog’s ear occur when the outer infection worsens and travels progressively inward.
An outer-ear infection may be accompanied by a colored waxy or pus-like discharge, often along with a foul odor, redness, and irritation. Watch for these behavioral symptoms in your dog: frequently scratching at his ear, shaking his head, or rubbing his ear along the floor or other objects.
Treating Ear Infections
Ear infections are most frequently caused by ear mites, bacteria, yeast fungus, or a combination of these. Some cleaners will only work on certain types of infections, and sometimes treatment at home will require several different products for cleaning the ear, followed by a separate medication to kill the mites, bacteria or yeast, once the particular intruder has been identified. It was for this reason that EcoEars was formulated.
By formulating EcoEars with a broad spectrum of powerful natural ingredients—with each one targeting specific infections—we created a product which not only cleans the ears but is also effective on the vast majority of dog ear infections. It has been used successfully on mites, yeast infections, and a wide range of bacterial infections. In addition to killing parasites and bacteria, EcoEars lowers the pH in your dog’s ear slightly which makes the ear environment far less susceptible to recurring infections.
To clean your dog’s ears, hold an ear flap up with one hand and wipe it with the other hand using soft tissues, a gentle, clean cotton rag, or cotton balls. Clean all the folds and crevices by wiping gently, but do not insert anything deep into the dog’s ears. For very dirty ears or ears that have dry, caked debris inside, fill the ear canal with an ear cleaner like EcoEars and massage the base of the ear for a few minutes. Allow the dog to shake his head before wiping the excess out with cotton balls. Bringing the bottle of cleanser to room temperature before applying to your dog’s ear channel can make the experience less objectionable to your dog.
Prevent a Future Infection
If you allow your Retriever to go swimming (and they do love to!), be sure to dry the inside of his or her ears thoroughly afterward. When bathing your dog, cover his ears during rinsing, and again, manually dry the inside of his ears with a soft, thin towel, dry washcloth or old clean T-shirt material. EcoEars can also be used as a preventative treatment to avoid recurring infections.
Treat Ear Infections: Take action now!
Ear infections must be treated as early as possible. If they are not checked, they are likely to worsen, and in severe cases they can cause your dog to go deaf. Once an ear infection has entered advanced stages you must go the vet for professional treatment. Most ear infections can be treated at home quickly, easily and inexpensively.
Vet Organics’ product, EcoEars Dog Ear Infection Formula & Cleaner is perfect for this. EcoEars works quickly and gently and is extremely effective and easy to use.
You’ll notice the symptoms begin to improve in 1-2 days and be gone in a few days. (Always continue treatment according to the instructions on the label.) Rest easy, because we offer a 100% no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee.
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