I have had Goldens and Black Labs for many years, and they are well known for ear conditions. But remember, no matter how efficient you are in caring for your dog's ears, serious conditions may still arise. Also, beware when your dog flaps its ears too much; this can cause a hematoma, which I will discuss a little further on. My Golden had to be operated for this.
Regular inspection of your dog's Ears
By performing ear inspections you will be able to detect problems early. Use both your eyes and your nose. A small flashlight will assist you in seeing problems. I have "smelled out" more serious problems using my nose.
This method can detect ear infections early. Normally a dog's ears shouldn't smell foul in any way. A dark waxy discharge this may be a sign of ear mites. A pus-like discharge along with a foul smell this is a sign of a bacterial infection. Allergies are also known to cause a foul smell in your dog's ears. My Golden had very sensitive ears. If something feels wrong, make sure you have your Veterinarian check it right away. Have your Vet show you what to look for, and how to look for potential problems! My Vet is an amazing teacher and he is always willing to show me things.
What dogs are more susceptible to ear problems?
Dogs with floppy ears, like spaniels and bloodhounds, are very prone to ear infections because very little air flows into their ear canals. There are also breeds, like the Lhasa Apso, that have a heavy growth of hair inside their ears. Dogs that frequently swim are more susceptible to ear problems. And, Goldens can be very susceptible to ear problems.
If you suspect that excess ear hair is a problem, you may need to remove the hair that grows inside your dog's ears. This is not very difficult and if you have a problem, find a good groomer to do it for you.
How to clean your dog's ears:
Your dog's eardrum is better protected than a human's, but you should still proceed with caution when cleaning the ear canal. Do not insert anything into your dog's ear. Use only the small square cleaning pads, or cotton balls. Use anything that is very soft, but has no tips. Ask your groomer or Vet to show you the best way to clean YOUR dog's ears...
Checking your dog's ears only takes a few minutes so make it a part of your dog grooming routine. And when your dog's ears need a cleaning don't put it off. Remember regular cleanings can prevent many common ear problems. If you think a problem may be developing that is beyond the scope of your home dog ear care routine, take your dog to the vet for a check up immediately. An infection, if left untreated, can be very painful.
My Golden had one once, a big one, from shaking her head because of her ear condition. My Vet says a hematoma can turn into a very serious condition if not treated. Hematomas are collections of blood. They are common in ears because there doesn't seem to be anything in the ear to generate enough pressure to stop bleeding until
the ear swells enough with blood. Ear infections, ear mites, fly bite irritation, mosquito bites, allergies and immune mediated diseases have all been implicated as underlying causes for this problem. Anything that causes the dog to flap its ears can make this happen and it appears to occur spontaneously in a number of dogs. Large hematomas should be treated surgically or medically.
Surgery usually involves making an incision on the inner aspect of the ear and draining the blood, removing any blood clots that are left and then suturing the two sides of the ear together by putting sutures all the way through it, in a "mattress" pattern. Sometimes it is possible just to place a drain and massage the blood out of the ear daily until it heals.
If you use a commercial ear product please make sure it is of good quality and please make sure it is the proper product for the condition. So many dogs have had tremendous ear pain and complications because of the wrong product, or the wrong use of a product.
An educated dog owner is the best kind of dog owner.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is designed for educational purposes only and should not be used in any other manner. This information is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice.
My name is Ruth Bird, and I am the owner of 3 dogs, 2 are Registered Therapy Visiting Dogs, my third dog is blind. My passions are health for people and pets and promoting a happy, healthy and wealthy lifestyle. http://www.happypetstop.com