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D2009-45

Dear Daisy Dog

My dog, Barney, repeatedly develops ear infections. How can I decrease their recurrence?

Daisy Responds

My brother, Ollie, has the same problem, so I consulted him.

He explained that some of us dogs have certain “predisposing factors” that make us more likely to develop ear trouble.

In a study of 100 dogs with ear infections, the most common predisposing factor was pendulous ears, found in 35 percent. Others include hairy ear canals (18 percent), water in the ear and abnormally narrow ear canals.

The next cause of ear infections is a category known as “primary factors,” the most common of which is allergies, identified in 43 of the 100 dogs with ear infections. We dogs may be allergic to something we inhale, like pollen or mold, and/or to an ingredient in our food.

Less common primary factors include mites, foreign material stuck in the ear canal and diseases such as hypothyroidism.

Finally, ear infections persist and recur because of “perpetuating factors.” The most common of these are thickening of the ear canal (in 38 percent of dogs with ear infections) and rupture of the eardrum with subsequent infection deeper in the ear (in 25 percent.)

To determine the predisposing, primary and perpetuating factors in Barney’s ear infections, consult your regular veterinarian or a veterinary dermatologist. Once these factors are identified, treatment to decrease recurrences can be instituted.

 

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