Toddlers and children get a lot of ear infections. Springer spaniels have very different ears than children, but your springer is your furry child. And they do get ear infections too.
A springer spaniel ear infection can cause pain along with many other problems. In the reading below, you will find out all about springer spaniel ear problems, infections, what to look for, and how to prevent and deal with these problems. It’s all about the ears!
Causes of Springer Spaniel Ear Infections
Ears: One cause for infections for your springer spaniel is, of course, the most obvious, their long drooping ears, which trap moisture and have trouble totally drying out.
Hair: Thick hair in the ear canal traps dirt and moisture. Plus leaves, twigs, etc., from outdoor play.
Allergies: Pollen and food allergies can be the cause of ear infections are frequent. Allergies can cause your springer to rub their ears, releasing exudates, which is a clear or pus-like fluid in areas of inflammation. Allergies cause inflammation, and this fluid can cause an ear infection.
Mites: Mites are tiny parasites that live in the outer ear, under the skin. They feed off of oil and ear wax. They cause itching and scratching, which can then develop into an infection. Puppies are more prone to ear mites, but dogs that play a lot outdoors also can get them. They are highly contagious and need treatment for your spaniel as well as any other dogs or cats in your household.
- WAX BUILD-UP
- EXCESSIVE CLEANING
- AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS
- THYROID DISEASE OR OTHER DISORDERS OF THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM
- FOREIGN OBJECTS
- EAR CANAL INJURY
Symptoms to Look Out for
If something seems off with your springer spaniel and you suspect an ear infection, listed below are some symptoms.
- CONTINUOUS EAR SCRATCHING
- HEAD SHAKING OR TILTING
- YEASTY ODOR
- DISCHARGE THAT IS DARK, BLOODY, OR CONTAINS PUS
- EAR CANAL IS RED and SWOLLEN
- CRUSTY SCABS IN EARS
- LOSS OF APPETITE
- BALANCE PROBLEMS
- NAUSEA AND VOMITING
Types of Ear Infections
Ear infections in dogs can be one of three types. The first type of ear infection is found in the otitis externa, which is the external ear canal, which causes inflammation that affects cells that line this area.
Otitis media affects the middle ear canal and is an infection that has spread from the otitis externa.
Otitis interna is an infection that has spread to the inner ear canal.
Otitis media and interna can become quite severe. If left untreated, your pup could suffer from facial paralysis, become deaf, or be impaired permanently with vestibular signs such as dizziness, vertigo, changes in hearing, and even visual disturbances
Anatomy of a Springer Spaniel’s Ears
The springer spaniel is a medium-sized dog who is a friendly chap, obeys readily, learns quickly, aims to please, and has a lot to offer in this furry compact package.
The spaniel has a thick fluffy coat with long velvety ears. It’s the floppy ears that can cause problems.
Springer spaniels are prone to ear infections for two reasons; one obvious and one not so much. Their luxurious long ears are the obvious, but it’s the anatomy that is hidden.
The human ear canal is very short (2.5 centimeters = 1 inch) and runs straight back to the eardrum, gently sloping downward at the eustachian tube.
Your springer spaniel’s ears and other dogs have a narrow long ear canal (5.08 centimeters =2inches) that bends 90 degrees as it travels to the eardrum and beyond and is, in fact, L shaped. This leaves a long way for bacteria to travel.
Dogs more prone to ear infections are your springer spaniel, cocker spaniels, basset hounds, and dachshunds. Do you see the pattern here? Long floppy ears.
Studies have shown that breeds with long ears are more prone to ear infections because their ears contain a lot of humidity because of lack of air circulation, and this traps moisture, making it a breeding ground for bacteria.
Ear Infection Treatment
If your springer spaniel is suffering from any of the symptoms above, you should schedule an appointment with their veterinarian as soon as possible. Of course, if symptoms become severe, don’t hesitate to take them to your local animal clinic or hospital.
It may just be ear mites that cause the shaking of the head, but ear infections can be very painful, and your pup can’t tell you they’re in pain. Seeking help early is critical in preventing their ear infection from spreading farther into the ear.
Your veterinarian will check your pup’s outer ear for signs of infection and do an exam with an otoscope to check out their middle and inner ear. They will palpate your spaniel’s ear gently to see if they are in any pain. They may take a culture or even take an x-ray.
If it is an ear infection, your springer spaniel will be given oral antibiotics, eardrops, or both.
Most early ear infections will clear in about a week or two. If your pup’s infection is more severe, it may take a few months, especially if this is a chronic problem caused by underlying conditions, such as allergies or thyroid disease.
Be sure to follow all directions and administer all medication as directed and for the length of time indicated.
If your pup’s ear problem is ear mites, your spaniel’s ear will be cleaned, and you will be given an ear mite solution to use.
Ear Infection Prevention
In some cases, you can do everything humanly possible to prevent ear infections, and your springer spaniel will still end up suffering, especially if they have underlying conditions that affect their ear health. Still, prevention is the key and can help immensely. Below are some tips to prevent springer spaniel ear problems and for squeaky clean ears!
EAR CLEANING 101
The most important part of preventing ear issues is cleaning and cleaning correctly. Always use good quality or vet recommended ear cleaning solution.
Beginning as puppies helps because this can feel a bit uncomfortable and tickly, so this way, your pup becomes acclimated to the process, and it grows easier each time.
Squeeze solution into your spaniel’s ear canal (warming the bottle in lukewarm water helps, so it’s not so cold) and massage well from the outside. Using gauze, wipe out the ear canal and around the outside of the ear too.
You may need several gauze pads. Never use paper towels, which are rough and scratchy, or cotton balls that can leave behind fuzz and fiber. Never, ever use cotton swabs, especially in the ear canal, as you can damage or puncture the eardrum.
Cleaning your springer spaniel’s ears should take place anywhere from once a week to once a month. If they play outdoors frequently and get dirty, then cleaning more often would be helpful. Just don’t go overboard because too much cleaning can irritate and dry out delicate tissue, creating problems as well.
Other Preventative Methods
After bathing your spaniel or if they’ve been swimming, be sure to dry their ears well to prevent excess moisture. You can even go so far as flipping your pup’s ears over their head to dry if they stay there.
You or a groomer may have to do a little trimming in and around your springer’s ears if that also blocks airflow.
Any allergies your pup has should be dealt with if this is a reason for ear infections. A change of food or an addition of allergy medication may be needed.
Ear mites should also be taken care of if this is a problem. Keeping your spaniel’s ears clean will help, but if mites are an issue, you will need to use an ear mite solution. Don’t forget to treat any other household pets as ear mites are highly contagious.
Hopefully, your springer spaniel will never be plagued by ear infections. Just remember to keep their ears clean and check them out while you’re cleaning for any abnormalities. If they develop any of the symptoms above, or you suspect an ear infection, don’t hesitate to contact their veterinarian.