The poodle is a popular dog and though it is usually thought to be a healthy breed, like all dogs, it may suffer from ear problems from time to time. While ear infections are treatable and hearing loss may come with age, it's important to know the signs of ear problems so that they can be addressed quickly to avoid pain, discomfort and lasting effects.
Knowing what signs or symptoms to watch out for can help the poodle owner recognize an ear infection or problem early on. While ear problems in poodles are not common, there are some features that you may want to be on the look out for. Take note of any redness or puffiness of the skin in and around the year. If your poodle seems to be in pain when the ear is touched or the ear canal looks swollen or irritated this could be a sign of a problem. It's also important to pay attention to the odor of the ear. A foul or yeast-like smell coming from the ear is not normal and is a common sign of problems. A dog that seems to lose its hearing or is not hungry or does not seem to like to chew could have an ear problem.
Of the problems that poodles have with their ears, hearing loss and infection are the two most commonly seen. Hearing loss is often something that occurs with age, and slowly many pet owners will notice that their poodle doesn't hear as well as it used to. This is not something that can usually be reversed unless the hearing loss comes on quickly and is being caused by a growth or obstruction. Infections are caused by bacteria or even yeast that are naturally found in the ear canal. Bacteria and yeast are usually found in low levels but when these levels rise, it causes irritation and infection that can be quite painful.
Signs and symptoms can easily be identified by the poodle owner but it needs to be a veterinarian that makes the official diagnosis. Many poodle owners assume that there is an infection where there is actually something more going on, so it's better to take your poodle in to be seen and treated if there are signs and symptoms and infection or hearing loss is suspected. Ear infections are generally treated with a 7- to 10-day course of antibiotics. Many veterinarians also treat with an ear wash that will help to remove any discharge from the ear and help to reestablish healthy bacteria and yeast levels in the ear. Most poodles are back to their happy selves within a couple days of starting treatment.
While poodle ear problems are not common, the most common is the occurrence of ear infections. The reason for this is that poodles often have a very narrow ear canal that doesn't allow for drainage and can make the dog more prone for infection. In some cases, the dog may need to have surgery to widen the ear canal to avoid the constant re-occurrence of ear infections, though this is not always necessary.
If there is a growth in the ear, it needs to be removed promptly to avoid permanent damage to the ear structure. If there is an infection failure to treat right away could lead to permanent hearing loss as well as pain. There is some risk in treating a poodle with an acute ear infection. Ear infections can be quite painful and instilling drops into the ear can be confusing for the animal, causing it to bite its owner out of fear or pain. Great care must be taken when treating a poodle, or any dog, with an ear infection.