Are you looking for help or advice regarding ear problems in Labradors?
Labrador ear infections are relatively common. In this article we will lift the lid on some causes of dog ear problems.
Looking at the signs, symptoms, causes, treatments and more.
If your Lab is shaking his head or flapping his ears, he may have an ear infection.
In this article we’ll be looking at why your dog may be getting ear infections, what kind of ear problems are common in Labrador Retrievers, and what you can do to help your dog.
We’ll also explain how to clean your Labrador’s ears
Why do Labradors get ear infections?
Labrador Retriever ear infections and other ear problems are quite common. Labrador ears don’t have the best design when it comes to health.
Nature designed dogs with pricked up ears for a good reason. Upright ears allow good air flow which helps to keep ears free from infection.
Floppy ears have flaps which cover the ear canal, creating a warmer, darker environment where germs and other unwanted visitors can grow and flourish.
What this means is that Labradors, and other floppy eared dogs, are somewhat more prone to ear problems, than dogs with pricked up ears.
Individual Labradors with narrow or very hairy ear canals may also be at particular disadvantage. And Labradors in general are prone to a number of allergies which are known to be associated with ear problems.
That doesn’t mean your Lab will be affected of course. So how do you know when your dog’s ears are causing him a problem? Let’s take a look.
Symptoms of Ear Problems in Labradors
Ear problems can be highly irritating, so you may see behaviors like head shaking and ear flapping. Or the dog may simply keep tilting his head to one side.
Your dog may scratch at his ears with his hind feet.
Or he may drop his head down and rub his ears with his front foot.
He may even put his head on the ground and rub his ear along the floor.
But, sometimes, ear problems can go undetected.
This is why it is a good idea to inspect your dog’s ears from time to time.
A grubby or sore appearance with a lot of dark brown wax coming from the ear canal, is not a good sign. Nor is any kind of odor. Your dog’s ears should not smell at all.
Common causes of Labrador ear problems
The pain and irritation that causes your dog to rub or scratch himself repeatedly is the result of an inflamed ear canal.
Vets call this inflammation Otitis which simply means inflamed ear. It’s usually just your dog’s external ear that is affected – hence the veterinary term Otitis Externa
The inflammation doesn’t appear out of nowhere of course and the underlying problem is usually some tiny or microscopic organisms that have taken up residence in your dog’s ear canal. Including:
- Ear mites
One of these three types of creature is usually the culprit. And it isn’t always obvious which one you are facing to begin with.
Otitis Externa is closely associated with atopic dermatitis and other allergies.
Over 55% of dogs with atopic dermatitis also suffer from ear infections. And over 80% of dogs with food allergies are sufferers too.
The bugs that are found in the ears of dogs that are sufferers, are also present in the ears of healthy dogs, though in smaller numbers
Symptoms of Ear Mites in Dogs
If your Labrador has been shaking his head vigorously and repeatedly, ears flapping wildly, he may be troubled with ear mites.
These irritating parasites are a relatively common labrador health problem.
What are ear mites?
Ear mites are minute creatures that look a bit like tiny white crabs.
They are just visible to the naked eye and your vet may be able to see them, when he looks in…