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Why Labs are More Prone to Ear Infection

One of the cutest features of a Labrador retriever is also a common source of chronic problems. Labrador retrievers are more prone to ear infections because of their floppy ears. There are some other risk factors, though, and important preventative measures to keep infection at bay.

 

 


Keep Their Ears Dry and Clean
Labs love water, but their ears don't. When water gets into the ear from baths or swimming, the floppy ears create the perfect breeding ground for germs because it is dark, wet, and warm. You can solve this problem by immediately drying your dog's ears after a bath, swimming, or any contact with water. Some veterinarians can also provide ear drops to administer after getting wet as another method of infection prevention. Once a week, clean out their ears with a kit you can purchase at a pet store or from your veterinarian.

 


Know What a Healthy Ear Looks Like
A healthy ear should be pink in color, odorless and can have some ear wax that is light brown in color. Lab owners need to examine their dog's ears on a daily basis. If there are any changes, treatment can begin that much sooner.

 


How Will I Know When There is an Infection?
 Signs of infection, whether bacterial or yeast, include redness, flaking, strong odor in ear, an increase of ear wax that is dark brown or black in color. Your lab may also scratch their ears a lot, shake their head, and whimper because the infection is causing pain. At this point, a veterinarian should be consulted to determine what type of infection is the culprit. Your lab may be given cream, ear drops, or oral antibiotics. These are usually given for 10 days and should clear up the infection. If it does not go away or gets worse, a return visit to the vet is usually necessary.

 


Could it be Mites?
Mites are a parasite that dogs can get in their ears and, left untreated, can spread to the rest of their body. They can happen to a dog at any time in their lives, but do tend to occur more commonly in puppies because they do not yet have a mature immune system.  Symptoms can include black discharge, an increase in ear wax, and itching. If this is the case, a vet can clean out the ears and provide medication.

 

If you have a lab or are considering becoming a lab owner, it is important to remember that labs are more prone to ear infections. If left untreated, an ear infection can cause damage to the ear drum, hearing loss, secondary infections, and hematomas on the external ear from head shaking and scratching. By being devoted to keeping your dog's ears healthy, you can significantly reduce and quite possibly eliminate the occurrence of ear infections for your lab.