Ear infections are a common problem with Great Pyrenees dogs. They have enormous ears with big cavities and it’s easy for bacteria to grow in them. When we adopted Blueberry last year, one of the things we noticed about him was that he kept scratching at his ears. We took him to the vet, who confirmed that, yup! Blueberry had an ear infection.
The first symptom to be aware of is always ear scratching. A dog might have the occasional itch, which is no big deal, but if you notice a pattern of them scratching repeatedly at one or both of their ears, they may have an ear infection. You might also notice them shaking their head from side-to-side a lot, and quite aggressively sometimes, that the interior of the ear is reddened or swollen, or they may even seem unusually subdued or sluggish.
You can learn more simply by looking inside their ears. If there is thick, brown or black gunk, reddened or scabbed skin, or a bad odor, that’s pretty much a guarantee that they have an infection.
If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, take them to the vet right away. An ear infection that is not dealt with properly could lead to deafness, facial paralysis, or vestibular symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision, or confusion. Treatment may include:
- Prescription ear drops: Your vet may prescribe antibiotic or antifungal ear drops to clear up the infection. They will likely prescribe a medicated ear cleanser as well.
- Oral medications: In some cases, oral antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications may be necessary to treat the infection.
- Cleaning the ears: Your vet may need to clean your dog’s ears to remove any discharge or debris that could be contributing.
Most straightforward ear infections, with proper treatment, clear up within 1 – 2 weeks. Some dogs may experience chronic ear infections, in which case it is good to have a strong relationship with your vet.
Blueberry’s first ear infection took nearly a month to eradicate, and then it came back only two months later. We think he will likely have chronic ear infections, and have taken steps to prevent them, such as keeping his ears dry to the best of our abilities, cleaning them regularly (but not too often!), and contacting the vet as soon as we notice any symptoms start to arise.
We now have a standing prescription at the vet, so we don’t have to take him in. All we do is call, and they’ll set us up with another round of treatment.
Because Great Pyrenees have large ear canals and frequently spend time outdoors in all kinds of weather, they are prone to ear infections, but never fear! There are plenty of treatment and prevention options you can use to keep your dog healthy and happy.