Why Do Spaniels get Recurrent ear infections?

Our ESS got an ear infection last month-went to the vet, got the medicine (daily ear cleaining plus every three days a squirt of antibiotic cream). the ear healed up nicely-but now its back-ear smells bad, and inflamed. Any long-term fix for this?

Any dog breed with ears that flop down is more likely to get ear infections. I don’t know how much more, though. Pointy-eared dogs get ear infections, too. One of my Shiba Inus (a spitz-type) has had ear infections stemming from skin allergies. (Her sister has had no such problems)

Long-term solution? Keep them clean and dry.

I can’t speculate on the inner ear workings of the dog, but if you just look at spaniels’ ears, you’ll see that they’re big. Big floppy ears lend themselves to trapping dirt and moisture in the ear and that’s where problems start.

I’ve also read that spaniels tend to get their ears wet when drinking water, as their long ears flop down into the bowl. You won’t find this happening with boxers or German shepards (pointy ears) and probably not as much with retrievers.

Imagine you had long hair and the hair around your ears was constantly wet. You’d probably have some ear problems too.

I also would not be surprised that the inner workings of a spaniel ear are different than other breeds. Aren’t they bred for hearing (in hunting)?

ETA: As garygnu points out, pointy ears don’t mean no ear infections. I just mean that pointy-eared dogs don’t get their ears flopping in water.

Good advice in general. Ear infections are, in most cases, a subset of skin disease. If recurrent problems are occurring, seeking a referral to a dermatology specialist would be a wise idea. The vast majority of otitis is due to ear canal conformation, pinna conformation, and allergy combined. Diagnosing and addressing cause will decrease episodic outbreaks.

As a last resort, total ear canal ablation surgery works wonders.

I’m sitting here visualizing a spaniel with bobbed ears. :frowning:

My spaniels lived to 13 and 15 and were regularly plagued with ear infections.

Over the years, we went through more tubes of Ottomax and Panalog than I care to remember. The vet usually fixed it though with a course of oral antibiotics combined with me doing regular cleanings.

Neither had skin issues.

Sorry, I’d disagree. Just because the skin surface that was a problem is not a “typical” skin surface, it is skin nonetheless. The dog’s skin problems may have been limited to its ears, but there was still a malassezia skin problem.

I have a German Shepherd with a huge head and huge ears and have been told that particular breed is prone to infections because the ears are almost always open and erect. All sorts of stuff can fall into them. I’d guess it’s a little easier for him to get his back paw into his ear than, say a spaniel. He’s always sheaking his head to dislodge something and almost every time we visit the vet, they hand us some ear medicine. Good times.

I do agree…clean and dry is the best solution. :slight_smile:

Hm, guess we’ve been lucky; we’re on our 2nd and 3rd springers, and none of them have had ear problems. We did once have a “used” (rescue, basically) cocker whose fur was like heavy shag carpet, and he had constant ear problems. His ears just never got any air.

It’s not known, but is believed that ear infections contributed to Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s death in 1975. And, BTW, he is still dead. :wink:

My Black Lab had them all the time, but usually involved mites which left black gunk all over the inside of his ears.

When I worked at a vet clinic, our doctors were fond of using a medication called Zymox. IIRC, it was an enzyme that would break down the collected dirt and wax, thereby reducing the “food” for the bacteria / yeast to feed on. It was generally part of treatment program as opposed to the only product used.