"The ears should be set high in the head, the front inner edge of each ear joining the outline of the skull at the top back corner of skull, so as to place them as wide apart, and as high, and as far from the eyes as possible. In size they should be small and thin. The shape termed "rose ear" is the most desirable. The rose ear folds inward at its back lower edge, the upper front edge curving over, outward and backward, showing part of the inside of the burr. (The ears should not be carried erect or prick-eared or buttoned and should never be cropped.)"
There are several factors causing ear disease in dogs. The most annoying are those producing the itching, pawing and scratching. Below are listed some of the some conditions that may cause ear disease in dogs:
The classical ear infection indeed, otitis can be external and internal. Other than the classical head shaking and pawing, ear infections can be pretty painful and may progress to the the middle ear even leading to deafness should it go untreated. Fortunately, a course of antibiotics is all it takes to give the dog comfort in most cases.
This condition affects the inner ear, an area also responsible for a dog's balance. It can occur when otitis progresses to the inner ear. In such cases dogs develop dizziness, in-coordination, head tilt, twitching eyes and circling. Medications can be prescribed to give relief from the dizziness. The underlying cause needs addressed.
These may follow antibiotic treatments and typically cause a rancid odor, brown discharge, and very inflamed ears. Anti-fungal treatments will be necessary treatment wise. In mild cases a home remedy of water and vinegar may be helpful.
While not really a disease, ear mites have the potentially of causing disease. These parasites live in the ear and can be detected thanks to the offensive odor emanated from an affected ear and thanks to the coffee ground discharge left behind. A course of Tresaderm may be prescribed to get rid of these annoying parasites that may cause otitis.
An aural hematoma is not a primary condition but it often results as a consequence from excessive head shaking and scratching. While the dog shakes it's head and scratches insistently, over time, the small blood vessels will bleed inside the ear and cause notorious swelling causing the ear flap to fill up with blood. Ears will swell up like balloons or marsh-mellows and upon touching them they may feel squishy and odd. What is even worse is that should an aural hematoma go untreated, a dog's ears may never go back to normal leaving the ears with very unsightly scarring and even permanent deformities.
Flies may insistently bite the dog's ears especially in those dog breeds characterized by erect ears. The ears of these dogs will appear with crusty brown-black edges. The dermatitis that develops can be prevented by keeping the door indoors or applying effective insect repellents.
Itching and pawing at the ears may be due to allergies. Allergies may be caused by just about anything, foods, dusts, pollens, chemicals etc. Finding the triggering allergen may be challenging, yet not impossible. If food allergies are suspected a trial diet may help pinpoint the offending food. Anti-histamines can bring relief and in worse cases corticosteroids and steroid shots may be necessary.
This form of cancer is worth mentioning due the increase of damaging ultra violet rays. White dogs are particularly vulnerable and the ears are often a targeted area due to their exposure to the sun rays and their thin skin. Your vet should prescribe sunscreen suitable for dogs to protect ears, muzzle and nose. Do not use human sun screen as some may be toxic for pets.
Preventing ear disease in dogs takes some care. Should you bathe a dog, remember to insert cotton balls to prevent moisture from turning the ear into the ideal host for bacteria or mites. Floppy eared dogs need special care, make sure the ears are kept clean and dry and inspect routinely for fox tails, grass seeds or other foreign matter. If your dog is prone to ear infections and gets hair routinely plucked by the groomer consider that the hair near the ear once plucked causes serum to ooze out from the hair follicles creating the ideal environment for bacterial growth. Mats near the ear canal should be removed since they trap moisture inside.