Health

Do Weimaraners Have Ear Problems?


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With their floppy long ears you would think that Weimaraners have more ear problems than non-floppy eared dog breeds.

But generally, Weimaraners are not predisposed to have more ear issues than other dog breeds. Weekly ear checks ensure that any infection or injury is discovered early and can be treated promptly before they develop into a more serious condition.

Weimaraner Ear Problems

Ear Infections In Weimaraners

Weimaraner’s floppy ears are a perfect breeding ground for all sort of bacteria or yeast. These infections can appear in various places on/in the ear and are classified by their origin – otitis externa (outer ear), media (middle ear) and interna (inner ear).

Otitis externa is the most common ear infection and, if left untreated, could develop into a middle ear or even an inner ear infection, which are a lot more serious and can lead to deafness among other things.

Causes of Ear Infections

There are multiple things which could cause ear infections, so make sure to discuss it with your vet if your Weim has funky ears. They will be able to tell you what caused it.

  • allergies (food allergies, etc.)
  • ear mites
  • excess moisture in the ear (from swimming, bathing)
  • injury
  • immune diseases (Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism)
  • over cleaning

If your pup is experiencing recurring ear infections and the treatment works only temporarily, there is probably an underlying issue that should be evaluated and addressed.

Symptoms of an Ear Infection

The first thing you will notice is the increased frequency of your pup’s head shakes, increased scratching and/or pawing over their face.

If you inspect the inside of the ear, you might see wax build-up and/or discharge of various colors. Depending on the cause of the ear infection and its severity, the ear can start to stink.

Weimaraner at the vet

The inside of the ear may be red and swollen, there may be scabs or crusting in their ear.

The dog may avoid getting their head touched. They may also stop eating as opening their jaw might cause pain in the ear.

With an inner ear infection, your Weim could experience balance issues, head tilt and loss of hearing on the infected ear.

Ear infections are uncomfortable for dogs at the very least and can be very painful.

Not all dogs experience the head shaking or scratching symptoms, some will just have a discharge or wax build-up, which is why it’s important to check your Weim’s ears regularly. Any infection will be caught early this way.

Can I Treat my Weimaraner’s Ear Infection at Home?

Please DO NOT treat your pup’s ear infection at home! A vet will need to evaluate your Weim, determine the cause of the ear infection and prescribe medication.

Treating your Weim’s ear infection at home without a previous vet visit can make it worse and even cause damage.

How Can I Prevent Ear Infection in My Weimaraner?

Not all ear infections can be prevented – those caused by allergies or other diseases are impossible to predict.

If you have a Weim that loves swimming and is often in the water, make sure to dry their ears afterwards. This will keep the moisture at a minimum.

And as cute as it sounds, you should not let other dogs lick your Weimaraner’s ears to prevent ear infections.

Weimaraner Ear Problems

Ear (Aural) Hematoma in Weimaraner

An ear hematoma happens when a blood vessel in the dog’s ear ruptures and creates a pocket of fluid and blood buildup between the cartilage.

The ear or a part of it looks like a water balloon. Depending on the severity, it can be a small hematoma, or it can puff up the entire ear.

Causes of Weimaraner’s Ear Hematoma

Most vets agree that excessive head-shaking is the cause of aural hematomas, then possibly some trauma to the ear.

As I mentioned above, ear infections are the most common cause of head-shaking.

It’s important to address the underlying cause of the head-shaking to prevent the hematoma from appearing again.

Treatment of Aural Hematoma

Aural hematoma is not an emergency (you don’t need to go to a vet ER) but you should make an appointment with your vet. They will discuss with you the treatment options for your Weim.

Aural hematomas generally reabsorb on their own if left untreated, however it creates a scar tissue which can deform the ear (cauliflower ear) – it will be crinkly and misshapen, and the severity depends on the size of the hematoma. Sometimes the ear is just fine.

Untreated ear hematoma can take a few months to heal and if it’s too large, it can be uncomfortable for your dog.

Weimaraner Aural Hematoma

Your vet might recommend drainage or a surgery, especially if the hematoma is large or blocking the ear canal. Otherwise, it’s considered a cosmetic procedure, which will cost you anywhere from $300 to $2,500.

If your Weim has a minor hematoma that’s not impacting their ear canal and don’t mind a crinkly ear, then you don’t have to put your pup through surgery. If you have a show dog, it might be better to go with the surgery.

Some vets might try using steroids, but it doesn’t work on all hematomas and some dogs can’t use steroids.

Ear Hematoma Surgery

The vet will make a small incision and drain the fluid and blood from the hematoma. They will also remove gunk (connective tissue, blood clots) that has formed in the pocket, so that they can attach both parts of the cartilage cleanly.

The vet will make stitches around the ear flap (not the drainage incision) to make sure the ear stays flat and doesn’t fill up again.

You may have seen a dog with regular human buttons in their ear. They act as a stent, keeping the two sides of the ear together with even pressure. They’re an additional measure against the hematoma reoccurring.

The stitches usually come out 14-21 days after surgery, and the dog is sent home with antibiotics and painkillers.

Nice overview of aural hematoma from a vet

Other Aural Hematoma Treatments

Some vets have had success treating ear hematomas with medicinal leeches. It might seem like a healing method from the Middle Ages, but according to a study, it works beautifully.

The dog doesn’t have to be put under anesthesia, and the study reports no deformities to the ear. However, the study doesn’t mention any possible reoccurrence.

Ask your vet if medicinal leech treatment is something they can provide for your dog.

Can I Treat My Dog’s Ear Hematoma at Home?

As I mentioned above, there is not really much you can do at home. You certainly shouldn’t try to pop the hematoma and drain it on your own; you’re more likely to cause more damage and there’s a higher risk of infection.

It’s a good idea to keep your dog from shaking their head and make their hematoma worse. Many Weimaraner owners who have dealt with ear hematomas recommend the No Flap Ear Wrap.

How to Take Care of Weimaraner’s Ears?

Once or twice a week, you should check your dog’s ears – check for redness, discharge, odor, swelling or dirt. If you see something suspicious but you’re not sure what it is, get in touch with your vet.

Nelly’s ears are usually clean, even with all the swimming she does in the summer. We still check her ears every week and if there’s some dirt, we use these finger pads by Vet’s Best.

Dog Ear Cleaner

They’re slightly moist and have a very nice subtle scent. I like the packaging as it doesn’t let air in and the pads don’t dry out.

Speaking of swimming, make sure to dry your dog’s ears after swimming.

Never use a Q-Tip or clean inside the ear canal.

Conclusion

As long as you’re diligent about checking your Weimaraner’s ears every week, any issue can be caught early and have a much better outcome.


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