What are the most common German Shorthaired Pointer ear problems and what to do with them? Let’s take a closer look at this issue.
Ear diseases in German Shorthaired Pointers (GSP) are a fairly common problem. This is due to the physiological features of the structure of the ear.
The thin-skinned ear canal contains many glands that produce sulfur, a protective substance in which very few microbes can live.
Violation of air circulation in the ear canal, inflammation, hypothermia, or other provoking factors cause excessive production of sulfur, moreover, its consistency changes – it becomes more liquid.
Discharge, which is normally removed from the ears, begins to accumulate and irritate the lining of the ear canal. Edema makes it even more difficult to excrete the products of inflammation.
The ear begins to resemble a jug with a narrow neck and viscous contents.
The imbalance causes the rapid multiplication of microflora because the bactericidal properties of sulfur are greatly reduced.
As a result, the German Shorthaired Pointer gets a serious illness, which without human intervention can become chronic, and in case of infection in the inner ear, even lethal.
In addition to the German Shorthaired Pointer, the risk group with similar problems also includes German Shepherds, Shar Pei, Yorkshire Terriers, and some other breeds.
But ear diseases can appear in any dog, especially the old and weakened one.
What can trigger ear diseases in GSP’s?
- Anatomical structure. As mentioned above, long auricles close off the ear canal and contribute to the accumulation of ear secretions.
- Water ingress while swimming or bathing.
- Hypothermia. In addition to otitis media, a dog that has been in the cold for a long time runs the risk of frostbite on the tips of the ears.
- Parasites. Microscopic mites parasitize dogs’ ears.
- Propensity to allergic diseases. In this case, the amount of ear discharge increases significantly.
- Some hormonal disorders.
- Common diseases.
- Injuries, foreign bodies, and other provoking factors.
Parasitic disease. Caused by the microscopic mite Otodectes. It is characterized by severe itching, the GSP combs its ears with its paws and rubs against various objects.
Mites cause inflammation, irritation, and damage to the delicate skin of the ear canal, which can increase secretions and increase the growth of fungi and germs.
As the inflammatory process develops from the ear, first a serous, and then a purulent ichorous exudate is released, which dries up in the form of crusts and scabs, making it difficult for a free outflow.
The waste products of mites color the discharge brown and black. The discharge has a peculiar unpleasant odor.
The diagnosis of otodectosis is made based on clinical data and laboratory tests. Ear scraping microscopy is available at any clinic with a light microscope. It is highly recommended to visit a veterinarian.
Otodectes mites are susceptible to most acaricides, so they are easy to kill with the right treatment.
For the anti-mite drugs to penetrate the parasites, it is imperative to clean the ear canal of crusts, sulfur, and exudate. Otherwise, the medicine will simply dissolve in the contents of the ear and have no effect.
Otodectosis can be easily cured only at the very beginning. In the process of development, otitis media joins the parasitic disease, which is much more difficult to cure.
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Inflammation of the inside of the ear. They can be:
- on the outside – inflammation of the part of the ear canal located between the inlet and the surface of the tympanic membrane;
- middle – the inflammation spreads further, beyond the eardrum;
- internal, or deep, is the most severe form of the disease, which can lead to damage to the intracranial structures.
Symptoms vary depending on the extent of the lesion. With external and otitis media, the following are observed:
- anxiety, the desire to scratch a sore ear;
- discharge from the ear of exudate, often with an unpleasant odor;
- the GSP shakes its ears;
- the visible part of the ear and ear canal is red, inflamed, swollen;
- a sick ear is hotter than a healthy one;
- there is a decrease in appetite, lethargy;
- the dog tilts its head towards the sore ear, can spin on the spot.
With deep otitis media, the following are possible:
- significant enlargement of the lymph nodes;
- partial or complete hearing loss;
- development of strabismus;
- disturbances in the sense of balance – the dog walks in circles.
Diagnosis is clinical. In difficult cases, laboratory and other studies are prescribed. According to statistics, most often various cocci, malassezia, and candida fungi are found in the ear canal, occasionally other microorganisms. If you appreciate GSP health you should immediately visit a veterinarian.
Auricle hematoma in GSP
This is a traumatic injury that often accompanies bites, bumps, or scratching in the ear area. It occurs due to the rupture of a blood vessel between the skin and cartilage.
Blood pours under the skin, pushing the tissue apart and forming a fluid-filled “bag”. It looks like a rapidly increasing swelling under the skin.
The hematoma is usually surgically removed. In the event of a large cavity, splints are required. If the owner ignores the damage, the hematoma will gradually resolve, but the ear will remain disfigured forever.
This should not be allowed, since a curved auricle can become a provoking factor for otitis media.
If the hematoma becomes infected, for example, due to scratching, then the course of the disease is significantly complicated. Your dog can lose its ear, lose its hearing, or die from an infection.
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If a foreign body gets into the ear, the dog presses and combs the ears, whines, shakes its head. The greatest danger is represented by thorns and spikelets of herbs, which can dig into the skin and cause suppuration.
Remove the foreign object as soon as possible and carry out a hygienic preparation. If the owner cannot remove the foreign body on his own, you should contact your veterinarian.
Deafness and hearing loss
The dog may not distinguish between sounds for various reasons, for example, due to swelling of the ear canal, its blockage by gray or anatomical abnormalities (contamination, narrowing, etc.).
The most difficult case is neurological diseases. The consequences are different, as are the treatment options. Some animals can be deaf from birth, others – hearing loss in the course of life.
Neoplasms, hormonal disorders, trauma, hereditary diseases, the use of certain medications or other substances can also affect the health of the ears. Therefore, never treat your pet yourself and visit a veterinarian if needed.