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While ear infections are pesky conditions that affect many species, dogs are especially at risk for ear infections because of the shape of their ear canals.

Dr. Lori Teller, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says that diagnosis and treatment should always be handled by a veterinarian, but dog owners should still be informed on the nature of this condition to keep their furry friend in tip-top shape.

“There are multiple causes of ear infections (otitis externa), including allergies (most common), ear mites, a foreign body (this can include polyps or neoplasia), excess hair in the ear canal, anatomic changes in the ear canal, excess moisture in the ear canal, injury, immune-mediated diseases, endocrine disease, and excessive cleaning,” Teller said. “Any of these causes allow for bacteria and/or yeast to overgrow in the ear, leading to the infection.”