Basset Hounds, Chinese Shar Peis, and Labradoodles are the dog breeds most likely to suffer from ear infections, new research has shown.
Scientists at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) analyzed more than 22,000 dogs in the UK to understand which breeds were at the highest risk of ear infections.
Their results suggest that dogs with long and droopy ear flaps are at a much higher risk of infection than dogs with pointy ears, while smaller breeds weighing less than 10 kg are less at risk than larger breeds.
Worryingly, if left untreated, ear infections can spread deep into the ear canal and cause serious harm to the affected dog.
The team hopes the results will help owners better identify the signs of an ear infection and respond early.
Bill Lambert, Health, Welfare and Breeder Services Executive at the Kennel Club, said, “This useful research into such a common canine disease – and which helps identify the dogs at greatest risk for ear infections – is sure to lead to better treatment and prevention to lead. ‘
Scientists at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) analyzed more than 22,000 dogs in the UK to understand which breeds were at the highest risk of ear infections
Basset Hounds (pictured) Chinese Shar Peis and Labradoodles are the dog breeds most likely to suffer from ear infections, new research has shown
How to tell if your dog has an ear infection
The main signs of an ear infection in dogs include:
– pain when touching ears or head
– discharge from the ear
– Unpleasant smell from the ears
– Itchy ears
– shake your head often
– Hold your head to one side
– swelling around the ears
If your dog shows any of these signs, call your veterinarian to make an appointment.
Source: Blue Cross
Ear infections, also known as “otitis externa,” are common in dogs and occur when the lining of the dog’s ear becomes inflamed and thickened.
In the short term, the infection can be smelly, irritating, and painful to the dog.
However, if left untreated, it can spread deep into the ear canal and cause more serious damage.
In the study, researchers analyzed the health records of 22,333 dogs in the UK.
Their analysis found that 7.3 percent of the dogs had suffered from ear infections, with certain breeds found to be particularly susceptible to infections.
Large breeds and those with long and drooping ear flaps have been found to be the most at risk, with Basset Hounds, Chinese Shar Pei, Labradoodles, Beagles, and Golden Retrievers topping the list.
Conversely, Chihuahua, Border Collie, Yorkshire Terriers, and Jack Russell Terriers were found to be the breeds with the lowest risk of ear infection.
Poodle breeds had 1.91 times the risk of ear infection, followed by spaniel breeds at 1.24 times the risk.
When compared to those with erect cartilage, breeds with drooping ears were 1.76 times the risk and dogs with V-shaped drooping ears were 1.84 times the risk of infection.
Large breeds and those with long and drooping ear flaps have been found to be the most at risk, with Basset Hounds, Chinese Shar Pei (pictured in picture), Labradoodles, Beagles, and Golden Retrievers topping the list
Male dogs were also 1.21 times more likely to develop ear infections than females, while those over a year of age were also at increased risk.
Dr. Dan O’Neill, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Epidemiology at the RVC and lead author of the paper, said, “Humans invented breeds of dogs with all sorts of extreme body shapes over a hundred years ago.
“But only now are we fully realizing how much these body shapes affect the health of these breeds.
Chihuahua (pictured in picture), Border Collie, Yorkshire Terriers, and Jack Russell Terriers were found to be the breeds with the lowest risk of ear infections
Ear infections, also known as “otitis externa,” are common in dogs and occur when the lining of a dog’s ear becomes inflamed and thickened
“This study examines the floppy-eared dog health problems that many people find so appealing, but the results could lead us all to wonder if we have gone too far in our pursuit of variety in the appearance of our dogs.
“Avoiding breeds with extreme body shape is a conversation everyone should have now before choosing a breed.”
If your dog does suffer from an ear infection, experts advise gently cleaning the ears with a dry paper towel, careful use of ear cleaners with antimicrobial properties, and avoiding overzealous ear cleaning or ear plucking.
DOGS WERE FIRST HOUSEHOLDERS ABOUT 20,000-40,000 YEARS AGO
A genetic analysis of the world’s oldest known dog remains found that dogs were domesticated by humans in Eurasia in a single event around 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Dr. Krishna Veeramah, assistant professor of evolution at Stony Brook University, told MailOnline, “The process of domestication of dogs would have been a very complex process involving several generations in which dog characteristics gradually developed.
“The current hypothesis is that dog domestication has likely been passive, with a population of wolves somewhere in the world living on the fringes of hunter-gatherer camps and feeding on the man-made waste.
“The wolves, which were tamer and less aggressive, would have been more successful, and although humans initially did not benefit from this process, over time they developed a kind of symbiosis.” [mutually beneficial] Relationship with these animals that eventually evolves into the dogs we see today. ‘