Black, green or colored wax is a sign of infection. Some refer to this as "ear gook". Whether runny and watery or thick, discharge such as this is not normal. Additionally, any sign of puss or bleeding from the ears is a huge red flag of infection.
Infected ears can be quite itchy and for this reason a Poodle with an ear infection may work very hard to ease that itch. A Puppy or dog may try to paw at the ears or he may rub his head against the floor, walls or other surfaces in an effort to find relief.
Shaking of the Head -
For the reasons stated above, a Poodle may also rapidly shake
Sometimes an ear infection will through off a dog's equilibrium. For this reason, a Poodle may appear to be dizzy or have trouble keeping his balance.
Strange Back and Forth Eye Movement -
This is most commonly seen with middle ear infections - a reason to seek professional medical treatment.
When a dog is not feeling well and is sick, in general he or she may have a decreased appetite, be listless, may just not "seem like themselves" and may run a fever.
Poodle Ear Infection Treatments
Some ear problems and infections can clear up dramatically simply by flushing out the ears as described above.
If cleaning alone does not provide relief, a visit to the veterinarian may be in order. Oral antibiotics may be prescribed, along with antibacterial ear drops. In most cases, if instructions are followed, infections will clear up in 3 to 7 days. The vet should look for the underlying cause, which can range from water in the ear to allergies.
The vet may perform a full ear flush in order to examine the entire ear canal. Some Poodles that have excessively shaken their heads may have developed a small blood clot that is caused when a blood vessel in the ear flap ruptures (Treatment for this involves removing the clot from the ear, cleaning the area and bandaging it).
While most infections can be successfully treated, some Poodle will suffer from chronic ear infections that do not respond to treatment. Depending on how often the dog develops infections and how serious they are, surgery is sometimes performed in order to open the vertical canal to clean it (and prevent scarring).
In very rare cases, chronic ear infections can lead to so much inner ear scarring that a type of surgical treatment called ablation may be recommended in which the entire ear canal is removed; do remember that this is often a case of last resort and will only be recommended if all other options have proven ineffective.
Ear Yeast Infections
Dogs can develop yeast infections in one or both ears. With this type of issue, while it is possible to be contained to one or both ears, in most cases there will be infection on other areas of the body as well - commonly on the paws.
There is a type of yeast that is naturally present in very small amounts on the body of all dogs. When that gets thrown off balance, there can be an overgrowth and this sometimes can occur in the ears. One of the most common ways that this imbalance happens is when a dog is given a steroid medication to control allergies; that steroid can cause a yeast infection to develop.
While this can cause itching and irritation, the #1 symptom of this type of ear problem is the odor that is produced. Some compare it to a moldy smell; others say that it has the strong odor of cheese popcorn. At any rate, it is a powerful, musty and very disagreeable smell.
After confirming diagnosis with a swab that is examined under a microscope, anti-yeast medication will be prescribed. If different areas on the body are affected, medicated baths may be prescribed. Depending on the amount of yeast found in the ears, they will need to be cleaned anywhere from every day to once a week. Some vets also suggest a diet that is lower in sugar - you may be surprised how much sugar can be found in many dog treats and snacks. With chronic cases, it is suggested to look at a Poodle's immune system. See also: What to Feed a Poodle