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Dog's ear infections: what medications to use for ear diseases?

Dog ear disease

Ear disease is a very common condition in dogs.

These are various background changes of varying severity, but from a clinical point of view, they are the most common ones inflammatory diseases of the dog's ear.

Other changes to the ears that may occur in dogs are traumatic changes such as.

  • hematoma of the auricle,
  • neoplastic changes,
  • changes on the parasitic.

In this article, you will learn how to tell if something is wrong with your pet's ears.

I will also explain how the treatment of ear disease in dogs works and what you can do to prevent them.

  • How a dog's ear is built?
  • Causes of ear disease in dogs
    • Hematoma of the auricle
    • Parasites
    • Foreign bodies
    • Allergies
    • Other reasons
  • Consequences of ear inflammation
  • Dog ear inflammation symptoms
  • Diagnostics of dog otitis
  • Treatment of otitis in dogs
    • Medications for otitis in dogs
  • How to prevent ear disease?

How a dog's ear is built?

How a dog's ear is built?

Just like in humans, a dog's ear is made up of 3 parts:

  • outer ear,
  • middle ear,
  • inner ear.

The outer ear consists of auricle and z the ear canal.

The middle ear is an air-filled space with structures such as:

  • eardrum,
  • tympanum,
  • 3 auditory ossicles (hammer, anvil and stapes),
  • Eustachian tube.

The inner ear, on the other hand, is the most complicated part of the ear, containing:

  • auditory nerve,
  • 3 semicircular canals,
  • snail.

Causes of ear disease in dogs

Otitis externa is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the external ear canals.

The factors that predispose to such a state are states excessive humidity and impaired ventilation.

This inflammation occurs in humans, cats and dogs.

Breeds with long drooping ears, such as Cocker Spaniels, are the most vulnerable.

Predisposing factor Characteristics
Anatomical shape of the earheavy ears,
hanging ears,
ears with a narrow ear canal,
hair in the ear canal.
Excessive moisturefrequent baths,
frequent swimming,
humid environment.
Incorrect treatmentexcessive treatment,
insufficient treatment,
inappropriate treatment.
Iatrogenic irritationexcessive ear cleaning,
injuries caused by cotton gauze.
Dog ear disease

Currently, preparations containing simultaneously are common on the market antibiotics working antibacterial as well as active substances antifungal.

However, you must do so beforehand ear swab and antibiogram to use the preparation with the antibiotic to which the bacterium is most sensitive. Treatment consists of putting drops in the ears twice daily for a period 12-14 days.

After this period, it is worth doing check-ups otoscopic examination, to be sure of the effectiveness of the treatment.

Hematoma of the auricle

Other ear conditions may arise as secondary or primary diseases. Very often, otitis occurs secondary to it hematoma of the auricle.

Itching, which accompanies the inflammation of the ear, contributes to injuries of the blunt pinna during flapping, resulting in hematoma.

The hematoma is characterized by the appearance of the pinna resembling a ping-pong ball. It is formed when a blood vessel ruptures.

The blood accumulated in the auricle is coagulated, resorbed, and the remaining fibrin leads to a deformation of the auricle.

Therefore, treatment is based on fast evacuating blood from the turbinate and cleaning the resulting cavity from fibrin and clotted blood.


Ear diseases can also be caused by parasites.

Often in dogs we observe demodex, freshwater and even ticks, which may contribute to ear canal inflammation.

Foreign bodies

Foreign body in a dog's ear

Inflammation developing against the background of foreign bodies is not uncommon, especially in animals rummaging in tall grass and in the forest.

They occur as one-sided inflammation of the ear canal, and during the otoscopic examination of the ear canal, we can find a blade of grass, ears of grain, pebbles.

Such an examination should be performed very carefully, because the increased amount of discharge in the ear causes masking of the foreign body, which in this case is very easy to overlook.


Nowadays, rapidly developing laboratory diagnostics allows us to diagnose otitis caused by allergies and hypersensitivity. AT 50-80% dogs with otitis externa, bilateral stems from atopy, accompanied by other skin symptoms. AT 3-5% dogs with atopic otitis externa is the only symptom.

Quite often we meet animals with food alergy.

AT 80% In dogs with food allergies, inflammation is one of the many symptoms, while twenty% this may be the only symptom.

Many medications used in therapy in animals can cause irritation the ear canals e.g. neomycin, propylene glycol.

Such substances can lead to unfolding contact allergy and ultimately, inflammation of the ear canals.

Such inflammation develops soon after the use of a sensitizing substance.

Hypersensitivity inflammation therapy is application hypoallergenic food, removed from the environment as far as possible allergens and introduction steroid therapy.

Other reasons

Often, ear diseases affect dogs of the breed Labrador. Inflammation in this breed of dogs is difficult to treat and frequently recurs.

Remember that Labradors are a breed predisposed to hypothyroidism. With this endocrine disorder, a problem with the ears of a long-term nature is very often observed.

They are rare in dogs and more common in cats inflammatory polyps.

They are usually one-sided and derive from the lining of the tympanic cavity, the eardrum, or the nasopharynx.

The only therapy is to surgically remove the polyp.

Neoplastic changes are rare.

Most often we recognize adenomas or adenocarcinomas derived from wax glands, papillomas or squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell.

The latter two are malignant tumors, which often result in a postoperative recurrence after surgical removal.

Consequences of ear inflammation

The main consequences are blunt injuries of the auricle, the beginning of the ear canal.

The wounds that arise often succumb infection or as a result of blunt trauma, it may develop as previously described turbinate hematoma leading to deformation.

A process develops in severe and chronic conditions that will not be treated hyperpigmentation With hyperkeratinization of the ear canals leading to narrowing of the ear canal and finally to deafness.

In such cases, there are surgical methods involving the widening of the canal by ablation.

In contrast, the inflammation continues over 2 months leads to the development of otitis media and inner ear, which is a symptom vestibular syndrome.

Dog ear inflammation symptoms

Dog ear inflammation symptoms

A common symptom of otitis is itching and soreness in the ear area.

The following can then be observed in the animal:

  • shaking your head,
  • rubbing the head against objects, the floor,
  • scratching the ears,
  • whine.

It accumulates in the ears foul-smelling discharge, which may have a specific odor depending on the pathological factor.

In acute cases, the auricle and the ear canal are present flushed and swollen.

The ear canal may be covered ulcers and erosions, while the auricle can be scratched, about thinning hair, With the presence of scabs.

In chronic cases, it comes to thinning, hyperkeratosis, scarring of the auricle, the ear canal may deteriorate narrowing and even overgrown.

In cases of untreated otitis externa, the inflammation spreads to inner ear which manifests itself in the so-called. vestibular syndrome.

In such situations, we observe tilt of the head to the side of the inflamed ear, sometimes walking in a circle.

In therapy inflammation of the ear, Targeted therapy is very important as inflammation can be triggered by mushrooms, yeast or bacteria.

The most common fungi isolated from ear swabs is Malassesia, while the most frequently isolated bacteria are Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus.

See in the video below how it can behave dog with otitis

Rottweiler puppy ear problem - water in ear, mites, yeast infection - signs
Watch this video on YouTube

Diagnostics of dog otitis

Otoscopic examination of the dog's ear

The clinical symptoms and the otoscopic examination 100% give us the diagnosis of ear inflammation.

It is important to recognize the cause.

For this, an interview with the owner and execution is very useful microscopic examination discharge from the ears as well inoculation, which will allow us to determine whether the cause of the inflammation is a bacterium or a fungus.

In the case of negative test results, additional laboratory tests should be used:

  • allergy tests,
  • endocrine research,
  • collection of scrapings on which we can find the parasite.

It is worth bearing in mind the problems associated with the anal glands in dogs.

There is discharge that accumulates in the anal glands itching for the ears, but does not cause inflammation.

Therefore, before the final diagnosis, it is worth examining the perianal sinuses and emptying them if they are too full.

Treatment of otitis in dogs

Treatment of otitis in dogs

Therapy is application ear drops 2 times a day by minimum 2 weeks.

It must be a therapy aimed at a specific factor causing inflammation, which is why correct diagnosis is so important.

After all, we don't want to treat bacteria with anti-parasite drugs

When the ear inflammation is a symptom such as. in the case of allergies or hypothyroidism, we treat the primary disease.

It is rarely necessary to rinse the ear canals.

However, if this happens, disinfectants are used, diluted in warm water.

The nursing treatment is performed in the premedication of the animal.

Medications for otitis in dogs

Often used ear drops are preparations:

  • Dicortnineff-vet,
  • Surolan,
  • Orilan,
  • Aurizon.

These preparations show actions antibacterial, antifungal and antipruritic, therefore, the effectiveness of the therapy is visible after a few days of use. The prices are in the range from 30 to 50 PLN for the package.

In the case of parasitic background diseases, apply drug against the parasite in question.

How to prevent ear disease?

How to prevent ear disease?

When deciding on a dog, it is worth reading about its breed characteristics.

The anatomical structure of purebred dogs or hybrids of specific breeds makes them more likely to develop ear diseases.

This is exactly what happens with ear inflammation.

They often concern cocker spaniels, labradors and golden retrievers, that is dogs who like to swim or with hanging ears.

Thanks to this knowledge, we will be able to prevent inflammation by:

  • drying the ears,
  • airing the ears,
  • proper care.

It is worth remembering that taking care of our pupils' ears is much cheaper than treating them. If you want to learn how to do it correctly, I encourage you to read the article "Cleaning dog and cat ears: how and with what to clean ears? ".

You have questions related to this topic? Ask them now by posting a comment under the article.

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