Ear infection/Otitis externa in dogs

May 22, 2022 | 0 comments

Ear infection/Otitis externa in dogs

What is otitis externa?

These are common problems in the lining of the outer area of the dog’s hearing (from an ear flap across the ear canal to the eardrum) is irritated and thickened in the ear or both. The condition is uncomfortable and painful and could require surgery to cure if not treated.

Which breeds are more vulnerable to ear infection?

Otitis externa can be a problem for any dog, irrespective of breed or age. Still, it’s more prevalent in dogs with long ears, like retrievers, spaniels, and dogs with hairy ears. Dogs suffering from otitis externa may be prone to developing inflammation in the middle ear (just behind the eardrum) or more severe cases, an ear canal (where the brain and ear meet).

What causes ear infections to be frequent in dogs?

The ear canal of dogs is a wide and long ear canal with an L-shaped bend in the right angle half of the way. The curve is a frequent location for waste to accumulate, which can cause issues in the ear. The ears of dogs with long ones are more prone to developing otitis external because the ear flaps block moisture from getting out, creating the ear canals in a warm, humid environment ideal for bacteria and yeast to grow and spread.

What are the effects I should be watching for?

Initially, the effects could appear mild, but the symptoms may quickly worsen in the event of not being treated. The signs of otitis external may include any of the following symptoms:

  • Head shaking (especially in the event of the eye rub)
  • The underside ear could be inflamed or red, and it may also feel warm.
  • frequently scratching or repeatedly rubbing the ear (sometimes creating bleeding)
  • the ear is smelt bad
  • your dog might not be a fan of being petted on the head or in the ear.
  • apparent pain
  • waxy (brown-yellow or black) release
  • your dog might appear annoyed or exhausted (due to their discomfort)

The ear canal’s outer part may become thicker in chronic or severe cases. The eardrum could rupture, creating problems in the middle of the inner ear. These could result in the dog being hungry, having difficulty walking in a straight line, or standing up and moving its head. There is a possibility that they are in severe discomfort and may develop deafness.

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What causes otitis externally?

A mix of many different causes can result in the development of otitis externa in your dog. Specific triggers could make your dog’s ear more susceptible to external factors like yeast bacteria, yeast, or even foreign objects. These additional factors could result in irritation, inflammation, and discomfort.

The triggers for the initial be:


A frequent reason is that people are allergic to food or something in the environment, leading to itching or inflammation of the ears.

The Environment

The humid weather, the swimming pool, and foreign bodies from walks through grassy areas or in wooded areas could create the conditions for ear infections that can lead to more.

The form of the dog’s ears

Larger dogs with hanging ears could be more susceptible to external otitis because of the ear flaps, which keep warm, moist air and foreign objects inside the ear canal, making it more vulnerable to secondary causes.


Tumors in the ear could be closed by moisture or foreign bodies that encourage yeast and bacteria to multiply.


Ear mites could result in the ears getting itchy and inflamed and cause a secondary infection.

Other medical problems

Inverse reactions to medications or autoimmune conditions, the accumulation of dead skin (keratinization), and hormonal problems can result in environments that allow yeast and bacteria to grow.

Overenthusiastic cleaning

Cleansing your pet’s ears with too much force or improperly could cause further irritation or debris in the dog’s ear.

How do I proceed if I suspect that my dog is suffering from external otitis?

Suppose you suspect your dog is suffering from an ear infection or irritation. In that case, it is best to consult your vet immediately. If treatment is initiated, the faster your dog will be able to receive an end to the itching as well as discomfort. Otitis externa may get worse, and it is best not to seek advice as it will likely make the problem more painful and difficult to manage. Do not attempt to treat the dog yourself. Neither do you wash your dog’s ears if you don’t know the cause of the irritation is? Suppose your pet has a foreign object inside its ear. In that case, you might accidentally push it into their ear, causing further injury.

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What is the process for this condition to be diagnosed?

After taking a complete history, Your vet will want to examine your dog’s ear canal. These will assess the level of inflammation. You will then determine whether there are any cancerous lesions or foreign bodies that could irritate. The swab can be taken from your dog’s ear to check for yeast, bacteria, or parasites. The vet may also want to check whether your dog suffers from allergies or underlying medical conditions that may cause this.

What kind of treatment could my vet recommend?

The treatment your veterinarian decides to give to your pet will be based on the information they discover in their investigations and examinations.

  • Your doctor may trim off any fur that is long around the ear or remove the fine hairs from the ear canal to improve the flow of air and allow the injured tissue to heal.
  • Your dog might require intensive ear flushing and cleaning. Your veterinarian will wash your dog’s ears, and any foreign bodies or obstructions within the ear need to be cleared. These may require the dog to be sedated or anesthetized.
  • If necessary, medication is prescribed for parasite yeast, yeast, or bacteria, and some treatments may be needed to lessen swelling or relieve discomfort.
  • Allergies in dogs may require specific medications or a change in lifestyle according to what the pet is allergic to. Animals with a tumor or suffer from severe otitis externa may also require surgery.

Otitis externa recovery is usually at home. However, how long it will take depends on how severe the injury is. Most dogs recover within three to four weeks, although more severe cases could require more time.

Treating the primary cause

The majority of cases of ear infections can be controlled and successfully treated as long as the trigger is found and addressed. Suppose the cause of the problem is not addressed. The dog could keep suffering from second-degree infections until the cause is removed, closing the ear canals and causing infections within the middle of the inner ear. The formation of scar tissue may occur in the ear canal. It can block medicines from reaching the problematic tissue, prevent hairs, cells, and skin from exiting the ear, and cause more issues.

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Steps to stop otitis external

It is recommended to cleanse your dog’s ear regularly. Certain breeds of dogs are more susceptible to recurring otitis, and regular cleaning will not be able to stop this. It’s recommended to start periodically cleaning your ears and pick a day of the week when you have just a few minutes for an inspection and quick cleaning. The ears of dogs with a lot of hair must be cut regularly to stop moisture and heat from getting trapped in the ear and causing additional issues. If your dog is periodically swimming, make sure you dry your dog’s ears afterward.

How do you take care of the ears of your pet?

Ask your veterinarian to provide you with the most effective method to go about this. It is crucial to cleanse your dog’s ears properly and avoid pushing any object into your dog’s ear canal if it harms the ear, goes further inside the ear, or triggers an infection.

  • Massage the bottom of your dog’s ear for 20 seconds or so to loosen and soften any substance. It is possible to think about employing a suitable dog-friendly ear cleaner to increase the effectiveness of this (talk with your local veterinary practices to determine which they suggest)
  • Cleanse the inside of the ear flap numerous times using either a cotton ball or a wet wipe. Start at the point where the ear canal begins to open the ear canal and move to the outer edge of the ear to pull any substance away from the channel. Dry the ear with a clean towel.

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