Otitis Media and Otitis Interna in Dogs


Otitis media refers to an inflammation of the dog’s middle ear, while otitis interna refers to an inflammation of the inner ear, both of which are commonly caused by bacterial infection. Long-eared dog types with extreme hair and non-erect outer ears, such as the Cocker Spaniel, Labrador Retriever and Springer Spaniel, are believed to be more vulnerable to canine ear infections.

Cats are also vulnerable to these two conditions. If you wish to learn more about how this disease impacts dogs, please check out this page.

Symptoms and Types of Otitis in Dogs

The symptoms apparent in cases of otitis media or interna are mainly dependent on how severe and comprehensive the infection is. Signs may range from no noticeable symptoms whatsoever, to obvious nerve system participation. If symptoms appear, they may include pain when opening the mouth, unwillingness to chew, shaking the head, pawing at the impacted ear, tilting the head, leaning to the side of the impacted ear, and a modified sense of balance (referred to as vestibular deficits). If both ears are affected by inflammation, more symptoms might include wide swinging movements of the head, unsteady uncoordinated body language, and deafness.

Extra symptoms might include vomiting and nausea, unequally sized pupils, inflammation of the ears, ear discharge, a grey bulging eardrum (referred to as tympanic membrane), and in severe cases, signs related to nervous system damage such as facial nerve damage (e.g. inability to blink, or paralysis).

Causes of Otitis Media and Otitis Interna in Dogs

Bacteria are the primary disease-causing agents that result in infection and following inflammation of the middle or inner ear. Other possible disease-causing agents include yeasts such as Malassezia, fungis such as Aspergillus, and ear mites which increase the probability of bacterial infection. Alternate causes include injury to the body, such as from a car accident, the presence of tumors or polyps in the ear, and the presence of foreign things in the ear.

Dog Ear Infection

Dog Ear Infection


One main diagnostic procedure in cases of inner and middle ear inflammation is myringotomy, a method in which a spine needle is inserted into the air and the ear drum membrane to extract middle ear fluid for microscopal examination. This can help determine any infectious existences, such as bacteria or fungi. Other tests may include an analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in the cranium, where the brain basically floats, urine analysis, blood tests, and computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

Treatment for Dog Ear infection

If ear infection is severe and devastating, your dog may be kept in hospital for treatment, and also will have to be examined for possible neurologic symptoms. Stable patients can be treated at home, frequently via medication (e.g., antimicrobials to fight bacterial infection).

Many bacterial infections will fix with early aggressive antibiotic therapy, and will not recur. Nevertheless, if there are frequent ear infections, surgical drainage may be required.

Living and Management

Your animal will have to be examined for resolution of symptoms for around two weeks after treatment.

How To Prevent

Routine ear cleansing might reduce chances of infection. Be cautioned, however, that too frequent and overly vigorous inner ear washes may be damaging to the ear canal. Your veterinarian will determine and advise you on proper care procedure for your dog.




  1. Boris George on

    Numerous vets can diagnose this condition with one fast whiff of the nose upon entering the examination room. Find out about ear infections, also referred to as otitis externa, and how can you can keep your pet ear infection (and odor) complimentary.

    Otitis externa is an inflammation of the external ear canal. The word otitis implies ear canal inflammation, and externa refers to the external ear canal. Associated terms are otitis media and otitis interna, which refer to the middle and inner ear canals, respectively. Otitis externa is identified by itchy ears, redness, local swelling, and if infected, a discharge with very bad odor. The nature of the smell and discharge depends upon what the causative agent is.

    The term otitis externa does not suggest a cause; just that the canal is irritated. As discussed above, foreign bodies such as yard awns, moisture (as from swimming in a lake), bacteria, yeast, and ear miies are all potential causes of inflammation and resulting infection or invasion.
    Another potential reason for red itchy ears is allergies; generally inhalant irritants or food allergies, triggering red, swollen, and itchy ears.
    If known, one would note the reason for the otitis before the term, such as: bacterial otitis externa or fungal otitis externa to be more particular.
    Treatment of otitis externa depends on the cause. A good ear cleaning is useful for many cases of otitis externa. Antibiotics in the ear (and perhaps by mouth also) will assist with bacterial problems and foreign body penetration. Antifungal and antiparasitic solutions will assist with yeast and termites.
    If your animal has a bad smell from the ears, is scratching or shaking the head constantly, please see your veterinarian as quickly as possible to prevent additional damage to the ears and ear drums.

  2. The signs and symptoms of otitis interna depend upon the intensity and the degree of the infection. Some dogs might reveal no external signs at all, however you may notice your dog is reluctant to chew or appears to be in pain when opening his mouth. He may shake his head or paw at the affected ear.

    Your dog might develop a head tilt – generally to the side of the infected ear – and he may even lean, fall or roll toward the infected side. His balance may be completely modified making it challenging to walk well, and he may even walk in circles towards the side of the infected ear. If both ears are involved, you may see him swing his head from side to side like an elephant swinging its trunk, and he may have a tough time remaining on his feet. Likewise, dogs with active otitis interna can not hear on the afflicted side(s).

  3. If you own a dog, then you should treat him like an adorable family member. You should keep your canine companion clean so that he can leave a healthy life. I don’t think your pooch can stay in good physical condition if his ears are infected. Well, as compared to other body parts, the ears of a dog are more susceptible to infections. Ear mites, excessive hair inside the ear, different allergies- can infect your furry friend’s ear severely. The vertical ear canal helps the infectants to build the base of different ear ailments. Once they live for a considerable period time, they can cause swelling, hair loss around the ear, balance loss, scratching, head tilt, and other irregularities. Thus, whenever you see your pup is showing this kind of etiquette, you should call a vet immediately and give your pooch the necessary medicament to save him from encountering the unwanted ear hazards.

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