Otitis in dogs and cats | Village Vets

Otitis in dogs and cats:

Ear infection in pets is a painful condition. If left untreated it can result in irreversible damage to the ear. Alongside pain, this can cause deafness, neurological damage and result in an ear that needs complex surgery. 


What is otitis:

Otitis is infection or inflammation of your pet's ear flap or ear canals. 

If an ear is left untreated, it can develop a chronic otitis which leads to inflamed and narrowed ear canals, rupture of the eardrum and irreversible damage to the ears.

The infection is always secondary. Common infections found in dogs and cats ears are yeast and bacteria. Treating the infection will help resolve the pain, however, if the primary cause of otitis is not identified, the infection will recur.


What are the primary causes of otitis in pets:

The most common cause of otitis is skin allergies. 

Other causes include: foreign bodies (e.g. grass seed), hormone imbalances, parasites (e.g. ear mites), ear growths (e.g. polyps) and other skin diseases. 


Factors that make an ear infection more likely:

Dogs that swim and have hairy ear canals, may be more likely to get an ear infection if a ‘primary cause’ is present. But these factors alone are not enough to cause an ear infection. Some breeds with pendulous ear flaps (e.g. cocker spaniel, basset hound etc) may have reduced airflow, making infection more likely. Overcleaning and hair plucking can also make an ear infection more likely to occur.


I am treating my pet's ear infection...why is it not getting better?

This is a really common scenario. Often this is because there is something perpetuating the infection. Some examples could be: dried wax blocking the ear canal (ceruminolith), damaged eardrums and middle ear infections, and chronic inflammation of the ear canal.



Acute, simple cases of otitis may be treated by your vet with ear drops. 

Most cases of otitis require video otoscopy under general anaesthetic. This allows detailed visualisation of the ear canal and eardrum. It also facilitates deep irrigation and cleaning. Video otoscopy can reverse the need for surgery in cases of chronic otitis.



Meet Molly.

Molly was in with us as she had dried ear wax in her ear canal, ceruminolith.



This is her ear before the cleaning


This is how we went about cleaning her ear


Look how much better it is!!