Otitis Externa (a.k.a ear infection)
“Dr. Rannals, my dog keeps scratching at his ears and rubbing them to the ground. They smell awful and are red and moist.”
Common words, these describe some of the symptoms of otitis externa.
This is an infection of the external ear canal in dogs (and sometimes cats) that is very irritating to the pet. Redness, drainage, rough texture of the ear, and smell are the most common signs of the ear problem. All breeds of dogs can get this, even “mutts.”
Otitis externa is a “good news, bad news” disease. The good news is that it can be treated and controlled. The bad news is, it is likely to recur in weeks to months. It seems that certain dogs are prone to harbor the bacteria and yeast that cause the problem. We know now that most dogs who regularly get these infections have underlying allergies as the trigger. Often, dogs with otitis also have itchy skin, feet, or staph infection on their skin. Treatment will effect relief and temporary cure, but preventive measures are needed as well.
The ears are cleaned and treated a topical medications designed for this disease, containing antibiotics, antifungals, and usually a form of cortisone. Often, oral or injectable antibiotics are also administered, especially when the case is very severe. Preventive measures include frequent cleaning of the ear canal, and applying Oti-clens into the ear canal 2 to 3 times weekly. Oticlens produces an acidic condition in the ear that bacteria don’t like and also helps remove old devitalized tissue from the canal so the skin of the ear canal remains healthy. (In some instances, the ears are so painful and messy that we may sedate the pet to allow for better cleaning.)
Otitis externa can be very painful for pets, but we can help. With our help, and a little work by the owners at home, pets can have relief.