Dog Ear Infection, Signs and Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention


The medical term for a dog ear infection is otits media, referring specifically to the inflammation of the dog’s middle ear, commonly caused by bacteria. Dog ear infections are common among long-eared dog breeds with non-erect outer ears and those with excessive ear hair. It is important to know the preventive measures, signs and symptoms, treatment and management of dog ear infections to relieve your dog’s painful suffering and prevent further complications.

The signs and symptoms depends on the severity and extent of ear infections in dogs, ranging from no visible symptoms to obvious involvement of the nervous system. Affected dogs may show head shaking or head tilting, reluctant to chew, leaning to the side of the affected ear, scratching, pawning or rubbing  of the affected ear, and vestibular deficits or altered sense of balance. Uncoordinated body movements and wide swinging head movements and deafness are indicative of infection of both ears. Sometimes dogs experience nausea and vomiting, redness and swelling of ears, pupils of unequal size, ear discharge, abnormal ear odor, grey bulging eardrum or tympanic membrane, and in worse cases facial nerve damage as evidenced by paralysis or inability to blink.

Bacteria are the primary causative agent for dog ear infection, and it may also be brought about by yeasts and ear mites. Environmental factors such as allergies, pollen, food, molds and trauma from a vehicular accident, polyps or ear tumors, and presence of foreign objects inside the ear are also associated with development of ear infections among dogs. Diagnostic procedure involves insertion of a spinal needle into the ear drum membrane for extraction of middle ear fluid, medically called as myringotomy, and it is examined under the aid of a microscope, to determine the presence of microorganism, whether the infection is caused by bacteria, fungi or a foreign object. Other diagnostic examinations also include blood tests, urinalysis, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and computed tomography or CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging or MRI for nervous system involvement. Know the symptoms of ear infection in your dogs in

Treatment include prescription of anti-inflammatory medications or antibiotic therapy, proper ear cleaning and in worse cases hospitalization. Routine proper ear cleaning is important to prevent microbial growth leading to dog ear infections. Dog ear oil may also be prescribed as a preventive and treatment measure. Consult your veterinarian for any dog ear infection problem for prompt treatment and expert advise. You may also visit our website for other pet advise and other helpful articles for taking care of your dogs. Learn how to get rid of ear mites in dogs here!