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Most Common Issue: Inflammation of the Inner Ear

dog skin allergiesDid you know that inflammation of the inner ear is one of the most common health issues for dogs?Otitis externa is a chronic inflammation of a dog external ear canal and otitis media is an inflammation of the dog’s middle ear. These are actually symptoms and not a disease.

Swelling of the external ear canal (otitis externa) happens when the normal environment of the ear canal changes. The change causes the lining of the canal to enlarge and produces excessive ear wax. If this persists the skin of the out and inner ear will develop a narrowing of the ear canal. This is usually because of a secondary issue such as an infection.

Otitis Externa can cause:

  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Ruptured ear drum
  • Otitis media

Otitis media (inner ear) is usually caused by otitis externa. The otitis externa causes the membrane that separates the external ear and middle ear to rupture. Though this can happen to any breed, dogs with floppy ears and hairy external ear canals are more susceptible.

The most common symptom of either otitis externa or otitis media are:

  • Pain
  • Head shaking,
  • Scratching at their ear flap
  • Bad odor
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Scaling skin
  • Obstruction of the ear canal

Signs of Otitis Media

  • Head tilting
  • Anorexia
  • Uncordination (indicating it is affecting their balance)
  • Vomiting (meaning the infection could be going to their inner ear)


Parasites, food allergies, drug reactions, foreign bodies (plants, loose hair, dead skin build up), and autoimmune diseases are the most common causes of inflammation of the inner ear. Bacterial infections, fungal infections, excessive moisture (likely from swimming), and improper ear cleaning can also lead to this kind of inflammation.



If your dog or cat is diagnosed with otitis externa you local Los Lunas vet will likely give a topical treatment along with a full cleansing of their ear. The topical treatment will likely be antibacterial, corticosteroid, anti-yeast, and antiseptic drops. If there is a bacterial or fungal infection, your dog may be given oral antibiotics and antifungals.

The best way to prevent an inner ear inflammation is regular ear cleaning. Make sure to ask your vet the best way to clean your pet’s ears.

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2510 Main St. NE #1 Los Lunas, NM Phone: (505) 865-0662

Veterinarian Clinic Website: www.loslunasvetco.com


The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.