Dog Ear Diseases: List of Diseases, Symptoms and Treatment

If the dog began to disobey the teams, then the matter may not be his unwillingness to play. It is possible that the pet has something with ears. Some pathologies of the hearing organs are very dangerous, but because in these cases it is better to immediately contact a veterinarian. Experts know how to treat ear diseases in dogs!

How to understand a dog’s ear hurts

But how to understand that a dog has a sore ear?

Our four-legged friends may not be able to speak, but their behavior is often more eloquent than any words:

  • The dog begins to shake his head constantly. Often an animal just sits with its head tilted to one side. Interestingly, in most cases, the ear hurts, the opposite of the slope. Having adopted the "pose of the thinker," the pet simply tries to restrain the pain that interferes with it. Dogs in this case generally avoid movements, trying to spend as much time as possible motionless. They do not go to the hands, when trying to scratch their heads they can behave aggressively. If the pain is more aching and implicit, the dog can just walk with his head bowed in one direction.
  • The dog scratches his ears. He does this often and is so carried away that the surface of the auricles is quickly covered with a dense network of small abrasions and scratches.
  • Exudation from the external auditory canal. Very often, hearing diseases are accompanied by the seeding of affected tissues with pyogenic and necrotic microflora, which makes the animal smell extremely bad from the ears of the animal, and a large amount of unpleasantly smelling exudate is released from the external auditory canals.
  • A dog may show signs of a neurological disorder. Animals with developed pathologies of the ears often just stand against the wall, or swirl, or they have seizures similar to epileptic seizures. Such a difficult clinical picture is explained by the fact that the hearing organs are located critically close to the brain and its membranes, and therefore even mild otitis media is potentially fraught with meningitis, encephalitis, and death. With these symptoms, the veterinarian needs to be called immediately if the owner lives in a large city, you can certainly find a 24-hour clinic within reach.
  • Dogcansuddenly stop responding to commands, or responds to them only after a few repetitions. The causes of this phenomenon are various - from clogging of the auditory canal with dried exudate to functional damage to the hearing organs.
  • Heavy sulfur deposits, or fine-grained layers, or "simple" exudate and extensive reddening of tissues.
  • Severe cases of ear diseases are characterized by loss of coordination and ability to keep balance. The dog falls literally out of the blue, falls when trying to jump somewhere (sometimes seriously crippling at the same time), cannot walk, as its legs are braided.
  • If the pathology is serious enough and is accompanied by complete or even partial hearing loss, the sick pet begins to experience difficulties with spatial orientation. Simply put, the dog suddenly “gets lost” and does not seem to understand where she was and what she is doing here. This phenomenon is especially pronounced during walks in the fresh air, in the park, and especially in those places where the pet has not been before.

Even a simple visual inspection of the auricles themselves can provide much. If the dog does not belong to the representatives of long-eared and lop-eared dogs, but its ears have become like limp, sagging burdocks, it is necessary to immediately consult a veterinarian.

The strong redness of the tissues of the organ, swelling of the shells and severe soreness, manifested by any contact with them, "hints" at the same thing. In this case, scabs, ulcerations, and other abnormal areas may appear on the skin. This is especially true for otitis media of bacterial etiology.

In addition, with hematomas (and they are often found in dogs), the ear may resemble a cheburek: due to the ingress of blood under the skin, the organ greatly increases in size.

In addition, if the dog behaves more or less calmly, it is necessary to evaluate the consistency of the auricles. As a rule, with pathologies, they significantly become denser and the local temperature of the organ rises. If you put a little stronger pressure on the affected ears, the dog will screech or even begin to show aggression and try to break out of the hands of the "tormentor".

The main causes of ear diseases in dogs

Consider the main causes of ear diseases in dogs:

  • Ingestion of pathogenic and conditionally pathogenic microflora in the organs of hearing. Moreover, diseases of a fungal, not bacterial, nature are especially dangerous. They are difficult to diagnose and no less difficult to treat.
  • Severe hypothermia, including walking the dog with a strong wind, dampness, frost.
  • Parasitic ticks. Of course, when compared with cats, in dogs otodectosis is infrequent, but still, such cases are diagnosed regularly.
  • Injuries, foreign bodies.
  • Generalized allergic reactions.
  • Congenital or acquired (after injuries) anatomical pathologies.
  • Natural predisposition. In particular, in dogs with long and flabby ears, pathologies of the hearing organs develop much more often.
  • Lack of proper animal care.


This is called inflammation of the ear (external, middle or internal section). As a rule, otitis media is caused by pathogenic or conditionally pathogenic microflora (bacteria or fungi).

Even mild forms of the disease are fraught with partial or even complete loss of hearing, with severe otitis media there is a risk of the death of the pet against sepsis.

The disease is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • The dog begins to shake his ears or constantly scratches them.
  • After some time (from five days to a couple of weeks), the flow of exudate from the external auditory canals appears. The wool near the ears sticks together, "icicles" appear. In addition, with a purulent and purulent-necrotic type of inflammation, an extremely unpleasant, putrid odor comes from the ears of the pet.
  • The dog experiences severe pain, which is why he constantly sits with his head tilted to one side.

Treatment depends on what exactly causes inflammation:

  • Prescribe antibiotics and other antimicrobials, otitis media of fungal nature are treated, respectively, with antifungal drugs.
  • In some cases, washing of the ear canals with antiseptic solutions is indicated.
  • Surgical treatment may be required to treat especially advanced otitis media.


Many experienced dog breeders believe that otodectosis is an exclusively cat-like disease, but in fact it is not. Ear tick (namely, it causes this pathology) is found in many animals. All generations of these parasites live in the lumen of the ear canals of pets, feeding on the epithelial layer of the skin, as well as blood and lymph.

All this leads to the development of severe inflammation, but ... the problem is not so much in the ticks themselves, but in their secretions. They contain powerful toxins that have an allergic effect. Because of this, sick dogs develop a very characteristic clinical picture of the disease:

  • The first symptom is that the dog constantly scratches the ears, which is due to a strong, painful itching.
  • The ears of sick pets are usually all scratched, scratched and scratched. Since damage to the skin is quickly seeded with pathogenic and conditionally pathogenic microflora, soon the auricles become covered with suppurating ulcerations.
  • A reddish exudate often flies out of the ears with a very unpleasant odor.

Fortunately, the treatment is quite simple and consists in using one of the many therapeutic drops:

  • "Leopard".
  • Tsipam.
  • Aurikan.
  • Alone and others.


Usually hematomas on the auricles are a consequence of dog fights, occasionally they appear as a result of other traumatic factors. For example, in severe cases of otodectosis, the dog scratches its ears so much that it damages them.

The hematoma itself is a kind of "bag", one wall of which is the cartilaginous base of the ear, and the other is the skin covering the auricle. Sometimes the damage is minor, but often the blood vessels cannot grow together, which is why blood constantly seeps into the hematoma cavity. Its volume gradually increases, which leads to the development of the following symptoms:

  • The dog scratches the ears, which only leads to accelerated development of the hematoma.
  • Since a growing neoplasm strongly compresses adjacent tissues, the affected ear begins to hurt. At the same time, the pet whines, squeals, cannot eat, sleep, play normally.
  • Finally, a swelling appears on the surface of the auricle, gradually increasing in size. At first it is soft and watery, but with time it becomes very denser.

In most cases, the treatment of hematoma is exclusively surgical:

  • First, the cavity is opened and all its contents are cleaned.
  • Blood vessels stitch or cauterize.
  • The cavity is stuffed with streptocidal powder, drainage is placed.


This is called skin inflammation. Since in this case, ear dermatitis, inflammation develops on the skin of the auricles. There can be many reasons for this pathology:

  • Exposure to chemicals, including drugs.
  • Allergic reactions.
  • Infections For example, many purulent dermatitis cause many staphylococci and streptococci.
  • Frostbite or burns of the auricles.
  • Parasites. In particular, with advanced cases of otodectosis, dermatitis of the skin of the ears is almost always observed.

Symptoms in this case are as follows:

  • The skin turns red, in severe cases, swelling is observed.
  • On palpation, soreness of the ears is revealed, the dog screeches and whines, can be aggressive.
  • The animal scratches and scratches its long-suffering ears.
  • Suppurations, ulcers, excretion of exudate, and other signs of inflammation are possible.

Treatment depends on the nature of the disease:

  • Antibiotics and other antimicrobials, antifungal or antiparasitic drugs are prescribed.
  • Antihistamines are almost always required.
  • For the relief of inflammatory phenomena, corticosteroid anti-inflammatory drugs are used, as well as ointments and liniment with a soothing effect.

Sore at the tips of the ears

As in the past case, sores on the tips of the ears can be caused by many factors:

  • Very often this is a consequence of frostbite. Do not bring the doggie "into the fresh air" for an hour or two if the ambient temperature is below -20 ° Celsius and below. If the dog lives on the street, in the aviary, then in such conditions it is better to transfer it to a warmer place.
  • In the southern regions, such sores may be due to sunburn.
  • They can be the initial stage of dermatitis (mentioned above).
  • Fungal infections, etc. are possible.

In a word, it is safe to speak about the specific origin of the sores only after a comprehensive study in a well-equipped veterinary clinic. Symptoms are as follows:

  • The most obvious is the appearance of these very sores on the ears.
  • The dog often combs and scratches his ears.

Treatment will depend on the root cause of the appearance of tumors:

  • Antibacterial drugs.
  • Anti-inflammatory corticosteroids.
  • Antiparasitic drugs, etc. In short, the treatment is almost the same as that used for dermatitis.

Ear mite

This is the causative agent of otodectosis. We have already talked about this disease above.

Allergic reactions in dogs

Oddly enough, it is precisely the allergic reactions in dogs in many cases that cause "malfunctions" with the animal's ears. However, this is easily explained: allergies provoke the rapid development of inflammatory reactions, and the delicate skin of the auricles is extremely sensitive to them.

Unfortunately, it is unrealistic to protect a pet from allergies 100%, since its body can inadequately react to anything. But nevertheless, in most cases, the primary cause is poor-quality feed, a little less often - household chemicals, care products, medicines, etc. Symptoms develop as follows:

  • The ears turn red and swell.
  • Perhaps the sudden development of rhinitis and conjunctivitis, the dog sniffles and sneezes, it develops copious discharge from the nose and eyes.
  • Skin rashes are possible.

Treatment in all these cases is performed according to the standard scheme:

  • First, a complex of antihistamines is required.
  • Anti-inflammatory corticosteroids are used to relieve inflammation.
  • In generalized allergies, calcium borgluconate or calcium chloride is administered intravenously. These drugs help prevent swelling, including deadly pulmonary edema.

Eczema of the auricle

This disease is largely a "relative" of dermatitis, but auricle eczema is a more serious pathology. This is due to the fact that with eczema, not superficial, but deep layers of the skin become inflamed. Accordingly, the pathology is more severe and can lead to very unpleasant consequences (up to the death of part of the auricle).

In many cases, the causes of this disease are the same as with dermatitis, but they are deeper. In particular, eczema is often the result of stress (neuropathic eczema), often they occur when there is a lack of vitamins and minerals in food. There are even reflex eczema, the cause of which can be any irritant from the external environment. Symptoms of the pathology are as follows:

  • The first symptom is the appearance of small, rounded redness on the skin of the auricles.
  • Very soon, the spots merge into a single whole, pustules appear, in severe cases, the entire surface of the ear turns into a continuous, purulent wound.

As in the case of dermatitis, treatment directly depends on the root cause:

  • Antihistamines and anti-inflammatory corticosteroids are prescribed.
  • Antiparasitic drugs.
  • To stop suppuration and prevent the development of secondary infections, antibiotics are often prescribed.

External ear inflammation

In general, this is a kind of otitis media, but the inflammation of the outer ear has its own specific features. Many people confuse this pathology with dermatitis or eczema, but in fact the disease is completely different.

An important distinguishing feature is inflammation of the skin inside the auricle, while with dermatitis and eczema, it is the external, external part of the organ that is damaged.

Common causes of this type of otitis media are bacterial and fungal infections. The development of the following symptoms is characteristic:

  • First the dog scratches his ears.
  • Since otitis media is accompanied by a rapid increase in the pain reaction, the animal soon begins to whine and screech.
  • The inner surface of the auricle becomes inflamed, exudation begins, the hair around the ear sticks together and sags with icicles.

Standard treatment:

  • Broad-spectrum antibiotics and / or other antimicrobials are mandatory.
  • Exudate is removed by wiping the affected area with a cotton swab soaked in 3% hydrogen peroxide.
  • The affected areas of the skin are lubricated with liniment synthomycin, tetracycline ointment, liniment Vishnevsky and similar means.

Middle ear inflammation

As in the case described above, inflammation of the middle ear is one of the varieties of otitis media. But this pathology is much more difficult than simple inflammation of the auricle. The ear canal itself is exposed to inflammation, sometimes the process can seize the auricle itself, in more rare cases the parts of the inner ear become inflamed.

The causes of this pathology are completely similar to those described above: these are foreign objects getting into the ear canal, infectious diseases, allergic reactions, breed predisposition (dogs with long ears have otitis media more often), etc.

Symptoms in this case are as follows:

  • At the same time, itching does not always develop, but severe pain - in almost all cases. The dog often sits with his head bowed in one direction, trying to move as little as possible.
  • Exudate secretion begins rapidly. It either follows from the external auditory canals, or it scatters abundantly around the room when the pet shakes its head.

The treatment is also standard:

  • Be sure to prescribe antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents.
  • In many cases of otitis media, sedatives and pain medications are required.
  • The auditory meatus is washed with antiseptic solutions.

Foreign Object In Ear

One of the most common causes of inflammation in the lumen of the auditory canals is the ingress of a foreign object into the ear. The problem is not that a foreign object can severely injure an organ. On its surface there will always be pathogenic or conditionally pathogenic microflora, the action of which inevitably stimulates the inflammatory process.

Anything can play the role of “foreign objects themselves: small details of children's toys (they often end up in the ears of the children themselves), grass stubble, if the dog often walks on the street, large pieces of land, branches, stones, etc.

Clinical signs in this case:

  • First, the dog just scratches his ears and shakes his head, trying to get rid of the interfering object.
  • If a foreign body injured the ear canal, inflammation and pain reaction quickly develop, as a result of which the animal becomes less mobile and tries to sit more in one place.
  • Exudate is secreted from the auditory canals.

The treatment is carried out as follows:

  • First, the foreign body is removed surgically.
  • To prevent the development of a severe secondary infection, the dog is prescribed broad-spectrum antibiotics.
  • In many cases, washing of the auditory meatus is indicated.

Hormonal disorders

A slightly more “exotic” cause of ear diseases in dogs is hormonal imbalance. Most often, owners of old animals face this problem. By themselves, problems with hormones do not harm the ears in any way, but they greatly weaken the immune system. And the ears in this case get the fastest, since a lot of microflora live in the lumen of the ear passage.

If the immunity is normal, everything is in order, but when it weakens, microorganisms can contribute to the development of the inflammatory process.

Symptoms in this case are completely similar, as with otitis media:

  • The dog scratches his ears, and later - for a long time sits in one place, keeping his head bowed.
  • The animal can shake its ears vigorously, which is why exudate splashes fly around the room.
  • In some cases, the dog’s condition deteriorates rapidly, which makes him apathetic, refuses water and food.
  • Sometimes a pet constantly whines, and sometimes it literally squeals from pain.
  • Auricles redden and swell.

Complex treatment:

  • A qualitative biochemical blood test is required. Without it, it is impossible to understand the deficiency / overabundance of which hormones caused the disease.
  • Substitution therapy is prescribed.
  • In some cases, anti-inflammatory corticosteroids are used.

Deafness in dogs

In this case, we are not talking about a specific disease, but about their whole complex. More precisely, in most situations, deafness in dogs is a consequence of neglected diseases described above. It can occur against the background of serious infections, herbs, congenital and acquired pathologies of anatomical development, foreign bodies entering the ear canal, etc. An accurate answer about the nature of deafness can only be given by a qualitative veterinary examination of the animal.

Signs of hearing loss increase gradually, but in the end become apparent:

  • The dog first begins to respond to commands from the second or third time, and then completely ignores them completely.
  • It must be remembered that without normal hearing, the dog cannot navigate normally in space. And therefore a deaf dog begins to behave strangely on walks, sometimes the animal has a look as if it does not understand what it is doing here and what is happening around it.

Treatment, respectively, completely depends on the cause that caused the development of deafness in the pet. In some cases, antibiotics are sufficient, but in others, hearing (if you're lucky) will recover only after a difficult surgery.

Prevention of ear diseases in dogs

Since hearing diseases are fraught with the development of serious consequences, including the complete deafness of the dog or her death from sepsis, the prevention of ear diseases in dogs plays an extremely important role. For this, the breeder must observe the following rules:

  • The pet must be vaccinated in a timely manner. This rule, by the way, is important not only in the case of prevention of pathologies of the hearing organs.
  • Since the risk of getting sick is much lower in a healthy and physically strong dog, special attention should be paid to proper, balanced nutrition of the animal. If it is not possible to use quality veterinary holivics, it is necessary to consult an experienced veterinarian nutritionist. He will help you choose for the dog the diet that suits her best. This is especially true for animals prone to obesity and allergic reactions. Correct their diet at least once a quarter.
  • If the dog regularly walks on the street, after each walk it is necessary to conduct a surface examination of the pet. Particular attention is paid not only to the ears, but also to the eyes and pads of the paws (i.e. places where the introduction of foreign bodies is most likely).
  • To reduce the likelihood of injury, when walking on a dog we highly recommend wearing a muzzle.
  • In cases where the pet began to scratch his ears constantly and for no reason, they should be examined immediately. At the slightest suspicion of otodectosis, it is necessary to immediately treat it.
  • The same goes for suspected allergies. If the pet is initially prone to the development of allergic reactions, it is best to immediately contact the veterinarian without delaying the treatment.

How to clean your dog’s ears: tips and tricks

In order for the ears to be healthy, and the pet always heard well, they need to be cleaned from time to time. Here's how to clean your dog’s ears:

  • For cleaning, use 1% hydrogen peroxide or sterile vegetable oil. The latter can be bought at any pharmacy or prepared on your own by “calcining” the oil in a water bath.
  • You can clean the ear canals with regular cotton buds and cotton pads.

The main rule of ear cleaning is neatness and moderation. If there are any crusts or scabs on the surface of the organ, it is not necessary to tear them off with heat. First, they should be soaked with oil or peroxide, and then gently wipe. Sticks in the ear canal "all the way" to poke, too, is not worth it. In order not to overdo it, it is better to use special children's ear sticks, which have a depth gauge. When working, you need to use a source of bright enough light, and a headlamp is ideal.

If there is exudate in the ears, from the auditory canals it smells bad or massive plugs completely blocking the lumen of the auditory canal are noticeable, you should not clean your ears at all. Instead, consult your veterinarian.

Watch the video: The Difference Between Outer and Middle Ear Infections (November 2019).