≡ Menu

Otitis in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Otitis in dogs is a condition that describes the inflammation of the ear.  It is not specific to dogs and cats; humans and other animals can all catch it. It is separated into three variations which involve the outer, middle, and inner ear processes.  This disease sounds much worse than it is since it is straightforward to treat the symptoms once the initial cause has been identified and annulled.

The problem is that…

Otitis is a disease of the ear canal that can be itchy, painful, and uncomfortable for your pup. If left untreated can seriously affect your dog’s quality of life.  The good news is that it is easy to treat but more challenging to find the underlying cause, which is often an allergen within the household. Allergen skin patch testing can be pricey, so remember our number one rule: Pet Insurance is the first purchase you make after you buy your pet!

What is Otitis, and what does it do?

Otitis is an itch in the ear, put. The ear has three different parts, divided into three different variants. These three separate areas encompass the following:

  • Inner ear,
  • The middle ear,
  • And the external ear canal.

And of which have different medical terms, as below. And it should be noted that all dogs suffering from this infection can have it in one or both ears.

Otitis Externia in Dogs…

Is the name applied to the external ear canal variant? It occurs when the tympanic membrane around the lining of the ear canal becomes irritated, and yeast starts growing in the tympanic cells. It is a dermatological disease, but various factors make it challenging to get to (including the shape of the ear and discovering the trigger for the itch). Conformations such as itching causing the ear canals to close up can make treating the problem topically nigh impossible.

Furthermore, the Externia variant can be acute or chronic, which is harder to treat, usually because of underlying issues like environmental factors, other skin diseases, and parasites.

Otitis Media in Dogs…

Affects the middle ear in much the same way as the External variant. However, the middle ear is more challenging to get to. It is usual to find this infection has occurred due to prolonged exposure to another skin condition or disease. Usually, the Otitis Media will not become infected unless the outer ear is already exposed, as damage to the eardrum must occur for the infection to pass through the layers.

Otitis Interna is the…

Infection in the inner ear and perpetuating factors included bacteria (like otodectes cynotis (or ear mites)), foreign bodies, or Malassezia fungus, which have gotten through the eardrum and have passed into the inner ear canal.  Again this inflammation usually starts from the outer ear and works into the tympanic bulla. Otoscopic examination by a board-certified veterinary surgeon will decide which version of this disease your dog is suffering from.

But be warned…

This disease will drive your dog nuts. The itching and inflammation around the ear flap are difficult to reach, and they can scratch themselves bloody in the effort. I recommend immediate attention.

Most Commonly Affected Breeds

Certain breeds are predisposed towards contracting this condition, but it can happen to any dog. It can also be passed between dogs through close contact, but this is not very likely. Breeds known to be affected are:

Oddly, dogs with an all-white coat have little pigment and are more prone to skin infections than others – especially if they get too much sun and a crack in the skin’s surface appears. Pedigree breeds are more prone to Otitis than mixed breeds but bear in mind that since this disease can be environmental, it can happen to any dog.

Treatment options

Since the clinical signs for this disease, all start with excessive itching, treatment will depend on exactly how deep the infection has gone, and your vet will look for gram-negative bacteria to be sure your dog doesn’t have methicillin-resistant staphylococcus (or MRSA, to you and me) – just the normal ear bacteria (pseudomonas aeruginosa).

Anti-inflammatory medications…

It will typically be provided to help take the swelling down, but it is likely to return without solving the underlying issues.


Anti-inflammatory drugs are usually enough to treat this skin disease. Surgery may be the only option in extreme cases, but it is still easily treatable. The most dangerous aspect of the surgery option is the threat of the MRSA bacteria becoming out of control, so your vet will want to decide whether or not operating will be helpful.

In most cases…

The best thing you can do for your pet is to have a skin allergy test done. Unfortunately, this can be costly.  This brings us to where we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals.  We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel your pet may have otitis (or any other health issue), you will want to have them checked out by a vet ASAP!  Because…

An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, but beyond that, diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!  This is also why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment