≡ 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 is also…

One of those diseases that sounds a lot worse than it actually is, since it is very easy 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 which 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 difficult 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 simply. There are three different parts of the ear which is why it is divided up into three different variants. These three separate areas encompass the:

  • 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 difficult 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.


The Externia variant can be acute or chronic, of which the chronic 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 harder to get to. It is usual to find this infection has occurred as a result of 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 ear drum most 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 ear drum and have passed into the inner ear canal.


This inflammation usually starts from the outer ear and works its way in to 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 for them to reach and they can scratch themselves bloody in the effort. Immediate attention is recommended.

Affected Breeds

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

  • The Chines Shar Pei
  • The Cocker Spaniel
  • The Fox Terrier
  • The Lhasa Apso
  • The Shih Tzu
  • The West Highland Terrier
  • The West Highland White Terrier


Perhaps, dogs who have an all-white coat have little pigment in their skin 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 certain your dog doesn’t have methicillin-resistant staphylococcus (or MRSA, to you and me) – just the normal ear bacteria (pseudomonas aeruginosa).

Anti-inflammatory medications…

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


Along with anti-inflammatory drugs are usually enough to treat this skin disease. In extreme cases surgery may be the only option, 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 make the decision over whether or not operating will be helpful.

In most cases…

The best thing you can do for your pet is to have a skin allergies test done Unfortunately this can be costly.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have otitis (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!


The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

This is 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 right 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