Otitis Externa Treatment in Dogs

Date Published: 11/03/2003
Date Reviewed/Revised: 04/26/2018

Otitis externa is an inflammation or infection of the external ear canal. Bacteria, yeast, ear mites, and allergies can all cause otitis externa. Addressing this problem involves four steps:

  1. Cleaning the ear canal thoroughly to remove excessive ear wax and other debris.
  2. Applying medication into the ear canal.
  3. Allowing your veterinarian to re-examine the ear until the infection is cleared.
  4. Identifying and correcting the underlying cause of the otitis externa.

Ear Cleansing and Medicating Instructions

Courtesy of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine

1. Apply cleanser to ear liberally as shown or by soaking a cotton ball and placing it in the ear.

Courtesy of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine

2. Massage into ear canal by gently massaging the base of the ear.

Courtesy of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine

3. With a cotton ball over your fingertip, wipe the accessible portion of the ear clean. Let your dog or cat shake out any excess. Clean the same portion of the ear with a dry cotton ball once again. Repeat if necessary.

Courtesy of Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine

4. Apply the medication deeply into the ear canal.

Do not insert cotton swabs into the ear canal.

Use cotton swabs only to clean the parts of the ear you can actually see.

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