Otorrhoea in Dogs


Dr Himanshu Pratap Singh
Dr Divya Tiwari
Dr RK Jain
Otitis externa is a chronic inflammation of the dog’s external ear canal. Otitis media is an inflammation of the dog’s middle ear. Both these terms are used to describe clinical symptoms and are not diseases. Know more on this here.
Otitis externa often occurs when a change in the normal environment of the ear canal causes the lining of the glands to nlarge and produce excessive ear wax. Gradually the outer skin (epidermis) and the inner skin (dermis) produce excessive fibrous tissue (fibrosis) and the ear canal is narrowed. It is normally a secondary symptom of another underlying disease, such as infection. Otitis externa results in a ruptured ear drum (tympanum). Otitis media typically occurs as an extension of otitis externa, causing a ruptured membrane  (tympanum) that separates the external ear and the middle ear. Otorrhoea can affect dogs of any age and breed. Breeds with long ears (Spaniels and Retrievers) and with hairy external canals (Terriers and Poodles) are more susceptible.
Signs and symptoms
The most common symptoms are–pain, head shaking, bad odour, scratching ear’s outer flap, tilting of head, uncoordinated movement,
occasional vomiting. On physical examination, the vet might also notice redness and swelling of ear canal, skin scaling, obstruction of ear canal. Some chronic cases may lead to deafness.
Otitis externa and Otitis media can be caused by a variety of things. The primary causes are parasites, food allergies, drug reactions, foreign bodies (e.g., plant awns), accumulation of hair, dead skin buildup (keratinization), and autoimmune diseases. Some other contributing factors include: Bacterial infections, fungal infections, progressive changes in the environment of the outer ear canal, excessive moisture caused by swimming, abrasive and improper ear cleaning, hyper secretion of sebaceous gland, trauma and distemper.
These two conditions can be diagnosed in several ways. For instance, X-rays may be used to diagnose otitis media; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used to identify accumulation of fluids or soft tissue growth in the middle ear. Other ways of diagnosing these conditions include skin scrapings from the dog’s ear flaps to test for parasites, and skin biopsies to check for autoimmune diseases.However, the single most important tool for diagnosing otitis externa and otitis media is microscopic examination of the ear discharge.
Medicinal treatment

  • Clip the hair and clean it with soap and water
  • There may be cleaned with H2O2, spirit or zinc sulphate lotion.
  • Apply any antiseptic powder or ointment after cleaning. Iodine preparation can also be used.
  • Some ear drops like Oteck AC,Sofracort, etc and ointment like topicure, idoform, tincture iodine can also be used.

Surgical treatment

  • Zepp’s operation for chronic OTORRHOEA in canine.
  • Site – the tubular portion of antero external aspect of the concha and the skin below it.
  • Anaesthesia and controltranquilize the animal with xylazine at the dose rate of about 2 mg per kg body weight I/M uninor status with general anaesthesia by using guitar mean at the dose rate of 5 mg per kg body weight I/V and control the animal in lateral recumbency.
  • Surgical procedure – too long curved forcep clamps are used to control hemorrhage. These forceps hold the conhcal portion within its jaws and are applied in an angle to each other making out V-shaped area of concha, the apex towards the external
    auditory meatus. The path bus isolated is cut close to the jaws of the forceps, as the two inseasons are not being allowed to meet. These two incisions are latter extended little downwards independently and diverge from each cut through the skin and the terminal part of a third season is made to connect them thus the triangular skin flap isolated is reflected upwards and over the conchal cartilage. The triangular cut piece of conchal cartilage is then pulled down wards and is fixed to the sides of the incision after trimming the excess length of the cartilage so that the ear canal drains directly downward through this open channel. Before removing the forceps continuous sutures are usually passed through the skin and cartilage including the jaws of the forcep and as the forcep is drawn out the sutures are tightened over the incision.

Post operative care

  • Daily dressing needs to be done. Application of neosporin powder or any other antiseptic powder is recommended.
  • Injection of antibiotic like ceftriaxone at the dose of 500 mg for 7 days.
  • Prevent the animal from self mutilation. Use muzzle, etc.
  • Skin sutures are removed after 10 to 12 days.

(Dr Himanshu Pratap Singh, Dr Divya Tiwari, Dr MK Mehta, and Dr RK Jain are from College of Veterinary Science and Animal
Husbandry, Mhow, Madhya Pradesh).