Ear Problems and Infections in Dogs
Cleaning the Ears continued...
If there is an excessive accumulation of wax in the ear canals that appears
to be the blocking air flow; if the ear appears to be red, inflamed, and moist;
or if there is discharge from the ear, take your dog to the veterinarian for
treatment. The ears are either infected or likely to become so.
After an initial cleaning at the veterinary clinic, you may be instructed to
instill a cleansing solution at home. Apply a few drops of cleaning solution to
the canal and massage the base of the ear to loosen wax and debris. Then gently
wipe out the ear canal with cotton balls.
Never insert cotton-tipped applicators or swabs down into the ear canals,
because this pushes wax and cellular debris further into the ear. This is a
common cause of ear infection.
How to Apply Ear Medicines
Ear medicines should be applied only to clean, dry ear canals. Some ear
preparations come in tubes with long nozzles; others use medicine droppers.
Restrain the dog so that the tip of the applicator does not accidentally tear
the wall of the ear canal. Fold the ear
flap over the top of the dog’s head. Insert the end of the nozzle or
medicine dropper into the ear canal only as far as you can see. Squeeze in the
amount of ointment or number of drops recommended by your veterinarian.
Most infections involve the part of the ear canal next to the eardrum. It is
important that the medicine reach this area. Massage the cartilage at the base
of the ear for 20 seconds to disperse the medicine. This makes a squishy
Do not use ear preparations or drying solutions unless you know for sure
that the eardrums are intact, as determined by a veterinary exam using an
otoscope. If a preparation is inserted into an ear canal with a perforated
eardrum, it will enter the middle ear and damage structures essential to
Ear medications should be instilled once or twice daily, or as directed by
your veterinarian. Antibiotics commonly prescribed to treat external ear
infections include Panolog (neomycin, nystatin, cortisone), Liquichlor
(chloramphenicol), Tresderm (neomycin, thiabendazole, cortisone), and Gentocin
Otic (gentamicin). Gentamicin can cause ototoxicity or hearing loss, especially
if your dog has a ruptured ear drum. Only use this medication under veterinary