Dermatology: Ears

Ear disease is common in dogs with about 20% of all cases seen by vets. Dogs ear canals make them more prone to developing disease and certain breeds are often more affected. It is not so common in cats and can be often associated with ear mites.



Signs of ear disease include shaking the head, scratching at the ears, reddened and inflammed ears as well as smelly discharges from ears.


There are a number of causes of ear disease but they are generally placed into three groups: Primary, predisposing and perpetuating factors. Primary factors are ones that actually initiate disease such as allergies. Predisposing factors make the animal more prone to developing ear infections such as narrow ear canals, or large floppy ears. Perpetuating factors increase the time the ear canal is infected such as middle ear disease.