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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Ear Allergy (Allergic Otitis)

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Condition Overview

Dogs with canine atopy and food hypersensitivity dermatitis are predisposed to develop inflamed ears. In fact, ear involvement may be the only indication of an allergy.

Symptoms

In dogs with war allergies, an itch-scratch cycle develops, resulting in excoriations (a punctate or linear abrasion produced by mechanical means. eg: scratching), hair loss, scabs, and crusts about the ears. The ear canals are filled with a brown wax or, alternatively, may appear very red, inflamed and moist. An allergic contact dermatitis can develop in ear canals that have been medicated with an ear prescription.

Causes

Canine atopy, food hypersensitivity dermatitis, and reactions to ear medications are known causes of ear allergy response. The antibiotic neomycin is a frequent cause of this problem.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by veterinary examination.

Treatment

Any underlying allergic skin disease must be treated to eliminate the ear symptoms. Treatment for itching involves the use of antihistamines and topical and oral corticosteroids. Discontinue any ear preparation that may be allergenic. An allergic otitis is often complicated by a bacterial or yeast infection that must also be treated.

Prevention

The underlying allergy must be removed from the environment to prevent the ear symptoms. See food allergy for more details.

Support

Please contact your veterinarian or a pet nutrition specialist for assistance if you think your pet may have this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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