Otitis Externa 

Sandra R. Merchant, DVM, Diplomate ACVD 

Carol S. Foil, DVM, Diplomate ACVD 


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. Thorough cleansing, of the ear canal.
  2. Application of medication into the ear canal.
  3. Correction of the underlying cause.
  4. Allowing your veterinarian to re-examine the ear until it is cleared.


Use ear cleanser times a week.  Follow with ear medication times a day.


Ear cleansing and medicating instructions:


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

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

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.   


DO NOT INSERT COTTON SWABS INTO THE EAR CANAL. Use cotton swabs only to clean the parts of the ear you can actually see.


Apply the medication after cleansing and drying the ear.