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Otitis Externa - Ear Infection


Otitis Externa is inflammation of the external ear canal.  In some cases the pinna (ear flap) and or middle ear may also be affected.  Many factors can be involved in otitis externa developing; these can be divided into 3 main categories, Predisposing factors, primary causes, and perpetuating factors.  The common signs to look for  are discharge and odor from the ear, redness or swelling of the ear, rubbing or pawing at the ear, shaking of the head, and decreased hearing ( not be confused with selective hearing).
Predisposing factors can be breed or individual specific factors that change the environment of the ear canal, making them more susceptible to bacteria and yeast infect ions. The most common of these are pendulous or floppy ears, narrow ear canals, excessive hair in the canal, and frequent swimming.  Otitis externa can affect any dog or cat; we most commonly see issues in Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Miniature Poodles.