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What are Ear Dermatitis?

Some of the causes of ear dermatitis are mites, mange, allergy, injury, fissures, and seborrhea. Even though these conditions seem like no big deal, your pet would definitely disagree. The intense itching and subsequent pain can be a constant annoyance and may lead to scarring. If your dog scratches enough to break the skin, infection is likely to occur due to the germs under the nails and the dirt your pet enjoys to play in when outdoors.

There are many types of skin conditions that can irritate the outside of the ear (pinna), and most are secondary to dermatitis elsewhere. It is uncommon for a skin disorder to only affect the ear, so if your dog is suffering from itchy ears, redness, and inflammation, it is likely that there is a skin condition going on somewhere else. However, if your dog has ear mites, which is one of the most common reasons for ear dermatitis, the ears may be the only part of the body affected.

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Ear Dermatitis Average Cost

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Average Cost

$300

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Symptoms of Ear Dermatitis in Dogs

The signs of ear dermatitis can vary depending on the cause, but they almost all cause itchiness and redness. Sometimes, there are no symptoms at all and the problem is found during a veterinary examination for another illness or a routine checkup. However, in 90% of all dermatitis cases, the common symptoms you will see are:

  • Scratching ears
  • Chewing on ears
  • Hair loss around ears
  • Redness and swelling
  • Foul smelling discharge
  • Scabs, lesions
  • Bleeding
  • Shaking head
  • Crusting or scaling on ear edges

Types

  • Allergies can be caused by contact, food, or pollen and presents in many ways including intense scratching anywhere on the body including the ears
  • Cellulitis is an infection of the skin usually called juvenile cellulitis because it almost exclusively affects young dogs between one and four months old; signs of this may include little pus-filled bumps on raised red skin
  • Injury may be from bites from other animals, burns, and lacerations
  • Mange is a seriously contagious disorder that can produce hair loss, redness, swelling, severe itchiness, and is caused by ear mites
  • Seborrhea is dry, scaly skin usually showing up in cold weather
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Causes of Ear Dermatitis in Dogs

  • Any dog can develop skin problems; Golden Retrievers, Gordon Setters, and Dachshunds appear to be at greater risk than other breeds
  • German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards and Golden Retrievers seem to be predisposed to developing acute moist dermatitis, also known as hot spots
  • Dogs living in hot humid climates, and long-haired breeds, are also at increased risk
  • Because the causes of dermatitis are so varied, there is really no way to accurately generalize about which breeds or mixed breeds are predisposed to developing skin irritation
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Diagnosis of Ear Dermatitis in Dogs

The veterinarian will do a complete physical of your pet, which usually includes a thorough skin and coat assessment, weight, body temperature, blood pressure, reflexes, pupil reaction time, pulse and respiratory rates, lung sounds, and oxygen levels. In addition, the veterinarian may do an intensive ear examination using an otoscope to get a good view of the inner ear canal. Your dog will likely be sedated for this procedure to prevent more pain and stress. At this time, the veterinarian will be able to get some skin scrapings and samples of the lesions for microscopic evaluation. These will be used for bacterial and fungal cultures as well to determine whether there is any kind of infestation involved. Other diagnostic tests include a complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, serum biochemistry analysis, and metabolic profile, needed to get a more definitive diagnosis.

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Treatment of Ear Dermatitis in Dogs

The cause of the dermatitis needs to be determined before a treatment plan can be made since there are different treatments for each type.

Allergy

Allergies can be treated with an antihistamine injection, but it may be the most complex to treat because you have to determine what your pet is allergic to, which may be difficult. The veterinarian may also send you to see a veterinary dermatologist for further allergy tests.

Cellulitis

Since this is caused by infection, the veterinarian will usually give your pet an injection of antibiotic.

Injury

An injury is treated depending on what caused the injury. A burn can be treated with burn cream, frostbite may need amputation, bug bites are treated with antiseptic and insect repellent cream, animal bites are usually treated with corticosteroids and antiseptic. All of these injuries will also need antibiotics to prevent or clear up infection.

Mange

There are two types of mange, which are sarcoptic and demodectic, and they are both extremely contagious so you have to keep your pet away from other pets. Afoxolaner, permethrin, ivermectin, selamectin, and sulfurated lime rinse are all effective treatments is the treatment, usually done a few times over several months.

Seborrhea

This disorder can be treated with mild soap and water and moisturizer, but it is a lifetime disorder so once you find a good treatment, stick with it.

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Recovery of Ear Dermatitis in Dogs

Prognosis is good since this disorder is more annoying than dangerous. If you are able to determine the cause after alleviating the itchiness and pain, you should continue to observe your pet to be sure. Some medications can have side effects, so be sure to ask your veterinarian what you should be watching for.

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Ear Dermatitis Average Cost

From 548 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,500

Average Cost

$300

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Ear Dermatitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Affenpinscher

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One Month

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Red dots in right ear and inflammation

Dec. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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2 Recommendations

From the photo, there is definite inflammatories and likely an infection. It must be quite uncomfortable. A vet should examine your dog and swab the ear to check for e.g. bacteria, yeast or mites. We can then issue the most appropriate medicine. The sooner this is done the better. I do hope this helps and wishing your dog all the best.

Dec. 27, 2020

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Pomchi

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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6 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Ear Itching

My dog has been incredibly itchy lately, really scratching at his ears until it makes him cry, but he’ll then do it again. I’m worried that he might have an ear infection or ear mites. He has also been very lazy for the last week or two. He hasn’t wanted to play much a lot.

Nov. 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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6 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It sounds like your dog may be suffering from an ear infection, I agree. Dogs can get ear infections, or parasites, and they do need specific treatment from a veterinarian. Since he sounds like he is so uncomfortable., the best thing to do would be to have him seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible, as they can examine him, see what might be going on, and get him treatment so that he is comfortable and happy again.

Nov. 23, 2020

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french b

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Ear Peeling

HI! Im hoping you guys can help me. I notice a week ago my french bulldog had something in her ear and it look like something sticky had dried on her fur on the back of her ear. So I tried to removed a little bit and the hair came out and after a few days another part came out and I wanted to know if its something I should worry about and if her fur is goin to grow back in that patch =(. Thank you for taking your time in reading this

Oct. 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

It seems like she may have had a little scab (or perhaps something sticky like dried mud) on hear ear. It is only normal that by pulling it off, the fur has come away too. This will grow back in 4-6 weeks. It is just like if you had shaved that little bit if fur off. The only time fur might not come back is if there is scar tissue but it doesn't sound like this is a possibility. All the best!

Oct. 30, 2020

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pitbull

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seven

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Ear Scab

Hi! My dog has dry skin on the inside of his ears and the the skin is scabbing. What can I do for this? I’ve use ear cleanser and they’re not dirty or infected.

Oct. 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. From the picture that you sent, it looks like your dog has an infection. These can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites, and there are specific medications that are needed to treat these infections. Since I cannot see your pet, it would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be causing this, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 13, 2020

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Boston Terrier

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

Red spots on chest and front legs, small areas of bald spots, scabby ears with hair loss on the outer ears.

Oct. 12, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them and see what might be going on, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 12, 2020

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princess

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Pitt lab mix

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Redness
Itching
Ear Scab

it started off as a mild annoyance to her but it eventually turned into bumps and started smelling which she started to scratch at she broke the skin which led to scabs on her ears

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Lola

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Shihpoo

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Dry,
Dry, Smelly
Dry, Smelly Ear

My wee Shitzhu cross has dry skin on one ear, and is slightly smelly. It’s not bothering her. I just noticed it when cleaning her ears. I put some emollient cream on the dry parts. Would appreciate your input. Thanks

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Harry

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Golden Doodle

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5 Years

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Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Itchy Skin And Ears

My golden doodle has been itching himself non stop. I think it’s because of the weather since we live in New York and maybe he had dry skin. I haven’t found any red patches on his skin, but I am very concerned. I don’t know what to do. He recently started itching his ears and a small part of the outer part of the ear is a bit red. What would you recommend?

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Rosie

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miniature dachshund

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss
Itching
Inflamation

My dog rosie initially started with small red bumps in her ear that itched her some, and they also would get inflamed. The inflammation was at random, and there was also crust like substance or scab like texture on the rim of her ears. I tried to see if it would get better soon, but it hasn’t, and it seems to have spread to her neck/chest area and her belly. On every spot she has, she seems to be losing some hair, and its red most of the time or is like dry skin (belly) or scabs from itching (neck/chest). I am planning on booking and appointment soon, but I really was hoping that I could get an explanation or thoughts, for whatever response will probably be quicker than I can book her an appointment.

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Rosie

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miniature dachshund

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss
Itching
Inflamation

My miniature dachshund Rosie started having some small bumps form on her ears a few months back and they seemed to get inflamed sometimes for no reason. This lead me to believe it wasn’t simple allergies, but I still was unsure what it was. I thought in time it would go away, but it hasn’t, and it seems to have spread. It’s on her neck/chest area, and has spread to her belly most recently. She’s losing hair, and there is a lot or “crust” and dried skin in the areas she has it, along with more red bumps or just red inflamed areas. She itches a lot, and my other dog does as well (however he has no bumps at all, which makes me think it isn’t mange). I plan on setting up a vet visit ASAP, but I really wanted to hear thoughts sooner than I’ll be able to book an appointment.

Ear Dermatitis Average Cost

From 548 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,500

Average Cost

$300

Protect yourself and your pet. Compare top pet insurance plans.

Compare Pet Insurance & Wellness Plans

Save up to $273 per year

Compare plans
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