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Pet Ear Medication


How to put medication in my pet's ears?

My pet won’t let me touch his ears. How can I treat them if I can’t touch them?



This all depends on if the infection is being caused by the same pathogen as the last ear infection. Chronic ear infections are often a symptom of a more serious condition. This means that even if you use a previously prescribed medication and see superficial results you may not be treating the underlying condition and this can be very harmful to our pet. It is always advisable to call your veterinarian for advice before using any medication in the ear.



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Why is the medication that my pet has been prescribed not working?



Sometimes the medication is ineffective because it is not the proper medication for the cause of the problem. This is why diagnostic testing is so important.

In many cases the ears are not completely clean when medication is applied. Even if a small amount of bio film is left in the ear an infection can survive and recur.

Most ear medication is contained in non-transparent bottles in order to protect the contents from light exposure. It can be difficult to tell when the bottle is empty so it is not uncommon for pet owners to think they have applied medication when the bottle is actually empty.

It is important to apply ear medication to the right place in the ear. Often times the right place is deep into the ear canal. Many owners are afraid of hurting their pet and so they do not insert the tip of the applicator far enough into the ear to get the medication to the right place. Some pets have very long ear canals, making this process even more of a challenge.



Family communication can be an issue. We have found that sometimes one family member thinks another family member is medicating the pet’s ears when they are not. This inconsistent treatment does not help to eliminate the infection.

Treatment length can be an issue. When the treatment course is not long enough, or if it is cut short by the owner, the medication will be less effective.



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How to put medication in my pet's ears?

After your pet’s veterinarian performs the appropriate diagnostics and determines the proper treatment for your pet’s condition they may send home medication that needs to be applied into your pet’s ears on a regular basis. Correct application of medication into the ear is very important and if done incorrectly could lead to further problems. It is always best to thoroughly review how to apply ear medication with your veterinarian during your pet’s exam.


Here are a few pointers that may help:


  • The medication needs to be deposited to where the infection is in the ear. This means that if the infection is deeper in the ear canals applying the medication to the pinna (outside on the ear) will not help.
  • Large breed dogs tend to have very long ear canals so getting the medication to the correct spot can require special attention.

    1. Lift the ear
    2. Insert the tip of an applicator and lower the ear along with applicator
    3. Deposit the medication

  • Smaller breed dogs tend to have smaller ear canals so care should be given not to insert the medication applicator too deep into the ear.

    1. Lift the ear so that the ear canal is straight
    2. Insert the applicator all the way: Do not lower the ear after inserting the applicator
    3. Deposit the medication



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My pet won’t let me touch his ears. How can I treat them if I can’t touch them?



Some pets just don’t like their ears touched at all. This could be because of a prior experience that frightened them or due to pain. Ear problems can range from uncomfortable to extremely painful. You may not be able to see the problem from the outside and sedation may be needed in order to properly evaluate the inside of the ear.



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