What Does an Ear Infection Look Like Through an Otoscope

An ear infection is one of the more common afflictions that can befall our furry friends. With every season comes a new set of dangers for our pets, especially with regard to their ears. When your dog is prone to getting ear infections, it becomes even more important to prevent them from happening again! 

What does an ear infection look like through an otoscope? An otoscope is a medical instrument used to view the inside of the nose and ears. It consists of a light and lens that magnify what you see when you look into someone’s nostrils or ear canal.

With an ear infection, your pet may begin to shake their head frequently or scratch at their ears frequently. Take them in for a checkup if you notice these red flags!

What Does an Ear Infection Look Like Through an Otoscope?

When dogs get an ear infection, their ears become red, swollen, and painful. They may also be itchy and have a foul odor. Infections can also spread from the ear canal to the skin around the ear, causing hair loss and scabbing.

In severe cases, the infection can spread to the pet’s skull and brain, so it’s important to get any infection treated as quickly as possible. 

Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria, yeast, or a combination of both. A veterinarian can tell you which type your dog has based on the color, smell, and amount of ear discharge. Ear mites can also cause an ear infection.

Ear mites are tiny parasites that feed on the wax and skin inside a dog’s ear. They lay their eggs inside the ear, and the larvae crawl out to feed on the dog’s blood.

Ear Infection
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Dog Ear Mites

Ear mites can be very itchy and lead to a bacterial ear infection if they’re not treated promptly. Although they can affect both cats and dogs, they are more common in dogs because they are often under less frequent grooming and cleaning than cats. 

Ear mites are very easy to treat with medicine, but it’s important to start the treatment early before an infection sets in. Ear mite eggs can live for up to six weeks outside of the host, so it’s important to clean your pet’s ears regularly to prevent infection.

Bacterial Ear Infection

The most common type of ear infection is caused by bacteria that thrive in moist, dark areas like the ear canal. The most common bacteria behind ear infections are Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas. 

Ear infections happen when there is too much moisture in the ears, so they’re very common in dogs that swim frequently or have very wet ears. Ear infections are also common in dogs with curly or long fur that covers their ears.

Viral Ear Infection

A viral ear infection is caused by one of a few viruses, the most common being the canine distemper virus. It’s important to know the difference between a viral and bacterial ear infection since the treatment for each is quite different. 

A bacterial ear infection is treated with antibiotics, but viral infections are not responsive to antibiotics. Other viruses that can cause ear infections include parvovirus, canine herpes virus, and canine adenovirus.

Treating an Ear Infection in Dogs

If your dog has an ear infection, the first thing your vet will do is clean the ear canal and look for signs of external ear mites. They may also take a sample of the ear discharge to test for bacteria or viruses. 

If the infection is bacterial, your vet will prescribe antibiotics. If the infection is viral, they will prescribe supportive care to soothe your dog’s symptoms. Viral infections often resolve on their own without treatment, but your vet will help your dog manage their pain while they wait for the infection to clear up.


Ear infections are common in dogs, and it’s important to be able to recognize the signs so you can get your pet the treatment they need quickly. A veterinary exam can help you determine whether your dog has an ear infection, and what type it is. If your dog has recurring ear infections, your vet may recommend cleaning their ears more frequently with a special cleaning solution.

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