A Guide to Canine Ear Infection Medication

There are various causes of a canine ear infection. Dog ears can be infected with yeast, bacteria or mites, along with other less common parasites. Sometimes there is no obvious cause for a canine ear infection. Canine ear infections can be short-lived and easy to treat, but they may also become chronic and require intensive therapies. The correct treatment depends on the cause and severity of the infection. Some very effective medications are available over the counter, while others will require a prescription.

Over the Counter Medications for Mild Ear Infections

For mild yeast, bacterial, viral infections of the ear, your vet may first suggest Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution with hydrocortisone. It treats the external ear for acute (short-lived, intense) and chronic (long-lasting, hard to get rid of) inflammation. It is also available without hydrocortisone. You can purchase this medication over the counter, without a prescription.

To use Zymox, apply enough to fill the dog's ear canal. Massage the dog's ear gently, allowing the medication some time to penetrate where it is needed. Permit the pet to shake his or her head to remove excess medication after you administer it; consider taking your dog outside for treatment. You must not Zymox with other topical ear medications or cleaning solutions.

Oral Medication to Treat Bacterial Infections

For strictly bacterial infections, your veterinarian might prescribe an oral medication. In most cases this will be Baytril, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. An animal receiving Baytril should be watched for side effects, including allergic reactions. Difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling of any part of the face, and itchy bumps known as hives are all allergic reactions. If any of them occur, discontinue the medication immediately and call your veterinarian's office. Less serious side effects include loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting or drowsiness. If you observe these, call your veterinarian to find out how to proceed.

Ointments and Creams Administered with a Tube

Otomax is a combination of antimicrobial, corticosteroid and antifungal components. It can treat acute and chronic ear infections whether they are caused by yeast or bacteria. Your veterinarian must prescribe it for your dog.

Panolog is also used to treat canine ear infections and inflammation. Panolog is available in cream and ointment formulations. It combines anti-itching, antimicrobial, antifungal, and corticosteroid drugs in one compound. It is helpful for bacterial and yeast-induced infections, and is also used in the treatment of canine skin conditions. Like Otomax, Panolog requires a prescription.

One other medication your veterinarian might prescribe is Tritop. In addition to its antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, Tritop provides topical pain relief.

Ointments and creams for canine ear infections come in tubes, and are administered by inserting the tube a small distance into the dogs outer ear, using caution to avoid injuring the dog's ear canal and eardrum. You should not insert the tube deeply into the ear. Squeezing the tube releases a small amount of medication, which you should gently massage into your dog's ear. As with other ear medications, your dog may shake his or her head vigorously after administration. This is expected and does not mean the medication will not work.

Drops Can Quickly Treat Dog Ear Infections

In some cases, Tresaderm ear drops will be prescribed by your veterinarian. The drops are easy to administer directly into the ear, and the medication works quickly, in a week or less, to resolve infections and inflammation.

Treatments for Ear Mites

Ear mites are diagnosed by examination of discharge from the ear under a microscope. If found, they can be treated with 0.1% Ivermectin. To prevent the recurrence of ear mites, a dog should receive systemic anti-parasite treatment. These are usually administered topically and prevent infestation by fleas, ticks, or mites, or some combination of those. Popular and effective brands include Revolution, Advantage and Frontline.