I post many videos of abnormal, severely infected ears. I thought it might be good to post a video of a normal dog ear. This is a video of a dog that had one normal ear, and the other ear had a middle ear infection which we were flushing that day. It is not uncommon for a dog to have one ear that is prone to infections, and the other ear does not have any problems.
When examining a dog’s ear, I like to assess three things:
One, the ear canal. Describe it. It should be a smooth pink colored lined ear canal. In a dog with otitis, the ear canal will likely be inflamed. Estimate the otic inflammation, it may be to the point of narrowing or completely closing the ear canal. Make sure there is no growth like a tumor or polyp obstructing the ear canal. You also want to palpate the ear canal. Ear canal has cartilage and should be pliable. In chronic ear infections, the ear canal can thicken to the point of calcification.
Two, the ear drum. Is it present or not? The ear drum is a thin semitransparent membrane. It has two parts, the pars flaccida (a soft pink colored membrane that can look like a growth) and the pars tensa. Make note of any changes to the ear drum structure, is it cloudy? Or bulging?
Three, make note of the type of exudate or discharge in the ear and its amount. In a normal ear, you may see a small amount of waxy debris. In a dog with otitis, you may see excessive waxy odorous material or purulent (pus) discharge.
Keep these three assessment points in mind every time you evaluate an ear.
Veterinarians, I suggest you save this video of a normal ear in a dog. Although, there are variants of normal depending on the breed, you can use this video as reference to what a normal ear should look like.
Pet owners should save this video, so that you are armed with knowledge when your veterinarian is examining your pet’s ears.
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