The most common disorder of the ear canal in older dogs is called otitis externa. This condition occurs when the layer of cells that line the external ear canal becomes inflamed. Signs include headshaking, odor, redness of the skin, swelling, scratching, increased discharge, and scaly skin.
The ear canal may be painful or itchy depending on the cause or duration of the condition. One or both ears can be affected, and signs can be sudden or long term. There can be many possible causes of otitis externa. Some (such as parasites, foreign objects, and allergies) appear to directly cause the inflammation, while others (such as certain bacteria, yeasts, or a middle ear infection) perpetuate the condition. To complicate things further, the shape or form of the pinnae or ear canals can predispose dogs to developing otitis externa.
Identifying these factors is key to successful control of the inflammation and unless all the causes are identified and treated, the condition may return. The best person to determine these causes and appropriate treatment is a veterinarian. However, once diagnosed, the successful treatment has traditionally been up to you the owner.
Successful treatment of canine otitis externa has traditionally relied on good owner compliance, requiring multi-dose administration of medication at home. A recent survey revealed however that most dog owners thought administering an ear medication twice daily for up to 14 days at home would be difficult or even impossible (Dog Owner Compliance Evaluation, June 2019, Bayer Market Research, 2019).
There is a new treatment on the market called Neptra. For the treatment of acute otitis externa in dogs and the first otic solution to be administered in one single dose by the vet. Provided as a 1 mL pre-measured dose, suitable for all breeds and sizes, Neptra by Elanco offers complete control over compliance in the treatment of otitis externa.