Dogs with canine atopy and food hypersensitivity dermatitis are predisposed to develop inflamed ears. In fact, ear involvement may be the only indication of an allergy. In dogs with ear allergies, an itch-scratch-itch cycle develops, resulting in excoriations, hair loss, scabs, and crusts about the ears. The ear canals are filled with a brown wax or, alternately, may appear very red, inflamed, and moist.
An allergic contact dermatitis can develop in ear canals that have been medicated with an ear preparation. The antibiotic neomycin is a frequent cause of this problem.
Treatment: Any underlying allergic skin disease must be treated to eliminate the ear symptoms. Treatment for itching involves the use of antihistamines and topical and oral corticosteroids. Discontinue any ear preparation that may be allergenic. An allergic otitis is often complicated by a bacterial or yeast infection that must also be treated.