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J S Afr Vet Assoc. 2002 Dec;73(4):162-70.

Diagnosis and medical treatment of otitis externa in the dog and cat.

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Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110 South Africa.


Otitis externa is no longer viewed as an isolated disease of the ear canal, but is a syndrome that is often a reflection of underlying dermatological disease. Causes are classified as predisposing (increase the risk of otitis); primary (directly induce otitis), secondary (contribute to otitis only in an abnormal ear or in conjunction with predisposing factors) and perpetuating (result from inflammation and pathology in ear, prevent resolution of otitis). Common primary causes include foreign bodies, hypersensitivity (particularly atopy and food allergy), keratinisation disorders (most commonly primary idiopathic seborrhoea and hypothyroidism) and earmites, particularly in cats. A systematic diagnostic procedure is required to identify causes and contributing factors. This should include history, clinical examination, otoscopy and cytology in all cases and culture and sensitivity as well as otitis media assessment and biopsy in severe and recurrent cases. Ancillary tests may be required depending on the underlying cause. Treatment consists of identifying and addressing predisposing and primary factors; cleaning the ear canal; topical therapy; systemic therapy where necessary; client education; follow-up; and preventive and maintenance therapy as required.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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