Dog Goes Deaf After Ear Infection

A dog's complicated ear problem will require a specialist.

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Q. I have a 5-year-old mixed-breed dog who has had severe ear infections since birth. Each time he has had an ear flush and medication. He recently had a left ear infection with the same treatment. He awoke from the anesthesia just fine and actually better than ever before. Six hours later, he was severely ill, and I thought I would lose him. Now, he cannot hear out of either ear. Was it the sedation? We can’t tell if his eardrums are ruptured because my vet doesn't want to take the chance of another sedation. My vet is at a loss as to why he can’t hear anything from either ear. He's on antibiotics and seems to have pain in both ears. I’m at my wit’s end as to what to do next.

A. This sounds like a nightmare case. Your dog is suddenly deaf in both ears after being treated for an ear infection.
 
It's very possible that your dog’s eardrums were both already ruptured from the infections, and when medication was put in the ear it went down into the inner ear, where it can be toxic. Very few medications are safe to put into a dog’s ear if the eardrums are ruptured.
 
It can be difficult to determine if the eardrum is intact if the ear canals are very inflamed and narrowed. At this point, I would recommend asking about a referral to a specialist — inner ear disease can be very challenging to treat. Over time, the eardrum should grow back, but there may be some damage to the delicate mechanisms of the inner ear.
 
Hopefully your dog will regain full function of his ears. Some dogs have such severe problems with recurring ear infections that they require radical surgery to remove the entire ear canal. This may ultimately be the best solution for your dog since he's already deaf.
 
You may want to ask your veterinarian about prescribing a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to help control pain and swelling in your dog’s ear.
 
Good luck with this difficult problem.

Jon Geller, DVM


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Emily   Charleston, South Carolina

8/16/2016 8:19:52 PM

Thank you for posting this story. All dog owners should know the risks of basic ear drops that are commonly used. My beautiful Parson Russell Terrier, Sarah became totally deaf after one drop of ear medicine in each ear. I had no idea this was possible and had asked my vet about potential side effects - their answer was that the drug was common and no reported issues - this was not the case. I would never want any pet to have to go through the anxiety, fear and terrible after effects of losing hearing over damn ear drops. As a pet owner it is a horrible thing to disable your dog within seconds for the rest of their lives because of medication. I urge anyone researching this to not administer ear drops to their dogs.

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Carol   No.Haledon, New Jersey

5/18/2016 5:17:46 AM

I just took my dog to the vet 3 weeks ago for his nails to be clipped while we were there his said he had a mild yeast infection in his ear gave me Posatex to put in his ears 4 days later he was deaf called the company Merck they were very passive said some dogs get their hearing back after 3 months ( I hope this is true but I have my doubts ) reading up on this medication it can be toxic to the ears. Why they would even perscibe this is beyond me. Make sure you read about ALL medications before use. I don't know what we are planning to do but something will be done if he doesn't get his hearing back

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Pam   Houston, Texas

11/18/2014 8:13:48 PM

My maltese seemed perfectly healthy until we noticed his ears seemed infected. It turned out to be a yeast type of infection. After treating with antibiotic for 5 days, his hearing was dramatically diminished and he is almost deaf. After reading these comments, I'm convinced that is what happened to him. I stopped giving him vaccines many years ago. Thank goodness I have never had to board him.

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Martha   dallas, Texas

7/29/2013 9:31:05 PM

My vet treated my dog with a steroid in her ear for recurring yeast infections. Shortly after, lost all her hearing she's only 9. My 10 year old dog is deaf too and has had treatments for ear infections. I wish I had done some research before just becoming at the mercy of the vet. Next dogs I have will go to a holistic vet. I have read that vinegar and natural products can clear yeast infections. I hate that my babies are deaf. So sad.

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