Most Common Causes of Otitis in Dogs and Cats

June 7, 2018

Stephen D. White, DVM, DACVD, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, explains the most common causes of otitis in dogs and cats.

Stephen D. White, DVM, DACVD, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, explains the most common causes of otitis in dogs and cats.

He says the most common cause of otitis is an underlying allergy, usually an environmental allergy (atopic dermatitis) or a food allergy. The next most common cause is a severe bacterial infection, such as pseudomonas. A less common cause of otitis—but one that is seen more often in older dogs and cats—is a neoplastic process, Dr. White says.

For dogs with acute otitis, Dr. White says the patient often just has a foreign body stuck in their ear, such as a spear or grass or a foxtail.