Ear: otitis externa / otitis media

Vetlexicon Equis ISSN: 2398-2977 Canis logo

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now for a 30 day trial or log in


  • Diseases of the external ear canal (otitits externa) of the horse are not as common as in small animals.
  • Cause : several diseases, however, can cause ear disease.
  • Primary causes of otitis include atopic dermatitis  [Skin: atopy]  , black fly bites, insect hypersensitivity, eg Culicoides    , and ticks. Less commonly food allergy    , Psoporptic mange    and vasculitis    have been reported to induce ear disease. 
  • Otitis externa secondary to otitis media has also been reported in horses and appears to have an insidious course.
  • Signs : exudate, crusting, pruritus, ear rubbing, head tossing/weaving.
  • Diagnosis : cytological examination of exudates, otoscopic exam, endoscopy. 
  • Treatment : fly control, food trials, anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics.
  • Prognosis : depends on underlying cause.


Clinical signs

  • Exudates.
  • Crusting.
  • Ulcers.
  • Pruritus.



  • Depends on underlying cause.
Sorry, we couldn't find that content.
Let us know and we'll sort this out.