Chronic ear problems are often associated with inflammation of the ear and can be caused by a number of different underlying diseases such as infections (bacterial or fungal), allergies, ear mites, endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism or tumors. The most common ear disorder is otitis externa, an inflammation of the outer ear. Dogs can also get middle and inner ear problems.  In fact, most cases (over 80 percent) of chronic or relapsing otitis externa also have middle ear inflammation (otitis media). This results from chronic inflammation of the external part of the ear canal, rupture of the tympanic membrane (ear drum) and establishment of infection in the middle part of the ear.

Chronic ear inflammation stimulates the proliferation of the skin lining the ear canal. As a consequence, thickening of the canal occurs and leads to narrowing of the canal. More importantly the skin is thrown into numerous folds, and this inhibits effective cleaning and the application of medications. These folds act as a site for the perpetuation and protection of secondary micro-organisms like bacteria. Long term treatment is necessary to help alleviate the symptoms of chronic ear problems.

Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:

  • Chronic ear problems are generally diagnosed by a thorough history, physical examination and complete ear exam including cytology. Culture and sensitivity of the ear discharge is often performed to determine the type of bacteria present and to help select the most appropriate antibiotic.
  • Treatment depends on the severity of the disease, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Pets with chronic ear problems are treated with antibiotics, both topically and orally, anti-fungal drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs and ear cleanings. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.


What to Watch for*:

  • Head shaking or scratching at ears
  • Foul odor from ears
  • Ear discharge
  • Head tilt

*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!

Dear Valued Clients

During these challenging times, there have been some unforeseen changes at The Big Easy Animal Hospital. I cannot express enough my sincere apology for any inconvenience you have experienced at The Big Easy during these times. As we strive to make the practice safe to protect everyone including you, your family, and our Big Easy team and their families, I’ve decided to make certain changes while we are under this pandemic. These changes will be temporary.


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday:
Walk Ins: Check-in starts at 9:45am.There are a limited amount of patients we can accept. Our receptionists will be happy to assist you with options to help guide you and your pet(s).)


Saturday Hours

Saturdays will be TECHNICIAN APPOINTMENTS only. These will include boosters, bloodwork, nail trims, certain diagnostics, etc. There will not be a veterinarian on site. While I understand these changes can be inconvenient, I have listed local veterinary clinics that we have contacted and are open to see walk-ins throughout the week and Saturdays as well. For life threatening emergencies that occur outside business hours, please contact the following 24-hour animal hospitals below.

Please, be safe and healthy.

Thank you all for your understanding. -Aileen Ruiz, DVM


24 Hour Emergency Care:


Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center

807 Camp Horne Road
Pittsburgh, PA



4224 Northern Pike
Monroeville, PA

VCA Castle Shannon Animal Hospital

3610 Library Road
Pittsburgh, PA

Veterinarians Accepting Walk in Care:

Penn Animal Hospital

2205 Penn Avenue

North Boros Veterinary Hospital

2255 Babcock Blvd



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