Otitis media is an inflammation of the structures of the middle ear. It generally occurs secondary to otitis externa, an inflammation of the outer ear canal.
Many clinical symptoms associated with otitis media are similar to those seen in otitis externa. Head shaking, ear rubbing, and foul smelling discharge are common to both. Symptoms more specific (but not always present) to otitis media include: head tilt, drooping upper lip, depression and fever.
If otitis media is suspected, general anesthesia is usually required to perform a thorough otoscopic examination. Bacterial cultures, x-rays, and blood tests can also aid in the diagnosis.
Initial treatment for otitis media involves flushing of the infected ear canal. Antibiotics are generally administered for a prolonged period of time.
Surgery may be required for animals that are unresponsive to medical treatment.