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1154548 tn?1262213018

Busted eardrum?

Two of my dogs got into a fight.  The one dogs outter ear lobe was cut, maybe 3 cm, but there was visible blood inside the ear.  After using a washcloth and water I was able to clean all of the fluid, clear, dark brown and blood, I was unable to locate a cut in the outter ear.  She is currently being treated for an ear infection (dark brown fluid) with medication 3x a week. Several hours later, she is continuing to have a clear discharge and a horrible smell that is noticable by standing near her.  She is not showing any balance problems but is tilting her head.  I believe that is only due to the excessive fluids.  The swelling is also increasing making it more difficult to look with the naked eye.
2 Responses
931217 tn?1283481335
Dear itsAMY,

I am not sure what your question is. The external ear structure, what we call the "pinna" can be damaged without affecting the middle ear or inner ear structures. If a dog as an external ear infection (in the canals to the outside of the eardrum, again the middle and inner ear are not necessarily affected. If the ear drum ("tympanic membrane") is ruptured, then by definition if the external canal is inflamed or infected then so is the middle ear csvity. That cavity is not supposed to be exposed to the outside through the ear canal. The membrane when ruptured will usually regenerate if infection, inflammation or other disease processes are resolved. Often systemic (oral or injectable) antibiotics are necessary top resolve a middle ear and external ear infection situation. Head tilt may be due to either discomfort of fluid in external ear canal, middle ear cavity or more rarely the inflamation affecting the balance structures within the inner ear complex. A swollen external ear canal lining makes visualization of tympanic membrane and cleaning or medicating ear structures difficult down the canal. Thats also why systemic antibiotics and/or intiinflammatory medications are often necessary. Such treatment can be necessary for as long as 4 or even 6 weeks if the problem is of a longstanding nature. If the initial treatment plan is not working as explained then followup with your doctor sooner than initially recommended for possible plan change. Good luck! Happy New Year too....


Arnold L. Goldman DVM, MS
1154548 tn?1262213018
I apologize for the confusion with the question.  Currently my dog is being treated for an ear infection.  After the fight with the other dog, she has slept all day, now have extreme head tilting, no circling, no balance issues but pain is obvious.  I am concerned the eardrum was effected during the fight because the ear was full of fluid.  Both clear and the brown discharge.  I have never seen this amount of discharge within her ear and while sleeping, it continued to drain clear fluid.  When placing my hand on the base of the ear, closest to the head, she will yelp in pain.  
I reviewed several pieces of information regarding ruptured eardrums and am concerned this what has occurred from the fight.  I have also reviewed information that stated there are glands in both the outter and middle ear that could have been damaged in fight causing excessive fluid. Since the fight, I would say 1/2 a cup of clear fluid has come from her ear.
Do to the swelling I am unable to look within the ear, I feel that having my vet look at it would be the best step.  I also read that not much can be done for the eardrum but infection can quickly set in.
I thank you for your time and understand that it is much more difficult to "see" a problem through an email.
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