Ear Infection in Bulldogs and Otitis In French Bulldogs

By: Dr. Roy Kraemer |
DVM, Bulldog Specialist Veterinarian

Dear Dr. Kraemer,

I’ve been dealing with an ongoing ear issue with my Bulldog, Max. Despite several rounds of treatment, his ear infection seems persistent, and I’m growing increasingly concerned.

Max frequently scratches at his ears, and shakes his head, and there’s a noticeable odor. Could there be an underlying cause that we’re missing? I’m worried about Max’s comfort and want to address this issue comprehensively. What steps can we take to understand and resolve Max’s ongoing ear troubles?

Your guidance has been invaluable in the past, and I trust your expertise in Bulldog health. 

Appreciate your time and advice.

Warm regards,
Joe and Lisa #MaxTheBulldog #OngoingEarInfection”

Ear infection in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs is common and is mostly due to the breed’s inherently abnormal narrow ear canal, which is amplified with selective breeding.

Bulldog Ear Infection 5 X MUST KNOW

  1. Bulldogs are prone to ear infections due to their inherent narrow ear canal and propensity to allergies
  2. They also suffer from poor upward cell migration and wax transcription.
  3. Without early prevention and treatment, the ear narrowing can become irreversible (end stage)
  4. Daily ear rinsing and wiping can prevent the infection and the end-stage disease
  5. Prevention and care include Dr. Kraemer’s Bulldog Ear Infection Otitis Bundles.

Members of this bulldog community prefer prevention over RX

Bulldog Ear infection Bundle - Ultimate

EAR CELL ABNORMAL MIGRATION

The ear canal mucosal cell migration and wax movement in humans and most dog breeds is upward. It’s like a conveyor belt that slowly transports the wax upward and out over days and weeks, maintaining a clean, acidic external ear canal.

Unfortunately, bulldogs and French bulldogs frequently lack normal upward movement and, at times, exhibit reverse downward migration.

Secondly, the bulldog ear canal is also inherently narrowed

Compounding those problems is the breed’s proclivity for allergies; ear disease is one of the most common diseases in the breed.

The breed  narrow ear canal on one hand and hypersensitivity to food  and environmental allergen, on the other hand predispose them to ear disease.

Ear infection in bulldogs can begin as early as a few weeks of age. 

Bulldog and French Bulldog Ear Infection PREVENTIVE CARE:

EARLY and FREQUENT:

Early and frequent cleaning, wiping, and flushing can help prevent:

  • Ear infections
  • Ear disease
  • Ear pain
  • Needless discomfort
  • $$$ Dr. exam
  • $$$ Treatment
  • $$$ RX
  • $$$$$ Surgery

Because bulldog ears do not self-clean we must do it for them.

Bulldog ear infection flushed with a bully therapeutic rinse

Dr. Kraemer’s Bully Ear Topical Therapeutics:

Dr. Kraemer’s Bully Ear Therapeutics Supplements:

Dr. Kraemer’s bully ear rinses and wipes are the ideal preventive and care kit, see HERE

Members of this community prefer prevention over RX

Remember, there is a learning curve to becoming an expert.

Repetition will help you recognize even minor changes from the norm.

Dr. Kraemer’s free “Bully Ear Maintenance Toolbox” includes articles, photos, diagrams, and videos.

v4b-yeasty-bulldog-antiseptic-ear-rinse

Ear Infection in Bulldogs and Otitis In French Bulldogs ANATOMY:

Your bulldog’s external ear canal starts vertically and then takes a sharp horizontal turn, ending at the eardrum (tympanic membrane).

SEE DIAGRAM 

Ear Infection in Bulldogs and Otitis In French Bulldogs

Ear Infection in Bulldogs Dr. Kramer’s  How To STEP BY STEP:

WIPING: Use the bully cleansing wipes to remove debris from the ear flap

APPLICATION: Fill your bully ear canal to the top with a proper rinse, making sure to coat the entire canal.

CLEANING: Take a cotton ball and stick it in as far as it will go using your fingers.

There’s no need to be scared; you can’t go past the curve of the canal and damage the eardrum with a finger or a cotton ball.

WARNING: On the other hand, Q-tips should only be used for the top part and ear-flap folds  (pinna).

TWISTING: Twist the cotton ball around and bring it up for inspection.

INSPECTION: Don’t forget to survey the texture and color of the inner pinna (inner part leading to the canal).

Bulldog Ear infection Bundle - Ultimate

Dr. Kraemer’s Bulldog Ear Infection PAIN:

Ear Infection in bulldogs and French bulldogs is painful, remember your pet feels pain just as you do.

Treating Chronic and severe otitis should always include

PAIN MANAGEMENT

ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES

It’s important to schedule a re-check visit with your veterinarian.

Bulldog Ear Infection CAUSE:

  • Allergies:
    • Food
    • Atopic
    • Contact
    • Fleas
    • Hypersensitivity
  • Narrow Ear Canal
  • Poor Cell Migration
  • Lack of Wax Upward Movement

WARNING:

Ear infections can also be due to less common causes, such as:

  • Hormonal imbalances like
    • hypothyroidism
    • hypoadrenalism (Cushing syndrome)
  • Tumors & polyps
  • Foreign bodies like foxtail.
  • Ear Mites

Bulldog and French Bulldog Ear Infection PRESENTATION:

  • Exudative Discharge
  • Swollen Ear
  • Ulcerative and crusty
  • Smelly
  • Painful to touch
  • Itchy
  • Stenotic hypertrophic ear canal
  • END STAGE: closed, fibrous, calcified, and ossified canal

bulldog end stage infected ear disease abcess

 

Bulldog and French Bulldog Ear Infection DIAGNOSIS:

Dr. otoscopic exam: r/o polyps, mass and tympanic membrane

Cytology: bacteria, yeast, inflammatory cells, abnormal cells

Culture: to identify the bacteria and the best antibiotic to treat it

Imaging: Less common (radiographs, endoscopes, MRI, CT)

Ear Infection in Bulldogs and Otitis In French Bulldogs TREATMENT:

Most times, only topical treatment is required.

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Bulldog Therapeutic Topicals

EAR RINSE:

  • V4B Bully WaxLess Ear Rinse
  • V4B Bully Yeasty Bully Antiseptic Ear Rinse

CLEANSING WIPE:

  • V4B Bully  Ear Cleansing Wipes

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Bulldog Therapeutic Supplements

Dr. Kraemer’s bully ear infection affordable bundles, see HERE

Members of this community prefer prevention over RX

EAR RX:

  • Topical Ear Medication: antibacterial, Antifungal

PAIN RX:

Pain Control Medication

NON-RX PAIN RELIEF:

  • Cold Laser Therapy
  • Pulse Electromagnetic Therapy

OTHER RX:

Anti Inflammatory and itch control

Ear Infection in Bulldog  TIPS & WARNINGS: 

Ear Infection in Bulldog FISH OIL TIP:

Omega 3 EFA Fish has good anti-inflammatory properties and might help reduce otitis (inflammation).

Bulldog Ear Infection FOOD ALLERGY TIP:

For chronic cases, consider an 8–12-week trial of a strict hypoallergenic diet (hydrolyzed or novel) to rule out underlying bulldog food allergy.

Bulldog infectious otitis / ATOPIC ALLERGY TIP:

An allergen blood test can be done to rule out atopic allergies.

Bulldog infectious otitis ANXIETY TIP:

For non-cooperative and high-anxiety bulldogs, I suggest you ask your vet to prescribe an “encouragement RX” in the form of a prescribed tranquilizer.

This should help to prevent injuries to both pet and owner, reduce stress, and minimize pain.

That way you are assuring a proper flushing and treatment application as well as a safe way for you to monitor therapeutic progress or lack thereof.

You can also try a natural stress relief non-RX like Dr. Kraemer’s

Bulldog hemp relax for ear infection

Ear Infection in Bulldog ITCH TIP:

Otitis in bulldogs due to allergies might require allergy itch control medication.

  • Cortisone
  • Antihistamines
  • Cytopoint

Bulldog and French Bulldog Ear Infection LASER THERAPY:

I highly recommend class 4 cold laser which I use daily in my practice as part of the short and long-term therapy and control of ear disease in bulldogs.

Laser Therapy is inexpensive, has no adverse effects, helps in reducing swelling and pain, and enhances healing.

Ear infection in bulldog and French Bulldog Laser

Bulldog and French Bulldog Ear Infection / SKIN TIP:

Bulldog’s Ears are an extension of their skin, thus skin allergies can extend to the ears.

Bulldog and French Bulldog Ear Infection / SINGEL EAR TIP:

Bulldog and French bulldog atopic dermatitis are rooted in the breed genes. It’s easy to come to the erroneous conclusion that if only one ear is the effect it can not be triggered by an allergy.

It is entirely possible that your bulldog will suffer from allergy-related otitis external in just one single ear

BULLDOG EAR INFECTION WARNINGS:

Ear Infection in Bulldog / ORAL ANTIBIOTICS WARNING:

Oral antibiotics are not recommended for otitis externa; they are costly, not very effective, and in fact, can lead to resistance.

Systemic antibiotics should be avoided in most bulldogs otitis externa cases.

Ear Infection in Bulldog / OTITIS MEDIA WARNING:

Otitis Media in bulldogs (middle ear infection) can occur in chronic cases or/and with ear polyps and tumors.

In those cases, we also might see neurological problems like head tilt, twitchy eyeballs, circling, ataxia (wobbly), and nausea.

Your vet might recommend diagnostic imaging like X-ray, CT, or MRI.

Bulldog Ear Infection  / SURGERY WARNING:

If your vet is recommending a partial ear resection for what looks like end-stage stenotic ears, I suggest you seek a second opinion, When surgery is the only remaining option, it is most likely that your bulldog will need a total ablation with bulla osteotomy (TECA w/BO).

Bulldog Ear Infection  / SURGEON WARNING:

Bully total ear canal resection (TECA) is a very technical surgery, thus I recommend that you seek an experienced specialist to perform it.

In most bulldog end-stage ear cases the ear anatomy is completely distorted. There are also vital nerves and vessels to avoid, and the bulla needs to be scraped clean, leaving no bacteria behind. In the wrong hands, your bulldog puppy might have neurological problems and/or a chronic draining tract.

On the other hand, when done correctly by a skilled surgeon, your bulldog is going to be one happy dog thanking you for putting an end to a miserably painful problem.

Bulldog TECA Surgery

Bulldog and Bulldog Infectious Otitis / ITCH WARNING:

If your bulldog is rubbing and scratching its ear, start some itch RX and place a protective buster collar.

The scratching can traumatize the ear pinna vessels leading to an “Aural Hematoma” (i.e. big blood pooling in the pinna) that usually needs to be surgically repaired.

In addition, scratch irritates the ear canal epithelial cells causing swelling and ulcers.

Bulldog ear infection HEMATOMA

 

Bulldog Ear Infection END STAGE DISEASE:

The vicious cycle of chronic infection (yeast and bacteria), and inflammation (itch, swell, redness, and pain) can tragically lead to an irreversible state of first fibrosis and then calcification, mineralization, ossification (forming into bone) of the cells lining the ear canal.

When bone replaces normal epithelium, total ear canal ablation (TECA) with lateral bulla osteotomy (LBO) becomes the only viable alternative to rid the ear of the disease and ease your bulldog’s pain and suffering.

The Members of This Community Prefer “Prevention Over RX”

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*This guide was compiled courtesy of Dr. Kraemer, a “must-read” manual for any current or future bully owner

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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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