Ear Infection in Bulldog and
Otitis In French Bulldogs

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs is common and is mostly due to the breed inherently abnormal narrow ear canal due to selective breeding. Your and other dog breeds ear canal cell migration and wax movement is a normal upward motion, in contrast, bulldogs and French bulldogs lack migration or even suffer from an abnormal reverse downward migration and wax movement. Finally, the breed propensity to allergies (food allergy, atopic environmental allergy ) compounds the problem (i.e. the itch, pain, and inflammation)

The main factors for the common bulldog chronic ear infection are the breed ear canal abnormal anatomy on one hand and the hypersensitivity to food allergen and the environment, on the other hand.

Ear infection in bulldogs can begin as early as a few weeks of age. You will typically note redness, rubbing, itching, strange odor, swell, discharge, and pain.  

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Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs MAINTENANCE:

Because bulldogs ears don’t self-clean like ours and another dog breed, early and frequent cleaning is the key to preventing your bulldog and french bulldog puppy ear infection, chronic pain,  needless discomfort and expensive Dr. exam and rx. Dr. Kraemer’s bully ear rinses and wipes are the ideal preventive and care kit.

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.

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs ANATOMY:

Your bulldog external ear canal starts vertically and then takes a sharp horizontal turn ending at the membrane (tympanic membrane). SEE DIAGRAM

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs STEP BY STEP:

  1. APPLICATION: Fill your bully ear canal to the top with a proper rinse making sure to coat the entire canal.
  2. 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, on the other hand, Q-tips should only be used for the top part and ear-flap folds  (pinna).
  3. TWISTING: Twist the cotton ball around and bring it up for inspection.
  4. INSPECTING: Don’t forget to survey the texture and color of the inner pinna (inner part leading to the canal).

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs PAIN:

Ear Infection in bulldogs and French bulldogs is painful, remember your pet feels pain just as you do. Treating Chronic or/and severe otitis should always include pain management, anti-inflammatories, topical otic rinses, ear cleansing wipes, ear flushing, and re-check visits with your veterinarian.

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs TREATMENT:

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs RULE OF THUMB:

  1. MAINTENANCE / PREVENTATIVE:  rinse and flush once or twice weekly.
  2. INFECTED EARS: In case of chronic or acute otitis with a persistent infection, consider rinsing daily or every other day with a rinse that has antiseptic properties like Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Yeasty Bully Antiseptic Ear Rinse.  This antiseptic flush could help control yeast and bacteria, it helps to prime the canal and enhancing the effectiveness of the topical otic Rx your veterinarian may have given you.
  3. WIPE: Use wipes and cotton ball to remove all the wax and debris like Dr. Kraemer’s V4B  Ear Cleanser WaxLess Wipes

Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs TIPS & WARNINGS: 

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs TIP #1 FISH OIL: Omega 3 EFA Fish Oil Like Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Bully EFA fish oil Joint-Skin-Immune Chews has good anti-inflammatory properties and might help reduce the otitis (inflammation).

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs TIP#2 FOOD ALLERGY: For chronic cases consider an 8-12 weeks trial of strict hypoallergenic diet (hydrolyzed or novel) to rule out food allergy.

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs TIP#3 ATOPIC ALLERGY: A allergen blood test can be done to rule out atopic allergies. Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs END STAGE

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs TIP#4 ANXIETY: 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.

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs TIP#5 ITCH: Otitis in bulldogs due to allergies do not always present with intense itch.

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs TIP#6 LASER: 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 enhance healing.

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs TIP#7 SKIN: Bulldogs Ears are an extension of their skin, thus skin allergies can extend to the ears.

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs TIP#8: 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

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs WARNING #1 ANTIBIOTIVCS: Oral antibiotics are not recommended for otitis externa; they are costly, not very effective, and in fact can lead to resistance. They should be avoided in most Bulldogs and french bulldog otitis externa cases.Bulldog and French Bulldog Ear Disease (Otitis). This is an end stage Ear canal after it was removed by Dr. Kraemer (Vet4Bulldog). This is the entire diseased ear canal (note the small “x” in the center of the top dark are showing where the opening of the ear canal used to be.)

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs WARNING#2 OTITIS MEDIA: 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.

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs WARNING#3 TECA: 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 a lateral bulla osteotomy (TECA w/LBO).

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs WARNING#4 SURGEON: 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 end up with neurological problems and/or a chronic draining tract. On the other hand, when done correctly by a skilled surgeon, your bulldog, and French Bulldog is going to be one happy dog thanking you for putting an end has been put to a miserably painful problem.

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs WARNING#4 ITCH: if you bulldog it 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.

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs WARNING #5 END STAGE: 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 form the disease and to ease your bulldog pain and suffering.

Ear Infection in Bulldog and Otitis In French Bulldogs WARNING #6 can also be due to a hormonal imbalance like hypothyroid and hyperadrenalism (Cushing syndrome), tumors, polyp, foreign body like foxtail, etc, but those are less common than the other leading causes mentioned above.  Your veterinarian should be able to determine which one of the above is most likely the underlining cause of your bulldog ear canal disease (otitis) by conducting lab tests and otoscopic exams.

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

Post Op total ear canal resection in a bulldog as captured by Dr. Kraemer (Vet4Bulldog). Note the drainage tube and the stutures

Post Op total ear canal resection in a bulldog as captured by Dr. Kraemer (Vet4Bulldog). Note the drainage tube and the sutures

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