MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link
Professional Version

Aural Contact Dermatitis in Animals


Sandra Diaz

, DVM, MS, DACVD, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University

Reviewed/Revised Aug 2021 | Modified Oct 2022

Aural contact dermatitis commonly affects the concave aspect of the pinna, likely because it lacks hair. Topical ear medications, particularly those containing aminoglycosides and/or propylene glycol, are common causes in animals being treated for otitis externa. Lesions may develop 1–7 days after starting therapy. Contact dermatitis can also result from ointments applied transdermally to the concave aspect of the pinnae. Clinical signs include erythema, edema, papules that may coalesce and form plaques, erosions, and/or ulcerations. Pruritus and pain are variable. A definitive diagnosis can rarely be made, because drug challenge is not recommended. Discontinuation of all topical medications is the indicated treatment. Topical and/or oral corticosteroids may be used if the inflammation is significant. If treatment of otitis is to be continued, use a product with different active ingredients and vehicles.

For More Information

quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!