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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Otitis Media and Interna in Horses

By T. Mark Neer, DVM, DACVIM, Professor and Hospital Director, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University ; Michele R. Rosenbaum, VMD, DACVD ; Patricia D. White, DVM, MS, DACVD

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Inflammation of the middle ear structures (otitis media) is usually due to extension of infection from the external ear canal or to penetration of the eardrum by a foreign object. Spread of infection by means of blood to these areas is possible but rare. The signs of otitis media are similar to those of otitis externa (see Otitis Externa in Horses).

Inflammation of the middle ear may lead to inflammation of the inner ear structures (otitis interna). This can in turn lead to loss of balance and deafness.