ISSN 2398-2985      

Otitis externa/media/interna

6guinea pig

Synonym(s): Ear infection


Introduction

  • Inflammation and/or infection of the external ear (canal, pinna - otitis externa), middle ear (otitis media) or inner ear (otitis interna).
  • Cause: bacterial or yeast. Unilateral disease: trauma (to pinna, to nerves from dental disease), neoplasia, foreign body.
  • Signs: head tilt/torticollis, swelling, discharge.
  • Diagnosis: otic examination, ear flushing, cytology, radiography, CT, MRI, bloodwork, myringotomy, culture and sensitivity of nasal discharge, biopsy of mass(es) if found.
  • Treatment: lavage ear canal(s); in severe cases of torticollis, head tilt, it may be necessary to prop the guinea pig in between rolled towels to maintain normal posture; antibiotics, analgesia, anxiolytics if vestibular signs/seizures, surgery.
  • Prognosis: good for otitis externa; guarded for media/interna.
Print off the Owner factsheet on Ear disease to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Definition: inflammation and/or infection of the external ear (canal, pinna - otitis externa), middle ear (otitis media) or inner ear (otitis interna).
  • Bacterial:
  • Yeast:
    • Malassezia spp.
    • Candida spp.
  • Unilateral disease:
    • Trauma (to pinna, to nerves from dental disease).
    • Neoplasia Neoplasia overview.
    • Foreign body.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Otitis externa: trauma to pinna may occur from bites or scratches particularly if two adult males housed together, or two adult females in estrous. Overcrowding can also lead to this.
  • Upper respiratory infections may alter goblet cells and contribute to damage to eustachian tubes, leading to ascension of bacteria and secondary otitis.
  • Immunosuppression due to stress, concurrent disease, corticosteroid use increases the susceptibility to infection by pathogens or commensal organisms.

Specific

  • Vitamin C deficiency Vitamin C deficiency can lead to increased susceptibility to bacterial infections likely due to immunocompromise.

Pathophysiology

  • Infection is frequently the result of extension of disease from the nasopharyngeal region via the Eustachian tube. Or it can be from extension of disease from the external ear.
  • The middle ear extends from the tympanic membrane to the inner ear and includes the Eustachian tube.
  • The inner ear is defined as the cochlea and vestibular system, which compose the bony labyrinth.
  • Otitis interna can also be caused by hematogenous spread from systemic infections.

Timecourse

  • Otitis externa tends to be acute to chronic.
  • Otitis media/interna are considered to be chronic conditions.

Epidemiology

  • Trauma to the pinna and ear canal can be inflicted from cage mates.
  • Otitis is not considered a contagious disease syndrome.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Capello V (2006) Radiographic anatomy of the guinea pig skull. Exotic DVM 8 (4), 27-30.
  • Boot R, Walvoort H C (1986) Otitis media in guinea pigs: pathology and bacteriology. Lab Anim 20 (3), 242-248 PubMed.
  • Wagner J E, Owens D R, Kusewitt D F et al (1976) Otitis media of guinea pigs. Lab Anim Sci 26 (6 Pt 1), 902-907 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Hawkins M G & Bishop C R (2012) Disease Problems of Guinea Pigs. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier. pp 295-310.
  • Antinoff N (2011) Otitis media and interna. In: Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal. Ed: Oglesbee B L. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 298-300.

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