Natural Remedies

Sudden Deafness In Rat Terrier After Ear Infection And Teeth Cleaning Treatment

Posted by Linda (Chicago) on 03/08/2015

I have a 14 y/o Rat Terrier named Wishbone. She has a Grade 3/4 Heart Murmur and has been on the lowest dosage possible of Vetmedin and Enalapril for her Congestive Heart Failure (which she shows no symptoms of since starting the medication). She is fed a raw diet (Stella & Chewy's) and is allergic to any type of bird...chicken, duck, goose, pheasant, etc..but we seem to do okay with beef or lamb. We do leave a small handful of kibble available to her between feedings to eat at her leisure if she is hungry...she rarely touches it, but sometimes she does. She gets raw carrot chips as treats, and the occasional apple slice.

She has had a recurrent lip infection for about 3 years...we treat it with antibiotics (she won't let us "wash" her face after eating..or..ever for that matter) and it clears it up, only to return weeks later. She seemed to be having some issues drinking her water or eating the kibble and carrots, so we agreed with the vet that a teeth cleaning would allow him the chance to get a good luck at her mouth, gums and lip. She was put on Clindamycin for 5 days before the cleaning, during which time she developed a minor ear infection.

We dropped her off and asked the vet to take a look at her ears while she was sedated (they used isoflurane gas, and kept her on oxygen due to her heart issues, and also a heart monitor during the procedure). Her teeth cleaning went well, she was sedated for 22 minutes total, and they put an OtiPack E (Enrofloxacin + Ketoconazole + Triamcinolone in a lanolin base) in each ear. She had a yeast infection in one ear, and some bacteria in the other, so this would take care of both. She doesn't let us put drops in her ears, so this is designed to slowly melt over 7-10 days...over which time her hearing may be muted or lost temporarily, until the medication is fully dissolved.

When we brought her home, she was still reeling from all of the meds (sedative to calm her...narcotic painkiller just in case), but the next morning, she was normal...except she was completely deaf. I expected it, from the OtiPack E.

Seven days later, still completely deaf. I called the vet, and he said it was normal with an Otipack and to give it another week.

Two weeks later, still deaf. He asked that we bring her in. There was traces of the medication left, her ears & eardrum looked excellent. They flushed her ears to eliminate the remaining traces of Otipack, but still completely deaf.

They told us they have no idea why it happened. Nothing in the Otipack is toxic to the ears, nor is any of the meds they used for her teeth cleaning. Her eardrums were intact when he first put the otipack in. We all fear her hearing loss is permanent. He contacted the pharmacy that makes Otipack E and they said they have no reports of permanant hearing loss, tho they do have rare reports of hearing loss that lasts 4 to 6 weeks, but no one understands why it happens.

Is there anything I can try...herbal remedies, vitamins...that may help. Perhaps something specific to the auditory or neurological systems?

She seems to be adapting well to her loss of such an important sense...I, on the other hand, am heartbroken for her!

Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn

Hey Linda!

I was stumped also when I read your account of hearing loss in your rattie after using what appears to be an excellent product. However after doing some googling it would appear that an allergic reaction to the Enrofloxacin [Baytril] in the Oti-Pack can cause hearing loss. In addition the Clindamycin is also an ototoxin and one side effect is hearing loss.

The ototoxins cause deafness by killing hair cells in the inner ear; there appears to be no conclusion on if the hairs grow back or not - but I say no harm in trying by clearing the toxins from the body, so if the hairs *can* regrow they will have a fertile field, so to speak.

A couple of things come to mind. It may be helpful to google 'neurotoxin flush' to see a wider range of ideas, but I would not hesitate to start with activated charcoal and/or bentonite clay. My first go to is the activated charcoal and you can find it in neat capsule form at your health food store, or in messy bulk form online or at the health food store as well. If you use the powder it is messy and will turn everything black! But it mixes well into a wet/canned food and pets do not mind it. I would do 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per meal am and pm and do this for 2 weeks to see if there is any improvement.

Please keep us posted!

Replied by Marci

Linda: Did you try any treatments or did your dog's hearing come back? The same exact thing has happened to my 10.5-year-old cocker spaniel after receiving the Oti-Pack E treatment. I'm so upset and looking for any answers. Hopefully Wishbone regained her hearing. Please provide an update for those of us in the trenches!! Thanks

Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn

Hey Marci and Linda!

I am so upset upon hearing your stories. What is particularly troubling is that internet searches show numerous complaints by pet owners who have had this product administered by veterinarians that resulted in deafness and drastic hearing loss, and various veterinary clinics have posted replies all saying "We have used this for years with out any problems! It must be safe - maybe your dog had another issue that was undiagnosed..."

Vet clinics listen up: There is a problem with this product. It is causing hearing loss in pets. Please advise your clients of this potential side effect and get permission before you administer it to your clients pets.

Off to tell my own vet now - thank you both for sharing your stories.

Replied by Melissa
Kansas City

I have a 13yr old Chihuahua named Pally and he has suffered sudden and total hearing loss after being taken to the vet for an ear infection.

The infection was in 1 ear, he could most definitely hear prior to the visit, and the vet opted to put the Otipkack E in both ears to be safe.

It took about a week for me to realize he was 100% deaf. He can't even hear me whistle next to his head. I took him back to the vet and they were helpful, flushed his ears to make sure nothing was compacted that could be affecting his hearing but nothing. I had a perfectly healthy best friend, that is now deaf. I feel terrible. He seems to struggle on our walks, he's a little unsure of himself now....he get's under my feet all the time because he doesn't seem to know when I'm right on top of him. He startles all the time because things surprise him.

I didn't really have anything to add other than I wanted to document that I, too, believe this medicine, Otipack E caused my pets total deafness.

He had used the traditional Otimax before, the vet just said this would be easier. How I regret that decision now. Poor Pally.

Replied by Om
Hope, Bc Canada

Hello, Melissa (Kansas City) ---

So sorry to hear about poor Pally's predicament. I wish everybody did research before giving pharma meds to anyone. My suggestion is two things:

Gotu Kola powder. It is a famous remedy that also improves hearing acuity. I would give the tea with a little honey. It also helps with anxiety.

Pure olive or sesame oil with garlic clove steeped in it. Warm drops before bed or also in day time. Natural doctors use this for children.

I feel so sorry. Don't give up and give about five times a week with some breaks. Three drops would be enough. Massage the bone behind the ear (tympanic). Talk to him soothingly even though he does not hear. Bless you.

Namaste Om

Kay West
Carmel Ca

I took my beloved Maltese baby to the vet for a skin condition and he said he had some build up in his ears and gave me an ointment of panalog, conofite and cerumen for 6 days (with flushing every 3 days). After 6 days I noticed hearing issues. He went from a 10 in hearing down to about a 2. The vet said he never saw this happen before and gave him steroids which brought it back to about a 5. I tried acupuncture (which worked on my ears when I temporarily lost hearing) but didn't work for him. I believe the nerve/hairs are damaged in his canal. Has anyone found any solutions?

Replied by Cindy

I took my 12 yr old chinese crested in the moment I saw her shaking her head. The vet said she had ear infection in both ears. They did the bnt ear packing. It has been almost 2 months and her hearing never came back. She had no hearing problems before, nor did she have a history of ear infections. The vet called the pharmacy. They said it was possible for up to 6 weeks. The vet also cleaned her ears twice. What makes twice as bad, is that she is blind. Otherwise she is healthy and eats well. My heart is broken for her. I wish I knew what to do.

Replied by The Pet Psychic

Have your dog adjusted my a chiropractor. It's possible that they knocked out your dog's atlas and that is causing the deafness.


My dog was brought in for a yearly "well' visit. He is a 10 year old Shi-Tzu (only eats Stella & Chewy raw beef diet, not grains or chicken) and has been in pretty good health (with minor/chronic ear infections). His eyes and hearing have been waning a little but nothing serious.

The doctor recommended the Otipak for his ears commenting how remarkable it has worked for other dogs (and my vet has always been reserved with recommendations), so I was eager to try this.

BIG MISTAKE!! My dog came home and was miserable, wouldn't eat, drink and was wheezing while trying to sleep.

Brought him back to next day because the doctor wanted to get out the meds since it was bothering him. He was given a shot of water under the skin to prevent dehydration (good idea)...

My dog 12 lbs. by the way is the smallest dog he's administered this med.

Well, when I got home, my dog's eyes were having rapid movement side to side and he was walking into walls and leaning his head to the right (horrible),,, VERTIGO probably caused by the overzealous cleaning of his ears (and hopefully not a ruptured eardrum).

NOW he gets "startled" because he can't hear very well now~~I HOPE this isn't permanent. And his vision seem way off..

Maybe this medicine is better for much bigger dogs and not canines under 20 lbs~their bodies are too delicate to absorb this medicine..MY OPINION..

WE are brokenhearted seeing this occur.

Replied by Melissa

Hello, was wondering if your dog's hearing ever returned. Here is why these drugs are toxic to dog ears.

Replied by Leslie

WOW so I am so glad I found this post, I know it was in 2015 so I don't know if anyone will read this or reply but did ANYONE have a dog that this happened to and they had their hearing come back. I have a 16 almost 17 year old pom mix who had this drug and now is deaf. We were not warned of the possibility of that or we would not have let them use it on him. I am almost enraged at this point because if all these cases were reported to vets nation wide we should have been warned what could happen before they treated him.

Replied by Veronica Mcg
Los Angeles

My 12 year old Havanese had this horrible medication put in his ears this week for a very mild infection (if one at all) and he is now completely deaf. I'm furious. He was already blind and relied on his hearing to get around the house. We would tap where his food was, and our other dog wears a bell so they could play. Now he stays in one spot all day and startles when someone goes up to touch him. The vet never said a thing about deafness as a possible side effect-- even thought of temporary deafness would have made me say hell no. She and this drug have destroyed our dog's life. We're just sick about it.

Replied by Veronica Mcg
Los Angeles

I'm wondering the same thing. Can any of the previous posters tell us if their dog's hearing ever improved? In my experience (a human member of my family suffered sudden hearing loss), this type of reaction results in permanent and not temporary deafness. I'm praying my dog will regain its hearing but I'm not holding out much hope.

Replied by Deborah S.
San Diego

Sadly, my 12 yr old dog went in for a yeast infection in his ears. Now hearing completely gone.

So glad I found this blog. The vet said she had never heard of it happening. We are teaching him sign language.

Replied by Natalie
St Paul, Mn

So heartbroken. Our Westie went in for an ear infection. Had her ear packed with bcp bnt treatment and had total sudden hearing loss. Very hard for a 14 year old. Trying to figure out what steps to take. Its been over a month after treatment and no hearing has returned at all.

Replied by Ruth

Same thing with my beautiful Shih Tzu, Krishna. Now he is totally deaf. Does not respond to us shaking his bag of treats or getting his food ready! I'm so sad. Vet said maybe he was already going deaf. No he wasn't! He was much more lively and responsive prior to this treatment of Oti-e pack.

Replied by Shellinda

My GSD had this put in her ears last week and she is completely deaf. I also just found out that one of my rescue dogs (10 year old GSD ) that was adopted out had that put in his ears and he is completely deaf. The BNT was put in a year ago and he still can't hear.

Replied by Lori
Philadelphia, Pa

My 12 year old pit bull went into the Vet for his weekly laser & acupuncture appointment --- happy, 100% alert & hearing 100%!!!

He is a bit of a derm mess w/ the early ragweed season. His Atopic Dermatitis is being controlled w/ Cytopoint monthly, but with the massive rain we have had, his feet & ears have suffered.

4 days ago my buddy got the BNP wax in both ears for confirmed yeast & bacteria. I thought he seemed to be acting weird, and complained to my husband that he wasn't listening to me outside.

My buddy is 100% deaf, even w/ the ear cleaning back @ the Vet today! I work in the Veterinary pharma field & am devastated that I was not informed that this was a risk. My Vet said it is a very rare occurrence & that they have never had this happen. Well in reading all of these posts-- it's DEF not rare!

I will be contacting this company, and informing my Veterinary clinics of the risk- it's real! I feel so badly & I am just devastated! My buddy can not & may not ever hear my baby talk & kisses ever again.

Replied by Jackie
College Station, Tx

Yes, there is a problem with this medication. The same thing happened to my dog last week. Went to the vet with excellent hearing and came back deaf. I want to know if I can flush this ointment out, but I don't want to make the situation worse.

Replied by Jackie
College Station, Tx

The same thing happened to my pitbull last week. I am very sad, and my dog is traumatized. Yes, there is a problem with this medication. Went to the vet with excellent hearing and came back deaf. I want to know if I can flush this ointment out, but I don't want to make the situation worse.

I want to put apple cider vinegar/water in his ears to try to flush the ointment out, but I don't want to make it worse. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?

Replied by Andy Gordon
Ocean View

This happened to my Tibetan Terrier this week. One day on the Oti-Pak E and she was totally deaf. I took her back to the vet and they cleaned out the medicine and gave her something different. She got back maybe 3-5% of her hearing so far, but I'm not too optimistic. We will see what happens over the next couple of weeks.

Replied by Rochelle Torres
Ventura Ca

Hi, I am having the same issue with my chihuahua. She was 100% FINE up until Saturday when I took her in to the vet to have her ear infections treated. They put Oti-Pak E in her ears and she can NO LONGER HEAR. She can't hear anything. No loud noises.

Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn

Hello Kay,

Certain ear meds are known to be 'ototoxic' - read about them here:

Some feel that an allergy to the medication is a factor. The condition could well be permanent, however, if this were my dog I would try homeopathic thuja or homeopathic silicea.

Replied by Janet

Kay West

We have very vaccine damaged dogs. One in particular just has ear problems. It seems over her lifetime, she has had 1 thing after the other.

We have treated with antibiotics, they wreaked havoc. To simple natural cures. Nothing has completely ended these issues.

Hearing loss, she had/has it. It turns out it was mites. Since her ears are cleaned and treated it was hard to understand. An inexpensive nontoxic trial of Teds mite remedy to her ears, may assist her hearing. I was shocked that this was it. As the other pets did not have them. Buy Smoky is a individual stand out girl!

I mix up large amounts during the summer, I treat yard, dogs, dogs, bedding, anyone walking

It would be a good idea to mix this up in a 16 oz brown glass sprayer. It should last to do a full 3 months. The life span of mites. Although I do not know the different varieties, over the years this works, for all the things including fleas, pests.

In a 2qt pitcher, fill with spring water. Add 1/2 cup of 20 mule team borax. Let stand 1 hour. Pour into your jar. Do not pour in any remaining grains. Fill 95% add 1% hydrogen peroxide. So 99% solution 1% h2o2. Cap. Store water to make a refill.

Now we can spray smoky's ears. The wet flap allows some solution into ear. But it can be applied with a cotton makeup remover pad. It should leave the ear wettish or moist. So the solution penetrates down the curves of the ear structure. You will see results within a day. Better hearing.

I do this 2 days a week for 3 months. It assures you have killed them. I spray around bedding, favorite places, my husband chair. Grassy areas.

If nothing else it saves all that flea stuff that is so toxic.

As I said it was a surprise that this worked as the dogs get sprayed anyway. I had never done their ears with it. Her hearing improved 50%. But she struggles with yeast and other things too. It might help.


Replied by Chantal

Hello, I find several posts like the ones above, but no one ever shares an update on their dog's hearing months later. Any insight would be much appreciated!!

Replied by Chantal


i know this was a while back, but did you try the vinegar wash or anything else? Did it help??

Replied by Regina

Hi! I am so sorry to hear about all the cases of hearing loss in your dogs. The same happened to my Vizsla. It has been 14 days now the Otti-pack was applied and he is not hearing anything. Could someone please comment if the hearing has come back after a while? I am so sad, so frustrated. Just wish the vet had informed about this risk before applying the product. I would have never allowed it.