Why Is One Dog Ear Up and One Down?

by Leo's Mom
(Des Plaines, IL)

Reader Question: My 12 pound, 13 yr old floppy-ear Yorkie was taken to the vet because one dog ear is now erect and never flops down anymore.

I am wondering if my guy doesn't have a pinnae inflammation or something else. He has a slight head tilt all the time doesn't scratch his ear and I do keep his ears clean and no water to get in his ears when bathing. I'm shocked that a vet would say cartilage in ear due to old age. WHAT?!

What Our Vet Has to Say:

Hi Leo's Mom,

I am afraid I cannot determine why your Yorkie’s ear is now standing up without having the chance to examine him. If he were my patient, I would thoroughly palpate (use my hands to examine) both of his pinnae and perform an otic exam (look into his ears with an instrument called and otoscope). If your veterinarian did not do this, you might want to consider getting a second opinion.

It is possible for cartilage to change with age, particularly if your dog’s ear was injured at any point in the past, but I am a little concerned that your dog also has a head tilt. This can be a sign of a neurologic disorder.

Please follow up with your veterinarian (or a different one), if your dog’s condition worsens.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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