How to Treat Bacterial Infections of the Ear in Dogs and Cats

Gentamicin and Betamethasone are commonly combined in veterinary medicine to treat dogs and cats that may be suffering from bacterial infections of the ear canal. This pair of drugs works well together because the Gentamicin kills off the infectious bacteria in the body, while the Betamethasone helps to reduce the inflammation and itching often associated with ear infections.

If the animal is suffering from a fungal infection of the ear, Gentamicin and Betamethasone are commonly used in conjunction with Clotrimazole to provide a broad spectrum of treatment.

ear infections in pets

How Is Gentamicin / Betamethasone Administered?

Gentamicin and Betamethsone are combined by veterinary compounding pharmacies into a single administration, which can be given either topically or via otic drops. The veterinarian will make the determination as to which type is the best suited in a given scenario.

This combined medication is only available with a prescription from a veterinarian, and in order for it to be effective against the bacterial infection, the directions must be followed as closely as possible.

Gentamicin / Betamethasone Precautions

Gentamicin and Betamethasone treatment should not be administered to a patient with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to one of these medications. This pairing should also be avoided in animals that may be suffering from a perforated eardrum. For this reason, a veterinary examination of the ear must be performed prior to treatment.

Since there is a risk of hearing loss associated with Gentamicin, this treatment option should not be used in working canines, such as police dogs, seeing-eye dogs, hearing dogs, or dogs used in other working situations.

Possible Side Effects of Gentamicin / Betamethasone

While the potential for adverse reactions to Gentamicin and Betamethasone is generally low when the prescribed directions are followed, some animals may prove to be more sensitive to the drugs and therefore, certain side effects may occur.

The most common side effects attributed to this pair of drugs include increased drinking and urination. Vomiting, diarrhea, heavy panting, weight gain, increased appetite, and behavioral changes can also occur, but these side effects are atypical.

In very rare cases, the animal patient my experience temporary loss of balance or loss of hearing. If this occurs, be sure to contact the veterinarian immediately.

This drug combination may also interact with other medications, so be sure to discuss the animal’s drug regimen with the veterinarian first, in order to reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction.

Author: Giano Panzarella