What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Hair Loss on Ear


Hair loss on the ear can be caused by tumors and growths, traumatic injury, contact dermatitis (thermal or chemical burns) and infections, as well as less common conditions. Aural plaques are white warty growths on the inside surface of the ear. Sarcoids are common skin growths which often affect the ear.

Ear growths can be difficult to remove surgically because there is very little extra skin for repair. The supporting cartilage can also be damaged by overzealous use of anti-tumor therapies like cryotherapy.

  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If a skin lesion is larger, growing or causing pain or itchiness.
  • Code Yellow

    Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment
    • If you consider this a chronic and relatively mild problem that is not changing rapidly.

your role


What To Do

Examine the area closely to see if hair is returning to the area. Assess the area for other signs of a problem- skin peeling or flaking or raised areas. Does the skin appear thickened and of a different color than normal skin? Take note of whether the horse appears bothered by the condition, or is rubbing or scratching the area. Look carefully over the rest of the horse's body for other lesions. Take a photo of the problem and share it with your vet.

your vet's role

Following a general physical exam, your vet will carefully assess the ear and surrounding areas. Sedation for a proper ear examination may be necessary. In some cases, a cause is not found. In that case, symptomatic treatment might be needed for a time before more aggressive and expensive diagnostics like skin biopsy are employed.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Where specifically is the hair loss?
  • Are both ears affected?
  • Are there other areas of hair loss?
  • Can you see a growth or mass associated with the hair loss?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • What is the horse's age, sex, breed and history?
  • Can you send a photo of the problem?
  • Are you seeing itchiness (rubbing or scratching)?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP