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Question
Posted by: DW | 2010/07/05

Spaniels, ear issues

Hiya Doc
I have two spaniels who are brother and sister and are about a year and a half old.
The female has been scratching her one ear a lot and although her brother cleans it quite often and we do too, this weekend it seemed to be very itchy and had lots of dark mucky stuff in it. We cleaned it out with some cotton wool and water and took them to the beach cause we thought a little salty water might help but do you have any other suggestions?

Also, the male one seems to be very itchy on his one side and although we''ve treated them endlessly for fleas (i think we''ve won the battle for now), he still seems to scratch on the one side so much that he''s going bald in one spot. Do you think it''s eczema? There are no bites or visible skin rashes, but the hair is so short from him scratching and he seems to go mad scatching.

Do the herbal remedies work? I saw there is one for dry skin... is it worth a try?

Thanks a lot!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi DW

I would advise that you purchase an ear cleaner from a vet shop/practice - non prescription. You can also use mineral oil (old remedy). Use the ear cleaner as directed and it will enable you to clean the ear better than with water alone. I generally advise clients not to clean the ear canals with cotton buds as this can push the waxy material into the horizontal ear canal where it can get lodged. If you find that there is severe irritation then you will have to go to the vet to get POM ear drops that will alleviate the irritation and treat the underlying aetiology.

The scratching can be caused by many factors and treating for fleas is the 1st line of treatment. Your dog may be very sensitive to fleas and although not numerous may still be the initiating factor in the skin irritation. It is hard for me to diagnose a problem when I have not clinically examined your pet. However I would advise that you get a medicated veterinary shampoo (oatmeal based) to reduce the irritation, essential fatty acids and maybe a dietary change. If failing that then you will obviously have to visit you local vet for advise in diagnosing the problem

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Our users say:
Posted by: CyberVet | 2010/07/06

Hi DW

I would advise that you purchase an ear cleaner from a vet shop/practice - non prescription. You can also use mineral oil (old remedy). Use the ear cleaner as directed and it will enable you to clean the ear better than with water alone. I generally advise clients not to clean the ear canals with cotton buds as this can push the waxy material into the horizontal ear canal where it can get lodged. If you find that there is severe irritation then you will have to go to the vet to get POM ear drops that will alleviate the irritation and treat the underlying aetiology.

The scratching can be caused by many factors and treating for fleas is the 1st line of treatment. Your dog may be very sensitive to fleas and although not numerous may still be the initiating factor in the skin irritation. It is hard for me to diagnose a problem when I have not clinically examined your pet. However I would advise that you get a medicated veterinary shampoo (oatmeal based) to reduce the irritation, essential fatty acids and maybe a dietary change. If failing that then you will obviously have to visit you local vet for advise in diagnosing the problem

Reply to CyberVet
Posted by: Chill | 2010/07/05

Ear mites cause bad itching and won't be removed just with water. Spaniels and other long, droopy-eared dogs are susceptible to ear problems, because the ears can''t drain, nor do they get much ''air'' to dry them out.

Get some stuff from the vet to clean the ears, and ask the vet to show you how. If infection has set in as well, you''ll need to address that - and treat the ears every single day until the infection is completely clear, and then continue for a day or two beyond this. Cleaning only occasionally simply results in resistant bacteria, which will then not respond to treatment.

As far as the dog''s skin is concerned - impossible to say for sure without seeing it, but the most likely problem is fleas, so make sure you treat for this. I wouldn''t be putting all sorts of home remedies on it, because you''re as likely to further irritate the skin as not, as CyberVet says.

Reply to Chill

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