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Dr. Maggie
Dr. Maggie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 866
Experience:  Small Animal Veterinarian, General Practitioner
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The tips of my dogs ears look like crusty wart-like scabs and

Customer Question

The tips of my dogs ears look like crusty wart-like scabs and he is losing hair on the backs of his ears too. My doctor says its not mange or mites, but maybe food allergies. Is that typical of food allergies...to only affect the rims of their ears? When I google images it looks like mites. Just crusted lumps. What do I do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Maggie replied 2 years ago.
Hi, this is Dr. Maggie - I am going to try to answer your question today. First I need a little more information.

1.) What type of testing did your vet do to determine the scabs weren't from mites? (Did he do a skin scraping?)

2.) Is he itchy at all? (Scratching at his ears or elsewhere?)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He is very itchy. The vet did scrape a couple of areas and tested them for mites.
Expert:  Dr. Maggie replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information. Based on your description, I would be worried about mites (Sarcoptic Mange in particular), in addition to trauma from an unresolved ear infection, a vasculitis (possibly from a vaccine reaction), or possibly allergies.

Based on your description, I agree that mange is my top concern. Unfortunately, skin scrapings don't rule out Sarcoptic Mange, they only rule out Demodectic Mange. In general, you can do 20 skin scrapings on a dog with Sarcoptic Mange and maybe only find one mite in a dog with severe clinical disease. For this exact reason, if I am even suspicious of sarcoptic mange, I will often start the dog on Revolution as a precaution. Revolution is a good once a month preventative for them to be on anyway (prevents against fleas and heartworms) and it just so happens to treat sarcoptic mange if present. I would ask your vet about starting him on Revolution as a precaution.

If you would like to read more about sarcoptic mange, I recommend visiting the following link: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=616

As far as the other possible causes, if your dog hasn't recently received a vaccine, and has no other abnormal bruising, vasculitis is less likely. If your vet hasn't noticed an ear infection recently from his/her exam, trauma from otitis externa is less likely.

If your dog also has trouble with anal glands and itching all over, food allergies is a possibility. (However, based on your description, I would be most worried about sarcoptic mange.) If you would like to read more about food allergies and food allergy diet trials, I am going to recommend that you click on the following link:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=652

Hopefully that answered your question. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns and I will be happy to try to answer them further.

If you found this information helpful, please click the green 'accept' button so I can get compensated for my time.

Thanks and best of luck with your boxer!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I started him on revolution 2weeks ago but see no improvement. Are there any meds I can ask for other than that, which would cure possible mites? So food allergies would not only appear on the tips of his ears...and look exactly like mange right? Is revolution a cure for mites...do I need to keep waiting? I have 6 kids and another dog...none have it so far.
Expert:  Dr. Maggie replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information.

First, that is correct. Food allergies typically appear as an itchy dog with inflamed ears down in the ear canal... not on the tips of the ears. This is one of the reasons that I have put food allergies down a little further on my differential list. It doesn't sound like a typical food allergy dog.

That is great that you have already started him on the Revolution. I should mention, that usually with Revolution, it is recommended to re-dose every 2 weeks rather than once monthly.

Often we will see results within a month, however, two weeks is a bit soon to see substantial results. I would give this a little more time before I gave up on the Revolution.

There are other medications that can be used to treat sarcoptic mange. These medications include ivermectin, advantage multi, and interceptor (to name a few). Of all the treatments mentioned however, Revolution is one of the only FDA approved (non extra label) treatments. It is considered very safe, and we don't have to worry as much about the side effects that we could possibly see with treatments such as ivermectin.

That is great that no people or other dogs in your house have had clinical signs. Even if this is Sarcoptic Mange, it is possible that others won't contract this disease. As you know, sarcoptic mange can be spread to other animals and to people, however just because it is possible doesn't mean it will happen. Since this is a younger dog, his immune system isn't quite as mature as an adult dog, so that may provide some explanation as to why he is the only one affected.

If he does start to show improvement within the next month on the Revolution, I highly recommend treating the other dog in the house as a precaution with the Revolution as well.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

If you found this information helpful, please click the green 'Accept' button so I can get compensated for my time. Thanks!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Banfield has a maintenance plan that we pay for monthly, so the visits are free, but my guess s that's just a way to get the pet in there and then nickel and dime us with tests and meds. I'm very frustrated because this dog has cost us thousands already. I even paid $400 for an X-ray after the vet told me he had probably swallowed a stick...it was gas. What should I tee the vet I want? A test for mange, or to treat it as if that's what it is without testing. It's pretty obvious these warts on the rims of his ears are something serious as his ear is being eaten. I have spent $300 so far on just this one issue and am going broke.
Expert:  Dr. Maggie replied 2 years ago.
If this was my dog, I would treat him for mange without any additional testing. This is because, as I mentioned earlier, testing for sarcoptic mange isn't very accurate. So even if you do additional testing and the test is negative, you still should treat it like it is sarcoptic mange.

If after treating the dog with Revolution every 2 weeks for a good 4-6 weeks, you aren't seeing any improvement at all, then I would consider doing a food allergy trial or investigating further one of the other possible causes.

Until you know what the problem is, I would recommend taking a few extra precautions at home to limit the spread of this in case it is sarcoptic mange. So, make sure to remind your kids to wash their hands very well after touching him. Also, limit allowing him access to couches and furniture or bedding until this is resolved.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

If you found this information helpful, please click the green 'accept' button so I can get compensated for my time. Thanks!
Dr. Maggie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 866
Experience: Small Animal Veterinarian, General Practitioner
Dr. Maggie and 6 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I hit accepted, left positive feedback and tip, but there in no way to send it. No accept button. For just incase my feedback was not left, I wanted to tell you that you were very helpful and kind. A+ vet!
Expert:  Dr. Maggie replied 2 years ago.
Thank you very much - I hope your dog is on the mend soon!

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