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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14884
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Howdy, my dog (2 year old golden doodle) has had smelly ears

Customer Question

Howdy, my dog (2 year old golden doodle) has had smelly ears for about a week ... right before this started, I used some cheap walmart brand ear cleaner (the liquid was like some purple color, not clear), and now when I went to clean his ears with a higher quality cleaner that I got at Petsmart today, I noticed there was all this black tar stuff around his ears that I had never seen before, and it really stinks. I cleaned it out as good as I could, but I didnt want to go too deep.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.I am sorry to say that your pup may have an ear infection. A smelly black, waxy discharge suggests that is the case. Of course the ideal situation is to see his veterinarian and have his ear debris tested to see what sort of infection he has to get him on the right medication, but I understand that may not be possible right away with the weekend coming. In the meantime there are some things that we can do to help him feel more comfortable.Since most ear infections are secondary to allergies and the inflammation they cause you can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with those. In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone.You can try:1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with decongestants or acetaminophen as they can be toxic) at 1mg to 2mg per pound or one 25mg capsule per 15 to 25 pounds of body weight orally every 8 hours.OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 25 pounds of body weight once or twice daily.OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 1mg per pound of body weight orally every 8 hours.OR 4) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.OR 5) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at 1/2 mg per pound of body weight orally every 24 hours. That would be one 10mg tablet per 20 pounds of body weight. Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because dogs cannot tolerate decongestants.Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another. Give the one you pick a week trial and if it isn't working try another. Be aware that antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some dogs. These side effects do wear off with repeated use.Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil products. 3V by DVM or Derm Caps ES are good brand name products. Use the high end of the dosing schedule for your pup's weight. I recommend an omega 3 fatty acid dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 80 pound dog could take 1600mg of EPA per day. I also recommend using a gentle ear cleaner like Oticlens daily now to remove as much of the waxy debris as possible. This removes excess wax and keeps the ear pH at levels that discourage infections. When the ear is sore many dogs won't let you squirt things in their ear but if you soak a cotton ball with the cleaner, then place it at the top of the ear canal and massage the ear from the outside, putting pressure on the soaked cotton ball, the cleaner will be instilled easily. Wipe out excess cleaner and waxy debris with dry cotton balls. You are correct not to dig too deep into his ears trying to get the wax out. With daily cleaning with a good cleaner it will rise to the surface to allow you to safely get it out. Once you have his infection treated and cleared use the cleaner twice a week as that helps prevent infections and also allows you to know what a normal ear looks like and catch ear infections very early. Sometimes with an early infection simply cleaning the ear daily is enough to stop it in its tracks.If his ear skin surface is very red after cleaning you can apply a light coat of cortisone cream (like cortaid) to the ear skin with a cotton ball.Do not clean his ear the day of his veterinary appointment so they can gather a sample of the wax for testing.Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hi Tyler,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Kara