How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr.Fiona Your Own Question
Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr.Fiona is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My pit bull has been scratching his ear for the last two ...

Customer Question

My pit bull has been scratching his ear for the last two weeks and I thought it was ear ticks.   I squirted some ear tick medicine into his ear; however, he still scratches his ear. I took a Q-tip and cleaned his ear and some brown stuff was on the Q-tip, and when I squeeze his ear it sounds like there is moisture in there. What can it be and what can I do the help him? Thanks. Debra
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Hi Debra,

Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to help you and your dog with this question, but need a bit more information.

Do his ears smell bad?

Do the ears look red inside them?

Is he shaking his head or scratching at his ears?


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
His ear smells kinda of musty and gets red when he scratches it; otherwise, it doesn't appear to be red on the outside. He shakes his head sometimes, also.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Oh, your poor boy!

It sounds as though your Pit Bull has an ear infection.

Ear infections (otitis externa) are quite common in dogs, unfortunately.

Let me explain a bit more about them...

Otitis externa is commonly caused by yeast, bacteria or a combination of both. Quite often, the ear medications that I prescribe have a combination of anti-fungals to treat the yeast, anti-biotics to treat the bacteria and anti-inflammatories to decrease the pain and inflammation. The names of a couple of ear medications I commonly prescribe are Surolan and Otomax.

In 14 years of practice, I have only ever seen one dog with ear mites! They are much more common in cats.

When I see a dog with an ear infection, I have a close look inside the ear canal to make sure the ear drum is intact. I might take a sample of the discharge and examine it under a microscope. If there were a lot of discharge, I would clean the ear out really well with a gentle ear cleaner, so that medication could then be used to treat the ear.

It is likely that you will need to take your dog to see a vet so that he can be treated for this. Prescription medications are effective very quickly at clearing up ear infections.

If you absolutely cannot make it to see a vet, you could try the following at home, though it is not as effective:

Burrow's Solution (Buro-sol, ). In Canada, you can get Burrow's Solution over the counter at a pharmacy. I believe it is widely available in the USA as well. It is a gentle astringent that is very useful in treating ear infections. Many veterinarians carry it, compounded with 2% hydrocortisone (for that you would need a prescription). But you could certainly try it twice daily for 7 days in your dog. Instill 3-5 drops into both ears twice daily for a week.

Oral antibiotics are rarely needed to treat ear infections, as the drug doesn't get to the site of the infection effectively. When you give an oral antibiotic, it ends up in the blood stream, and this is not helpful for treating ear infections which are on the skin surface within the ear. Occasionally I use oral antibiotics if there are signs of an INNER ear infection. This is rare.

Here are some links about Otitis Externa that you might find useful:

Good luck with your dog. If this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button and provide feedback. I will still be here to provide more information if you need it!



JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Previous | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Dr. Gary

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Joan's Avatar


    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • Candy's Avatar


    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • 's Avatar

    Satisfied Customers:

  • Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew


    Satisfied Customers:

    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery