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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16792
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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My 2 year old bitch has very swollen nipples with what appears

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My 2 year old bitch has very swollen nipples with what appears to be black spots which are not coming off when washed. She is not in season and has been out of season for 3 months. She also has suddenly developed very smelly ears.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 years ago.
Hi Puffcat,

Many females who are not bred during a heat cycle will experience a false pregnancy. They will sometimes have weight gain, breast development and even milk production. Some even go through false labor and "adopt" a stuffed animal or other toy baby for several weeks after they would have had puppies. What you are seeing is perfectly normal. If there is even the slight possibility she is pregnant, you will want to have her on puppy food.   You can read up on false pregnancy here:
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_canine_false_pregnancy.html

There are some medications available to help control milk production and other symptoms, but it usually resolves by itself in a few weeks. You can read about these medications on the following page.
http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedings.plx?CID=WSAVA2006&PID=16052&O=Generic

The smelly ears probably mean that she is starting to develop an ear infection. It is probably a yeast or bacterial infection. You can use a mixture of distilled vinegar, water and alcohol on a cotton ball to gently clean the ear. In a yeast infection, you will see a golden to black buildup in the ear. You may also notice redness and bleeding, head shaking and your dog scratching the ear as well. You can try some miconazole cream to see if it helps until you can get in to see the Vet, but it isn’t a cure for underlying condition. You will have to have your vet look at it and determine if it is fungal or bacterial in nature so the appropriate medication can be given. Ear infections are not pleasant for your dog and I hope you can get her seen soon. The following site has a recipe for a home remedy that may provide some relief though I recommend visiting the vet for medication.
http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/ears.html

It the black spots are tiny and on the nipple itself, it may just be clogged milk ducts. They tend to have a slight discharge that darkens and then looks like little dots. If the black spots are larger and then they just be pigmentation. Some dogs do develop discoloration of the skin due to pigmentation changes, or from scratching which may develop from a yeast dermatitis which can darken the skin in places and then there are other conditions such as hypothyroidism and cushings. Your vet can test for these if your dog is showing other symptoms such as increased thirst and urination. You can read about these here:
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/hypothyroidism-in-dogs/page1.aspx
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/hyperadrenocorticism-cushing-s-syndrome-in-dogs/page1.aspx

Hope this helps.
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16792
Experience: Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
Jane Lefler and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: I prefer a second opinion.
My 2 year old bitch has very swollen nipples with what appears to be black spots which are not coming off when washed. She is not in season and has been out of season for 3 months. She also has suddenly developed very smelly ears.



Optional Information:
Age: 2; Female; Breed: English Springer Spanial

Already Tried:
We have only just noticed the problems. Booked a vet appointment reference the smelly ears. Have sinced discovered the swollen nipples with the black rings. These have been wiped with unperfumed baby wipes. It has not removed any of the black ring. On close inspection this could be small pin prick size growths.
We have cleaned the ears with olive oil and removed alot of black/brown wax/dirt. We had cleaned her ears the week before and although their was a slight brown residue no more than normal.
The swollen nipples do not seem to be bothering her. Start of her previous season was end of May 08.
She is eating / drinking normally. She is sleeping longer though.
I am worried that this could be an urgent situation and needs urgent veterinary attention.
Please respond. Many Thanks
Clare
Expert:  NancyH replied 5 years ago.

With the ear infection plus the darker skin around the nipple area your dog might be experiencing a low thyroid level which can lead to skin darkening, skin infections such as yeast, and ear infections as well as other allergic responses.

Your vet can check for thyroid level with blood work and can also test for allergies.

Sometimes both of these conditions show up simply from allergic reaction. It may be your dog has an allergy to a pollen or mold in the air this time of year. I have a couple of rescue dogs here that each summer get dark stuff on the abdomen starting with the nipple area and get ear infections due to seasonal allergies.

You could see if a shampoo with a Chlorhexiderm, Sebalyte, or Malaseb type shampoo from the pet supply store will help with the abdominal skin discoloration. If you follow the directions on the bottle those can do a good job to clear yeast or bacterial infections.

As she may have had a false pregnancy as Jane mentioned that could leave the nipples a bit damp from a milk build up and give yeast a good place to grow.

You can read about yeast infections here

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_yeast_infection_of_the_skin.html

another place to look for that is around the vulval folds.

I'd plan to talk to your vet about the possibility of thyroid or allergy issues.

If your vet did not give you meds for the ear infection you could try Zymox with cortisone. I've had good luck clearing up infections with that. You can read about it here
http://animalpetdoctor.homestead.com/Zymox.html

and most recently the best price I've seen for it was on www.amazon.com.

Hope this helps you!

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