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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19122
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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My dog seems to have an earache. She has a lot of this strange

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My dog seems to have an earache. She has a lot of this strange brown/black stuff in her ear, and its very sensitive. I tried cleaning it out with a Q-tip. I wanted to know if there are any solutions or liquids i could use to clean it. The ear smells a little sour (i think its supposed to smell sweet right?). Its hurting her and she keeps scratching it. I was thinking that it might have been from the beach, because she likes swimming there.
Thanks for the questionCustomer

In direct answer to your question : Ear disease in the dog is caused by quite a range of conditions and they can present in different ways, it is possible that water in the ear from the swimming may have helped encourage an infection but also the shape of some dog's ears { fold over ears } does not help because the lack of air flow can create conditions suitable for bacterial and fungal growth.

Before you can treat any ear condition in the dog you have to work out what the actual cause is, before deciding on treatment. Very often It is not practical to do very much on a home treatment basis so all you can do is to have your dog examined by a vet who if appropriate will prescribe a suitable medication.

If your dog is shaking its head, scratching at its ears and there is discernible redness and smell then this is likely to mean ear disease deep down in your dog's actual ear canals. The general name for this is Otitis Externa and the possible causes of it in the dog would be the following :

1. Bacterial infection
2. Fungal infection
3. Ear mites
4. Foreign objects in the ear canal
5. Polyps and tumours in the ear canal.
6. Allergic ear / skin disease.

As a first approach what us vets do is have a good look deep down the ear canal with our otoscope and then decide which is the most likely of the above conditions and prescribe some meds such as antibiotics usually in the form of drops.

I am sorry I cannot suggest any home remedies here as in my experience they are often ineffective.

If I have not answered your question fully enough or if you would like to ask more I will be on line for the next hour or so and I will be pleased to discuss your question further.

Scott Nimmo BVMS MRCVS
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