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Golden Retriever: My nine year..nine year old..treats..foul smelling…

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My nine year old Golden...
My nine year old Golden Retriever has had a chronic ear problem. I use Q-tips to try and keep the black tar looking sour smelling stuff from covering the inside of both of her ears. Our long term vet treats her with OTOMAX but it does not seem to have an impact on the foul smelling painful ear problems. It gets so bad that she drops her head to either side that is worse. She's such a good dog, will you please give me advice on what I need to do to prevent it or control it. I am very careful to only clean the goop out of the inner outside of her ears to avoid deep down in the ear canal. Please help????
Karen
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 14 minutes by:
6/22/2010
Dog Veterinarian: petdrz, Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
petdrz
petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7,703
Experience: Over 30 years of experience caring for dogs and cats
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Hello,

 

What it sounds like you are describing as occurring with your dog is problem with underlying allergies. Ear discharge, pain and head shaking in dogs is commonly secondary to ear infections that are brought on by the allergy and the change in the environment of the ear canals because of it. Allergy problems in pets can be difficult to diagnose and the history and response to medications tried are a very important part of figuring out the cause.

 

Most times the cause of the itch starts with an underlying allergy. Dogs can be allergic to three things: 1) fleas (different than a dog with fleas, these dogs are sensitive to even one flea bite), 2) Food (they develop antigens to some component in their food), or 3) inhalants like dust, pollen, molds, etc. The allergy causes the ear canals to become inflammed and itch. On top of that, these inflammed ears can then be invaded by bacteria or yeast which can add to the itch and cause the debris that you see, even if the original allergy has now subsided. When these bacteria or yeast live there for a long time, changes can occur in the ear canals that make it harder to clear the problem up.

 

The key to getting these to stop recurring is to figure out if they recur because they are not treated completely or if there is an underlying allergy . The first step is to insure that the right medication is used. If the discharge and odor persist after you have been treating her, it is either not the correct medication, or her ears need more than a medication applied to clear them up. A test called an ear cytology can be done to examine the debris look for secondary invaders like bacteria or yeast. Some ears develop resistant bacterial infections and need to be cultured and have oral antibiotics prescribed. Some ears need a ear flush performed under anesthesia to adequately clear the entire canal of debris and inspect the eardrum to see if it is intact or if there is infection beyond a ruptured ear drum into the middle ear.

 

After treating the ears, it is ESSENTIAL that they are rechecked. A otoscopic exam of the entire ear canal to visualize normal canals and eardrum must be done to document that the ear infection has resolved. If this is not done and the signs recur, it may be that the ear was never treated completely to normal.

 

If the treated ear returns to normal and then there is a recurrence of the signs, then you know that there must be an underlying cause such as the allergies mentioned above. Your veterinarian can then work with you to determine what your pet may be allergic to and institute steps to control his response to the allergies.

 

Good luck with getting to the cause of this. Allergic dogs can be very difficult to manage, and it may be a good idea to seek the expertise of a veterinary dermatologist to attempt better control of the allergies. Left unresolved, over time these ears can develop irreversible changes that may require surgery to alleviate pain and infection.

 

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if other questions.

 

 

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