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I have a mastiff and she woke up and keeps shaking her head.

Customer Question
I have a mastiff...

I have a mastiff and she woke up and keeps shaking her head. I've checked her ears and they are clean

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the dog's name and age?

Polly she is 11 months old

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Polly?

No will get her desesexed if hasn't come into season once she is 1 year old

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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Answered in 1 minute by:
1/1/2018
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 6 months ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 18,842
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Thank you
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 6 months ago

I'm sorry to hear that Polly seems uncomfortable and is shaking her head despite her ears looking clear.

The most common reason for head shaking is itchy ears, which we often see with an ear infection or an allergic reaction.

Even though the visible part of her external ear canal looks clear the infection could be deeper in her ear canal, beyond what you can see. A dog's ear canal is "L" shaped, and we can only easily see the top part of the "L".

Or it is possible that she is suffering from a mild allergic reaction to something.

Of course the ideal situation is to see her veterinarian and have her ear fully examined, but I understand that may not be possible today with the Holiday weekend.

In the meantime there are some things that we can do to help her 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. And of course an allergic reaction could be helped by giving antihistamines.
You can try:
1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with decongestants or acetaminophen as they can be toxic) at a dose of 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight 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.

I would recommend Benadryl, but if you don't have access to that I've given you a few other options.

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 her 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 80 pound dog could take 1600mg of EPA per day.

If her ears look at all red you can apply a light coat of cortisone ointment (Cortaid or any generic hydrocortisone ointment is fine) to the skin of her outer ear canal.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Kara, Veterinarian replied 6 months ago

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****

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