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Vet Tech Amy
Vet Tech Amy, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 813
Experience:  Veterinary Technician 5 years, pet owner, 10 years in the animal field
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my dog has a brown wax substance in her ear and the ear is ...

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my dog has a brown wax substance in her ear and the ear is dry and flaky with a faint smell

Typically black discharge in the ear can be from mites or ear infections (usually yeast infections.) Mites are white but their excretement leaves a salt and pepper crumbly discharge. It tends to be more flaky and can crumble in your fingers. It is often dry. Yeast infections have a black waxy discharge, when thick, it can become harder than a soft, sticky wax. If there is more discharge than infection, the odor may not be as bad as most cases. Sometimes dogs can have debris accumulation that can lead to infection later on.

In any case, you can try to flush the ear out at home to prevent a trip to the vet. At this point, I would flush the ears out twice daily. You can make a home made flush using 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water. The pH of the vinegar keeps the ear pH regulated and also serves as a drying agent. It is also much less abrasive than many of the over the counter cleaners that dogs may be allergic to. DO NOT clean the ear with peroxide or put any cream in the ear as it can cause additional problems.

To flush the ear you can use a syringe or bulb and gently let the solution run into the ear. then massage the ear at the base (and almost behind the ear), it should make a sloshing sound as you massage it. Then you can allow your dog to shake his head (do so in bathroom or outdoors due to mess.) Then taking soft gauze or cotton balls (NOT Q-tips) gently wipe the inside of the ear. Clean daily for 1 week, then as needed for cleaning and maintenance.

Monitor the ear for continued discharge, odor, heat or swelling. If the ear gets worse or if it does not improve within a few days, I would have her evaluated as ear issues, when they worsen, can lead to hearing loss.

If the ear does improve, you can go to once a day flushing after the first week, then as needed thereafter.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need additional information.

Best wishes to you BOTH,
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