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Mia Carter
Mia Carter, Animal Expert
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience:  Specializing in the training and care of ill pets and special needs animals! Mom of 22 pets!
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my dog has swollen, red, hot ears with a thick yellow ...

Customer Question

my dog has swollen, red, hot ears with a thick yellow discharge, he also has yellow discharge from his eyes, whats wrong?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Mia Carter replied 9 years ago.
Hello there!

I'm sorry to hear that your dog is unwell! I know how terrible it can be to have this sort of thing suddenly arise!

Please stand by while I type up your answer, okay?

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
i cant afford to take my dog to the vet so i have to treat it at home.
Expert:  Mia Carter replied 9 years ago.
Hi again!

Okay, here's what's going on with your dog:

Your dog has an ear infection. It's difficult for me to tell without seeing your dog what type of infection you're dealing with. There are two basic types of infection types: bacterial infections and fungal infections, like a yeast infection.

Dogs with floppy ears especially are prone to all sorts of problems with their ears, but you can see it on other dogs too.

You may also have an ear infection, where the infection is deep inside the ear canal. This involves lots of head shaking, pus, greenish, brownish, or yellowish discharge, scratching at the ear, redness, swelling and discomfort. For this, you'll need medication from your vet, but you can make her more comfortable by cleaning her ears three times a day until you can get to the vet. Timely action is important though, because you can end up with permanent hearing damage if ignored.

This type of infection results spontaneously. Basically, there's bacteria in the ears at all times and sometimes, due to various factors, the bacteria gets beyond the control of the dog's body, and you end up with an infection.

So the first step would be to keep her ears cleaned very regularly - every day. Three times a day if the discharge is coming from the ear canal. I would first wash her ear flaps with an antibacterial soap (put cotton balls in her ear canal to avoid getting soap and water into the ear). Then you can use cotton swabs and Q-tips to clean out the nooks and crannies of the ear with an ear cleaning solution. If you don't have a solution on-hand, just using a wet Q-tip will do. Just be sure to only clean what you can see - sticking the q-tip deep into the ear can do damage.

As for the eyes, it's possible it's all part of the same problem. Remember, the ears, nose, eye and throat are all connected. The "plumbing" is all the same system, so infection can spread from one location to another. So you'll want to keep her eyes clean as well. You can go to the drug store and in the first aid aisle, there's something called "wound wash saline" that comes in a aerosol bottle. You can use this to flush the discharge from her eyes - it can be irritating if you leave it there. Since the infection is infecting more than one area, it's likely your vet will prescribe oral antibiotics in addition to ear drops.

The other type of ear infection, which I don't think is the case here, is a yeast infection. These too can spread and in a few instances, you can see them simultaneously with the other type of infection. In addition to redness and discharge, the skin of the ear may take on a rough, scaly and bumpy feeling. There is also a distinct smell - it's a very organic smell, but it's not offensive per se, it's hard to explain but you'll know what I'm talking about if you smell it. These infections are very itchy, so scratching is common and you may see secondary bacterial infections that result from the dog scratching open the skin when he's itching. This more established infection requires a trip to the vet for medication, since it won't just heal on its own. But you can do a bit at home to make your dog comfortable in the meantime with the cleanings I mentioned.

And there's the risk of secondary infections and you could end up with the infection spreading to other parts of the body like the face, head and paws. (which could explain the eyes) So an established infection will require mediation from the vet. If the itching is very bad, cleaning the area like I described above several times a day can help, and you can apply a little bit of hydrocortisone cream to the affected area to help with the itching.

I hope your dog is feeling better soon! Just reply if you have any questions, okay?

***Please ACCEPT if my answer was helpful!***

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert

*As experts, we do not get compensated for our time and efforts unless you "accept!"*

Mia Carter and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Mia Carter replied 9 years ago.
Hi there!

I just saw your post, so let me amend some of my post from above...

Expert:  Mia Carter replied 9 years ago.

I think this is a case where it won't heal on its own - these infections extend deep into the canal and they're very stubborn to deal with. Cleaning can help reduce some of the discomfort, but it won't get rid of the infection, unfortunately. And this is one of those cases where the longer you wait, the more expensive it will be to treat. BUT, there are some things you can consider if money is an issue.

Firstly, I would recommend discussing what you CAN afford. Sometimes, in the case of an animal with an infection or an injury, some care is better than no care at all, and certainly better than euthanasia in many cases. So if you had $50 to spend at the time, a good vet should work with you to make that money go as far as possible. In your case, this probably will consist of prescribing antibiotics - it's usually pretty straightfoward. It's no guarantee and it's not the same as going the full gamut, but it's always better than nothing. Particularly where hearing is at stake. And we already have evidence that the infection has spread to the eyes, so we know it's established.

I would also call around to other clinics, as the cost from clinic to clinic for certain procedures can vary dramatically. I recommend asking their price for an office visit - this is a good representation of their pricing. For example, I had a dog with a cyst that had to be excised. One clinic quoted $800+ for the relatively simple and quick procedure. Another quoted $200 and they did a wonderful job. So that just goes to show how much it can vary.

In theory, you should be able to get this tended to for under $60. There's the cost of an office visit - I recommend calling around to vets and ask them their rate for an office visit, as this is often an indicator of their pricing - and reasonable is about $35. That's what I pay per office visit (the cost just to see the dog and for a basic exam) and I'm in the northeast, so things tend to be a bit more expensive here than in other areas of the country. Fortunately with an ear infection, there's a good chance they can diagnose the problem just by looking at her - there's little in terms of diagnostic testing required for this in many cases. So the only other cost would be for medication. You'll probably want ear drops and an oral antibiotic.

And again, be up front about what you can afford and most vets will work with you - they understand that we don't always have lots of cash hanging around and most would rather see a pet get treatment than turn you away, particularly for something so straightforward and curable as an ear infection.

Another option would be to contact an area humane society - like an ASPCA - to ask if they know of any low-cost veterinary clinics. Often, larger humane organizations run these clinics, or they can refer you to one in your area. Usually, they work with pet owners so that you pay what you can afford. The disadvantage is that there's usually little flexibility in terms of appointments, as these clinics are often open a few days of the week, so they're not idea for emergencies.

Another option to consider would be approaching a veterinary teaching hospital at a university in your area. Teaching clinics often charge significantly less for equal services and you'll have some of the best minds in the field working on your pet.

Here's a list of some additional resources that can sometimes help in a time of need:

American Animal Hospital Association

Angels 4 Animals

Care Credit

God's Creatures Ministry



The Pet Fund

United Animal Nations

This list is for local and national help resources:

I hope this gives you a bit of direction with your pet's treatment! And do let me know if you have any additional questions, okay?

***Please ACCEPT if my answer was helpful!***

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert

*As experts, we do not get compensated for our time and efforts unless you "accept!"*