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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 134
Experience:  20 yrs as small animal vet; 30+ yrs in animal care; interests incl: breeding, skin probs, training
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My dog has crusty ears on tips and border of ears. he does

Resolved Question:

My dog has crusty ears on tips and border of ears. he does not itch them and has no debris inside his ears. what can this be?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 8 years ago.
I need a little more information in order to help.

Is he outside much?
When did you first notice the problem? And has it changed any since you first noticed it - if so, how?

Dr. Z
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
it started a few weeks ago and seems to be getting worse. he spends little time outside and goes for 2 walks on the leash a day. i also have a chow mix nd his ears are fine. i have not seen any flies around him when he is out. and it does not seem to bother him at all. the other dog does not chew on them or anything like that
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 8 years ago.
Ack. You pretty much hit on all my suspicions.

What you describe sounds like either fly strike dermatitis or sarcoptic mange. However, we usually only see fly strike on dogs that spend a lot of time outside, so the fact that he's mostly inside makes that less likely.

Sarcoptic mange is usually VERY itchy, and very contagious. But I have seen a number of cases where there were multiple pets in the household, yet only 1 was affected. So the fact that your chow is fine wouldn't rule it out. But I would still expect him to be scratching if it were sarcoptic mange. A quick test would be to scratch his ear. If he starts kicking his leg when you scratch on his ear, it greatly increases the likelihood that it IS sarcoptic mange. This is known as the Pinnal-Pedal reflex.

Those are probably the most common problems. There are other causes as well - other types of insect bites (I've seen ants suggested as a cause), allergies, some auto-immune diseases as well, or even something as minor as folliculitis.

You can try apply vaseline or neosporin to the affected areas for a few days and see if that helps. If not, I'd get him in to be seen so you can get a proper diagnosis. Also, if he has a positive Pinnal-Pedal reflex, I wouldn't wait to have him seen. If it IS sarcoptic mange, all in contact animals should be treated as well - whether or not they are showing any symptoms.

I hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Dr. Z
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