This was posted on a now defunct message board by Steph, some very good information here that should not be lost.
Ear problems may come from a number of sources. Finding what is causing the
problem can be very difficult, but the detective work is worth it if in the
end you are able to remove the offending allergen, or adjust your pet's life
in some way. There is a cycle that includes itching, yeast, infection, open
sores, itching, yeast, infection - etc. This creates an inviting playground
for demodex and sarcoftic mange, as well.
There may be a foul odor, and in some cases the dog may suffer balance
problems, nausea, or pain-response aggression.
Finding the cause is a process of elimination. Often, the cause or an
aggravator is an allergy.
Although dogs are not usually prone to ear infections caused by trapped
water, with some dogs and certain ear types, it is a possibility. If you
have taken your dog swimming recently or were in heavy rain together, do not
limit this as a possibility. The treatments below will be helpful, as
well... but do consider the water as a possible cause of the initial
It could be an allergy to an outside substance - something in bloom, maybe?
This type of ear problem generally will cause itchy ears, but no discharge.
The outer ear may be red or slightly inflamed, and the ear could be swollen
a bit. The dog may have scratches or scabs on the back of the ears from
itching with the back leg (and the nails causing open sores). This increases
a chance for infection. In this situation, I suggest keeping the dog on
Benedryl - a very small amount, but a constant stream. Every 4 to 6 hours,
give another Benedryl. The caps can be broken and the powder added to a
small treat for ease of dosing (olive oil, Nutri-Cal, warm cheese, etc), or
powder can be dissolved in a fluid and given with a feeding syringe.
Often the cause or aggravator is a food allergy. Switching to a simple raw
diet is suggested.
Dogs that have food allergy seem more predisposed to allergies to other
things (and the same is true conversely). Keep this in mind when trying to
determine the cause of an ear problem.
Both a cause and an effect. With dogs, most ear problems consist of a cycle
of yeast. Yeast causes problems for the ear, and is also an effect of other
problems that affect the ear. The first treatment for yeast is trying to
reduce its production. Switching to a simple raw diet will help. Also - NO
DAIRY. Dairy, even yogurt, will produce yeast.
Biotin is very helpful. It is contained naturally in egg whites and shells.
Feeding a raw egg a day, with the shells, can add more biotin to the diet. A
biotin supplement is a good idea, as well. Biotin heals the skin very well,
and it also kills dietary/skin yeast.
Cranberry, blueberry extract, Oregon grape, and goldenseal can all be found
in dietary supplement capsule form and can be given at the recommended human
dose once a day after feeding. This will aid in ridding the infection, and
is very effective.
Get the dog on Benedryl. Keeping your pet from itching is part of breaking
Topical Treatments -
Peroxide - For the outer part of the ear, peroxide cut 50/50 with water can
be applied for the first few days. It will help clean the ear and reduce
infection. Diluting is important, as peroxide can actually cause a mild
chemical burn that will aggrivate the skin. You will see it fizz and
bubble - and this may be a bit unnerving to your dog. After a few minutes,
the fizzing with slow, and the ear can be wiped clean with a cotton swab or
If there is skin on the back of the ear that has raised bumps, scratches, or
any yellow-ish scabs, rub some of the peroxide there, as well. Be aware that
the peroxide may slightly lighten the color of the fur where applied.
Do not use peroxide more than for the first few days. Peroxide will actually
delay healing, and should be used only as an initial antibacterial or to
clean up a seriously affected ear. Do not put peroxide deep into the ear
canal, as the liquid can aggravate an infection if it is not dried out well.
Terrmycine - Go to your local feed/farm supply store. You will find both a
powder and a gel form of a mild antibiotic called Terrmycine. Get the gel if
at all possible. If you cannot find the gel, get the powdered and
reconstitute it as part of the topical oil mix that I describe below.
After cleaning out your dogs' ears as best as you are able, put a small
amount of the Terrmycine gel (often used for conjunctivitus and other eye
issues) onto your index finger and rub it as deep into the canal as your dog
will comfortably allow. You dog will pull back or whine/yelp if the inner
ear is very inflamed or if there are swollen glands/infection. There is no
reason to be forceful against their discomfort - adjust your application
around thier comfort. Do this for both ears. Then apply a small amount of
the gel again to your finger and rub the outer ear - paying close attention
to any open wounds, sore areas, or raised bumps.
Otibiotic/Genotic B-C - This is an optional but suggested treatment,
especially for severe ear infection or chronic ear ailments. Ask your vet
for this ointment (it is the same thing, refered to by both names). It is a
white creamy gel that is an effective yeast infection treatment cream. It is
usually very affordable, as well. Drop a squirt in each ear, as far down in
the canal as your dog will allow, each morning either before or after the
Do the above routine every morning for two weeks.
Apple Cider Vinegar ( brown not white)- Yeast killer! It also cleans out
wounds safely and has antibacterial properties. This is seriously where its
Mix 50/50 with water to dilute its strength. Lean to the heavier side if
just eyeballing it. Use this mix to clean out the ears. Apply with a feeding
syringe into the ear, and let the dog shake its head. If the dog has any
open sores, it will sting - but it will also give a slight numbing effect
after the stinging (similar to mouthwash for people). The water dilution
will help a bit with the stinging.
After the dog has shaken its head for a while, rub out the ears softly with
a cotton swab or cloth. Be careful not to hurt any open scratches or scabs,
but do take a while to assure that you have cleaned the ear out to the best
of you ability.
Do this in the morning before applying the Terramycin, and again in the
The vinegar has some good attributes as a dietary suppliment, but it also
turns into a sugar through the digestion process and produces yeast. For any
dog with skin itchies, ear issues, mange, etc - the vinegar ingested will do
more harm than good.
For dogs with no skin issues, in a small amount it can be a very valuable
addition to the diet. For dogs with skin concerns, it is a very valuable
topical. Good stuff all around.
Steph's Ear Oil - This is a great mix that can help skin in need as well as
help doctor infected or affected ears. First, collect tea tree oil,
eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil, oil of oregano (BE SURE TO GET ESSENTIAL OILS.
Perfume oils are damaging and often toxic!) and biotin supplement capsules.
Get some castor oil, as well.
Break open one biotin caps or grind down the pill into a powder. Add this to
4oz of castor oil (which is the base of our oil mix). Put in a liberal
amount of tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, oil of oregano, and rosemary oil.
You may put in some Terrmycine powder, as well (optional). If you are going
to add the Terramycin, add just a pinch - like, 1/3 of a teaspoon. Grind up
one coffee bean and add it to the mix, too.
Try to make the following as pleasant for your dog as possible...
Put some of the oil on your finger and rub it just inside the opening of the
ear canal. Do not get it very deep into the ear, as we are just trying to
keep the inner ear clean and as dry as possible. But do get the oil down
part of the way inside the canal. Rub it in as well as possible. Then take
more of the oil and apply it liberally to the outer ear and to the skin on
the head below the ear. Apply the oil to the back of the ear if there is any
redness or skin irritations.
Apply this mix after the morning application of Terramycin. Clean it off in
the evening with the vinegar mix. Do this for two weeks.
In a matter of a few days you will see less "gunk" in the ears, and things
should be healing up, as well.
Lets talk about mites....
Often cats with ear itchies have what is called "ear mites". I hear people
say that their dogs have ear mites when worried about ear itchies with their
pooch. Dogs do not get ear mites in the same way that cats do. It is a
different thing completely. Dogs can get both demodex and sarcoftic mange
mites in, on, and around their ears. This is part of that cycle that I was
talking about above... as mites love to feast on body yeast. Often dogs with
mange will have ear problems, as well.
A skin scraping can confirm a demodex mange infestation. Sarcoftic mange,
however, will rarely show up in a skin scraping. One of the ways to identify
sarcofic mange mites is by looking at the dog. Sarcofic mites nearly always
affects the ears. Commonly, you will see little chips out of the edges of
the ears (looks similar to fly bites) that can be dry, flaky, and often
bleed if rubbed. If you rub the inside of the ear and the dog's back lags
twitch and shake as a reflex, there is a possibility that you are seeing
sarcoftic mange mites. Sarcoftic mange is not as common as demodex. It can
be contagious - but it is also easier to eliminate than demodex.
For help in treating sarcofic mange, see this thread. Help For Mild Mange If
the dog is otherwise healthy, the Ivermectin treatment if usually effective.
Really, it is nothing to panic over.
I realize that I am being redundant - but diet is the most important thing
to consider (or reconsider) when your dog is experiencing ear troubles.