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Seasonal Allergies? Or Ear Mites?


Guest HeatherLee
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Guest HeatherLee

Ok so this is going to take a fair amount of explanation.. But Gambler seems to chronically (2-3 times a year) get ear problems. It really only effects his right ear. He'll shake his head a lot more than normal, scratch at it, and will hold his ear back noticeably. He'll let me touch it and clean it. When he get these symptoms they'll be followed by an excess of brown gunk in his ears. It seems somewhere in between the "coffee grounds" everyone describes when talking about ear mites and just brown waxy chunks.

 

-I know dogs aren't as prone to ear mites as cats... however there are tons of feral cats at my apartment complex, and lots of foliage around that they live/hide in. Gambler frequently sticks his head in the bushes. So I'm thinking ear mites for this reason, and for the vaguely coffee ground consistency of his ear goo. I've been using an OTC ear mite remedy for the past 4 days and though it is releasing a bunch of gunk from his ear canal his condition doesn't seem to be improving.

 

-I've noticed that these episodes of ear problems usually coincide with my own allergy problems. I have pretty severe pollen allergies and I can always tell when the counts are up just a little. When my allergies flare up is usually when his nose gets more dry and flaky, he bites at himself more, and his ear shakes get worse. I've tried Benadryl on him and though it eases his symptoms, it makes him bat ** crazy for the first 45 minutes or so, then a zombie for the rest of the day. This is not something I wish to keep up, haha. I've also tried Claritin to no avail, and Zyrtec has much the same effect as Benadryl. I've even tried Vet given antihistamines and they've made him irritable, and somehow made him more hungry and he gained weight.

 

I can't afford to take him to the vet for another week, but I also don't want him to suffer. What are your thoughts? Does this sound like ear mites or allergies? Are there home remedies that work just as well as meds for ear mites/allergy ears? Has anyone had luck with Allegra?

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We battled a persistent ear infection in our guy for over a year, mostly because both of the commonly prescribed medicinal ear drops caused nasty allergic reactions in his ears, constantly getting yeasty brown goop out. We ended up finally clearing the infections for good by using an ear flush that has a non-neutral pH (creates an environment in which yeast cannot grow). I'm thinking it was a basic solution, as it felt soapy, and it was about $14 from our vet with no office visit required. We have also used a mixture of water, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball to bring out anything down deep in his ears. Once we knew from an initial swap and inspection of the yeast infection from our vet what was going on, and that our guy was so allergic to the ear drops that he couldn't use them, we were able to keep his ears infection free with over-the-counter ear flushes. More than two years with no ear infections so far. We also found the flushes to help with his ears getting dried out in the winter. Good luck!

 

Have you tried baby benedryl, as opposed to the full strength? A full baby benedryl doesn't have any noticeable effect on my parents' 17 lb pug, but maybe greyhound biochemistry affects how your guy metabolizes it.

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Guest HeatherLee

** also I should mention that I've smelled his ears and they don't have a sour/yeast smell.. but they do smell extra "doggy". Gambler usually has minimal body odor but his ears have a definite wet dog smell when he has problems..

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Guest Johberry

Our boy has chronic ear issues as well and his vet instructed us to use MalAcetic ear cleaner which is a medicated vinegar solution. You can get it through the vet or buy it elsewhere. We use a huge bottle purchased through Amazon.

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I would suspect allergies I have had wonderful results on other breeds prone to ear problems due to allergies. I use a mixture of half vinegar, half hydrogen peroxide and a splash of alcohol. Twice a day. Half of a 25 mg tablet of bendryl (diphenhydramine) 2-3 times a day til it clears also. Haven't had any greyhounds with allergies that affect ears though. Had a grey/shepherd mix that if fed anything with corn in it turned into a itchy stinky ear dog 😀

I would suspect allergies I have had wonderful results on other breeds prone to ear problems due to allergies. I use a mixture of half vinegar, half hydrogen peroxide and a splash of alcohol. Twice a day. Half of a 25 mg tablet of bendryl (diphenhydramine) 2-3 times a day til it clears also.

Edited by Fudge
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Half a benedryl is way too low a dose. I had two dogs with seasonal allergies (which is exactly what this sounds like to me--food allergies don't come and go). My vet had me giving TWO tablets two or three times a day.

 

Try the benedryl (start with one tab, and make sure it isn't a decongestant--just the antihistamine product) and if it helps, it's not ear mites!


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I posted a very similar question a few months ago regarding my cat. He was forever having dirty ears with brown discharge. It looked dark brown, so I thought it HAD to be ear mites. I took him in for a ear cytology, and everything was negative. I was adamant that they run the test again, because the cat was in real distress. He was shaking his head constantly. Over the next few months, we went back and forth with a hypoallergenic diet, regular cleanings with ph balance cleanser, antibiotics, repeat cytology tests, and on and on and on. The one thing that finally worked for him was the BNT paraffin ear treatments. Your vet just puts the medication in their ears- one and done. My cat will sometimes get flare-ups every six months or so, but we go back for another BNT, and he's good for awhile.

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Guest HeatherLee

Thanks for all the great recommendations. I'm pretty sure it's allergies too. I know many of you recommended Benadryl but he can't take that, as I've said before, it makes him quite insane.

 

I've thought about the vinegar/water ear wash but I'm concerned that since his ears are irritated, a little raw,and scratched that the vinegar will just burn?

 

Also he's on a grain and corn free diet already.

Edited by HeatherLee
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It might be the protein source or something else in his food that's the issue, doesn't have to be grains :)

Edited by turbotaina


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Perhaps consider asking your vet if Gambler needs an appt. now (before you attempt to self-treat). If so, ask if you can pay the bill next week (or hold off on charging your credit card until next week)?

 

It could be something more serious like a ruptured eardrum, or a serious infection that requires prescription medication. In the meantime, please don't let him go swimming.

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Just wanted to mention the rec Benadryl dose---it will seem lot a lot compared to the standard human dose. It's 1mg/lb every 8 hours. So a 75lb dog could potentially take 75mgs 3 times daily. Of course you could always start with a lower dose and increase to effectiveness. I do find other antihistamines more effective towards seasonal/environmental allergies--my boy's derm vet is fond of Allergra. Never give any antihistamine with a decongestant.

Also wanted to comment that the BNT ointment that was previously mentioned is fantastic. Rec it highly.

To the op-sorry to say I believe you need to see your veterinarian. You really should have an ear cytology done so you know exactly which organism to attack.

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It might be the protein source or something else in his food that's the issue, doesn't have to be grains :)

i know a saluki who was tested up the wazoo - he had non- stop ear infections. they looked for bacteria, mites, fungus, etc finally foods. chicken and an other form of protein were the culprits. the ear needed to be surgically cleaned-flushed/dried and he was eventually on a limited diet. you can save hundreds of dollars by reducing foods to just one ingredient- start w/ rice and wait and see, then add one source of protein and wait. but i agree w/ the others who state that you need to consult w/ your vet. it's prime allergy season and it's difficult to pin-point the culprit when there are so many allergens in the environment. as in children could there be a minimal amount of fluid w/ bacteria left in the ear canal and that flares up again? that's what happened to dd when she was in nursery school. only a vet will be able to tell.....best of luck, it took me 2 years to conquer one of my salukis ear infections, it was small and slow growing and with their drop ear a perfect place for bacteria to grow. one of the simple flushes did the trick.

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