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German Shepherd Dog > GSD with itchy ears or is it allergies? (14 replies)

by miss deb on 23 January 2012 - 02:01

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Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 02:03 am
oh boy....our 5 yr old gsd female has been suffering for 15 months with itchy ears.... and a bit of chewing on her belly and paws We have been to different vets....the ears are clear no infection no yeast no mites....just inflamed from all the scratching and they thought she had developed food we tried so many different ones for a couple of months with no improvement....even the high priced hypoallergenic Royal Canin difference whatsoever....So we are now back to the original food and treating the symptoms with Vanectyl P ....  I am debating about a raw diet for her...anybody have a recipe... Allergy testing is only 70% accurate according to the vet and then you are into shots weekly and they may not identify all of her allergies
This poor animal has suffered enough....Can anybody help.

by markk on 23 January 2012 - 02:01

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Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 01:06 am
What are you feeding her right now ?

by trixx on 23 January 2012 - 03:01

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i would try a fish, duck or venison food.

by animules on 23 January 2012 - 03:01

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Have her tested for allergies then you would know for sure.  I thought my girl had grain allergies, nope, something else.  For her itchy ears Gentizol drops have worked well.

Good luck, I know how maddening it can be to try and figure out.

by mentayflor on 23 January 2012 - 03:01

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Hi Miss deb, I think while veterinarians look for the cause, you can attack symptoms. For any problem i use a champoo whit benzoyl peroxide or a cream with corticoids and antibiotics. I think it could be an allergy problem. Suddenly my pup began with a rancid smell, so that I bathed him with the shampoo and fortunatelly I was able to solve the problem. Of course if you are not familiar wtih these products you may call your vet up and ask him. The main problem is that if he continue scratching he could run the risk of causing aericular hematoma and break the cartilague. Way for more replys with  more experiences.And good luck!

by TingiesandTails on 23 January 2012 - 04:01

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Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:43 am
I would try to leave grain, chicken, colours, additives like vitamins and minerals and preservatives out of the menu and choose a limited ingredients food with natural vitamins from vegetables and fruit with Neuseeland lamb or fish (no farmed fish) if you want to stay with dry. I prefer raw green tripe, which I find has the least amount of allergenes (but it depends on how the cattle was fed /medicated) and only had good experiences with it.

by miss deb on 23 January 2012 - 04:01

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Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2012 02:03 am
Thank you all for your replies...I do appreciate it

Trixx - I have tried all those foods....for 2 months at a time....this has been going on for 15 months!

Markk - We have put her back on her original food TLC from the breeder

Mentayflor - her ears have been checked by the vet - no infection no yeast no mites no smell no drainage 

Animules - The vet wasn't too supportive of allergy testing 70% accuracy - plus no guarantee that all of her allergies would be captured. So frustrating.

by Bundishep on 23 January 2012 - 06:01

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Joined: Wed Nov 10, 2010 03:54 am

Any chance of small foxtails ? Did you put oil in ear to help shake out any foreign object, sounds like you already checked for ear mites?

by SitasMom on 23 January 2012 - 06:01

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hook worms?

by AnnM on 23 January 2012 - 11:01

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Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:51 am
Realise you say not mites etc but this might be worth a try as it really helps

by Rik on 23 January 2012 - 15:01

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Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 03:41 am

I tried raw with chicken in the past and had 2 different dogs exhibit allergy symptoms. would be interested if anyone else has noticed this.

as for ears, I have used zymox,,  in the past with very good success for itchy ears. one a shiz tsu with chronic allergies.


by Sunsilver on 23 January 2012 - 16:01

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Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 09:04 pm
My female was showing allergy symptoms. I changed the food, and was successful in eliminating most of the symptoms except the ear scratching.

I cleaned the ears REALLY thoroughly with mineral oil and q-tips, then applied Surulan to the ear, making sure the exposed part of the leather was treated as well as deeper inside the ear.

Symptoms improved right away!

Even if there is no infection, scabs from scratching fall down inside the ear and irritate it. The problem becomes self-perpetuating.

I'm one of those people who's not afraid to clean really deep inside the ear. It saves the expense of the vet doing an ear flushing. Here's what I do.

(These instructions are not aimed specifically at the OP, who says her dog has been checked for infection and ear mites.)

Find a nice, sunny spot in the house. Get a bunch of Q-tips, some mineral oil and some paper towels or tissues. Soak both ends of the Q-tips in the oil, then set them aside. Put some oil on a tissue or towel, wrap it around your finger, and wipe the inside of the ear as best you can. You'll be surprised at how much dirt there is. Don't be upset if you see blood. You've probably just dislodge a scab from a small cut the dog caused when it was scratching, or you may be dealing with ear mites, which are usually the other cause of bleeding! (The reason I'm so good at this is we had a cat for 17 years. And for 17 years, he had ear mites, so his ears needed regular cleaning about once a month!)

Then, use the Q-tips to clean out all the nooks and crannies you couldn't reach with the paper towel. Carefully go deep inside the ear canal, too. It's over an inch long, and a lot of dreck can get lodged down inside there, and cause horrible itching. If the dog is fairly co-operative, you may even be able to see it, with the help of the bright sunlight.

I know doctors say not to use Q-tips, but I've been doing this for over 40 years, both with my own ears and my pets, and have yet to cause any damage.

If the ear has a foul or yeasty odour to it, you are dealing with an infection, and you need to take the dog to the vet for treatment.

Finish off by applying Surulan (or other veterinary ear drop) to the inside of the ear. Make sure you treat the upper part of the ear (the part you can see easily when the ears are erect) as well as the ear canal. If you don't have ear drops, and the ear is very inflamed and raw from scratching, some polysporin ointment would help. A hydrocortisone ointment, available over the counter, will also help reduce inflamation and itching.  Don't put ointment deep inside the canal, though, as, unlike eardrops, it will likely stay there and may interfere with the dog's hearing.  Just apply it to the visible raw spots.

The main problem with ear care is most people just want to get it over with as quickly as possible, and they just shoot some eardrops into the ear, without really LOOKING at what is going on! If there's visible dirt there, you need to CLEAN it! A dirty ear, full of scabs, wax, and ear mite excrement is NOT going to stop itching, no matter what you do to it!

by hunger4justice on 24 January 2012 - 19:01

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Zymox with and without Hydrocortisone is a lifesaver and a must for sensitive ears.

I hate to say but Royal Canin, hypoallergenic is not a good food and there is no assurance that the undientified oils or potato are not from genetically modified products which a notorious for causing allergies. TLC has both wheat and corn, though it is probably a better food than RC if a dog does not have allergies.

I would try to go to either raw or cooked at home and NEVER use Canola oil and try the Zymoz it is fantastic.

by Rass on 24 January 2012 - 19:01

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Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:24 am
If you take the ear between your forefinger and thumb and rub it does the dog have a pedal pinna reflex (hind foot come off the ground in a rapid scratching motion)?  If that happens, you may want to put your dog on Revolution with an initial dose as directed by your vet followed by another dose in 14 days and then monthly.  Pedal pinna reflex is a sign of mange mites.. and general itching. 

THAT being said, I did all this and the dog STILL itches.  I gave her a course of Prednisone that settled her itching for the course and for a week after.. and she is back itching.  Since the course of pred gave her relief, she likely does not have Food Allergy.  If you have tried a course of Prednisone and your dog has found relief, your dog likely does not have a food allergy either. 

I changed the food anyway.. and (as expected) she is still itchy. 

This leaves you with an inhalent type allergy (atopy).  Unfortunately, our breed is prone to allergies and those who breed dogs that are "perfect in every way EXCEPT the dog has allergies" do not help to eradicate the problem!  Allergies are an indication of an immune system issue (allergies are an inappropriate immune response to an allergen).

At this point you can go to a canine allergist and MAYBE figure out what the dog is allergic to.  If you are LUCKY you may find the dog allergic to something you can eliminate from her environment.  That is often NOT the case... the dog is allergic to cat dander or dust mites or grass.  At this point you can try desensitizing shots (just like people get) and try to work thru the allergies that way.  They do not have a great track record of working. 

Antihistamines also do not have a great track record in canines.  However, you can try both these things.  Fact is, you can talk to your vet about trying antihistamines and you may be lucky and have a dog that responds. 

Canine allergies is a very frustrating thing to deal with both as an owner and as a veterinarian.  I am not sure any of what I have shared here will help you.  I hope it will. 

LAST but not least, SOME dogs "outgrow" allergies.  If you are lucky that may happen.  Other dogs get worse. 

by starrchar on 25 January 2012 - 22:01

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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 02:20 am
From Rik "I tried raw with chicken in the past and had 2 different dogs exhibit allergy symptoms. would be interested if anyone else has noticed this."

I feed a raw diet. I started feeding my female raw due to allergies and terrible itchiness, after trying numerous high quality, single protein and exotic protein kibbles. In the beginning she couldn't eat raw chicken as it would make her itchy. Anything else was fine.

One medication that worked to help get my dog to stop scratching was Temaril P. It is almost miraculous. It just shouldn't be used long term. My dog is off all anti-itch, anti-allergy medication now, has been for a long time.

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