Yes! Cleaning and caring for your pet's ears are important ways to reduce the chance for ear infections and excess wax build up. Routine cleaning and at-home examination lets you detect any infections or other problems early.
If you suspect your pet already has an ear problem, visit your veterinarian immediately. Prompt treatment offers a better prognosis, reduces the potential for chronic disease, hearing loss, and gives earlier relief for any discomfort your pet may have. Any discharge, odor, excess scratching, pawing, or rubbing at the ears, redness, pain, swelling, or masses may indicate an infection or other abnormality.
"Hot spots" are also known as "acute moist pyoderma". What that means is that they are rapidly appearing, oozing, skin infections. This is just a description of a symptom, sort of like saying "your dog has scabs". A hot spot starts because something irritates the dog's skin. The body's response is to either itch or create an inflammatory response at the site. In cases of itching, the dog then rubs, licks or chews the site and adds to the problem. These sores can develop into severe problems in an hour or two at times. The most common irritants are probably fleas and allergies. These cause the itching that leads to the skin infection.
There are many other possible sources of irritation... tick bites, besetting, burrs, mats, mosquitos, summer heat and other problems all contribute to the initial irritation that can develop into a hot spot. The best treatment for these is prevention. Keep fleas off your dog. Groom and bathe your dog as necessary. If allergies are a problem for your dog, work with your vet to control the itching they cause. In some dogs, all of this won't be enough and you will occasionally see hot spots anyway. The first step in treating a hot spot is to get it dry. Bacteria like the hot moist environment of irritated skin. Using something to dry the sore makes it harder for bacteria to grow. Clipping the hair over and around a hot spot can help a great deal in allowing it to dry. There are lots of astringents that will help dry the sore, as well. My favorite is NeoPredef powder because it dries the sore, has an antibiotic that acts locally and a corticosteroid to control the itching and inflammation. Butadiene solution is a good antiseptic.
The most important step in treatment of hot spots is to immediately stop the pet from further licking and chewing of the spot. In severe cases, a veterinarian may suggest the use of an Elizabethan collar to prevent mutilation and give the spot a chance to heal. If the hot spot doesn't respond very quickly to efforts to keep it dry, then you should seek help from your vet. Small areas of acute moist pyoderma can become large area quickly. Some dogs will continue to dig and scratch until they really damage their own skin. Your vet can help make your dog comfortable pretty quickly in most cases.
Aside from an accumulation of dirt, a persistent and unpleasant doggie odor could be caused by many factors including dental disease, ear infections, or oily skin. A closer look at your dog may help you find the problem.
Look in your dog's mouth. Are the teeth discolored? Do you sniff more than the usual "doggie breath?" If so, a visit to the veterinarian for a dental checkup and treatment is in order. Your veterinarian can also explain how you can clean your dog's teeth to help protect against future dental disease. Ear infections are frequently the cause of an offensive odor, especially among long-eared and floppy-eared dogs. The inside of the ear becomes moist and hot, providing the perfect environment for infections. Take a close look inside your dog's ears. Is the skin red and sore? Does the dog cry out in pain as you try to examine the ears? Does the ear canal have a bad odor? Any of these may be warning signs of an ear infection which should be treated by a veterinarian. Do you feel a slight greasiness on your hands after you pet your dog? This may be an indication of seborrhea, a common skin disorder in dogs. These dogs have excess production of sebum, a normal product of the skin glands. The result can be flaky dandruff or an oily, waxy feel to the hair coat and a strong odor. Seborrhea may also dispose a dog to skin and ear infections. Frequent bathing with a medicated shampoo recommended by your veterinarian can help prevent much of the odor. One other possibility for your dog's odor may be its rear end.
Infection or improper emptying of the anal glands can cause odor and discomfort to the dog and a trip to the veterinarian is in order. Longhaired dogs sometimes have a soiled rear from defecating. Without daily brushing, the rear can become matted and smelly. Monthly clipping around the rear end helps, as do daily brushing and grooming. Once you have investigated the cause of your dog's odor you can begin to help control it. Enlist the aid of your veterinarian in identifying the problem, treating it, if necessary, and controlling it in the future. Never forget the importance of grooming on a regular basis. It is essential to keep a hair coat healthy by removing scale, dirt and dead hair; distributing the natural oils throughout the coat and preventing mats and tangles in long hair.
Ticks carry a number of diseases, some of which do have zoonotic potential (can be transmitted to people). It is best to use one of the products that kills the ticks continuously without much intervention on your part. The risk is not high but there is some risk for diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever when ticks are brought into the household by a family pet.
Nearly every puppy is born with roundworms contracted from its mother. These worms can be transmitted to people, especially children. Most infections in people are so mild as to cause no signs at all, but the potential for severe illness exists. Migrating worms may damage the liver, eyes or brain. Because the eggs are transmitted in the puppy's stool, sanitation is essential; feces should be removed and disposed of daily and everyone who handles the puppy should wash their hands frequently. This is especially important in young children, who often put their fingers in their mouths. Protect yourself by having your veterinarian test several stool samples from your new puppy, and do yearly tests on adult dogs. Some veterinarians prescribed regular dewormings even in the face of negative stool tests because of these risks.
Ringworm is not a worm at all, but a fungal infection of the skin. It can be difficult to diagnose in animals, as the lesions do not look the same from case to case. Some animals, especially cats, can carry the fungus in their hair coat without showing signs of itching, scaly skin, and hair loss. In people, the classic lesion is a raised, reddened, and itchy "ring."
Another zoonotic skin condition in dogs is sarcoptic mange or scabies. This mite burrows under the skin, and causes severe itching, scabs, and hair loss. In extreme cases, the dog may even have a generalized illness. Skin scrapings to find and identify the mite are often negative. In humans, a pinpoint red rash is often found on the chest and abdomen.
Treatment in dogs includes multiple dips to kill the mites, and medications for itching and secondary infections. A new injectable drug, ivermectin, can be used to treat mange, although it is not yet approved for this use, and should not be used in Collie dogs. Protect yourself by having suspect skin lesions examined and treated by your veterinarian. Fungal cultures may be the only way to confirm a case of ringworm. Skin scraping tests should be done when mange is suspected, even though the results may be false. Suspected cases of ringworm or mange should be treated even if unconfirmed to prevent the spread of these diseases.
Pet owners should be informed about the risks of zoonotic diseases. Consult your veterinarian and your personal physician whenever you suspect one of these diseases, but do not panic. Early diagnosis and veterinary care, as well as simple precautions, can protect you and your family from most of these diseases, and keep your pets healthier too.
Face it, the flea is a formidable foe that has been hopping about for centuries. Even rabbits envy their reproduction rates. Fleas are generally less than 3/16" long and can jump 150 times their size. That's the equivalent of a person being capable of leaping 1,000 feet in the air!
A flea rarely makes it past its first birthday, but don't drop your guard. Before it heads to flea heaven, a female flea can produce 600 offspring per month for a whopping total of 7,200 fleas during its brief life. Fleas prefer four-legged targets for their blood meals, but if dogs or cats aren't around, you will do quite nicely. Fleas love warm, moist climates. If given a choice, a flea will choose a climate with temperatures rangin between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 to 80 percent humidity.
There are 250 species of fleas in North America. Typical flea population consists of 50% eggs,35% larvae,10% pupae and 5% adult. Typical life cycle from egg to adult varies from two weeks to eight months, depending on the temperature, humidity, food and species. Female fleas lay their tiny white eggs loosely on hairs, feathers or in the habitat of the host. The eggs fall off the host onto the ground, floors, bedding or furniture. After a blood meal, a female flea normally lays about 15-20 eggs per day, up to 600 in a lifetime. Sand and gravel are very suitable for larval development, which is the reason fleas are erroneously called "sand fleas". Adult fleas cannot survive or lay eggs without a blood meal, but may live from two months to one year without feeding.
Although several skin conditions can cause a dog to lick her feet, allergies are commonly at the root of this behavior. Airborne allergens cause atopic dermatitis (or atopy) in dogs. Basically this means that the pollens and molds that cause stuffy noses, sneezing, and respiratory problems in people make dogs itch. Atopic dermatitis is marked by excessive licking, biting, or scratching of the paws, face, armpits, and groin. Plant pollens, molds, dander, dust mites, and even smoke can cause a dog to itch. Some of these allergens are seasonal, but if your dog is allergic to lots of different plant pollens and molds that are present during different seasons, her allergic reactions may span the entire year.
A veterinarian will have to determine if your dog suffers from atopy, a food allergy, or some other skin condition. If atopic allergies are the cause, possible treatments include antihistamines, steroids, and hypoallergenic injections ("allergy shots").
Saliva contains certain enzymes that can stain the fur. When a dog with a light-color coat licks one area excessively, a reddish brown stain develops. Several things can cause this licking behavior. Look for any obvious lesions, such as open sores, on the feet. If you can't find any, he may have allergies.
Dogs who suffer allergies to inhaled pollens, dusts, and molds often lick their feet and rub their face on the side of the couch and on the carpet. These dogs often have staining on their feet. Other less common conditions can also cause a dog to lick his feet. The staining around your pooch's mouth may be because he is salivating more than normal. Excess salivation can be a symptom of gum disease or some other problem inside the mouth. Ask your vet to examine your dog and discuss the different possible causes for your dog's odd color change.
Information and advice contained on this site is for your consideration only.
Please consult your veterinarian for specific advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet.