Dog with Smelly Ears
Our dog is constantly shaking her head and has a brown smelly discharge in the ears. We have been using some medicine for ear mites that we got at the store, according to the label directions, but it isn't helping. What should we do?
You should have your dog seen by a veterinarian to examine the entire ear canal and to determine the cause of the discomfort and discharge. If the infection/inflammation continues without clearing up, the dog will develop chronic problems of the ear canal. While dogs (and cats) can get ear mites that will irritate the ears and cause a brown discharge, not all ear irritation is due to ear mites! Ear infections are actually just as common, if not more common, than ear mite infestation. Ear infections can be due to bacterial infections, yeast infections, or combinations of both. Allergies are also implicated in dogs and cats with skin disease and/or chronic ear infections. Other causes of ear discharges, although less likely, are ear canal tumors and ear polyps. Your veterinarian can also take a swab sample of the discharge, examine it under a microscope, and determine the type of infection present. Once the cause of the infection is known, then the proper medication can be dispensed to clear the infection. For dogs with stubborn or recurrent ear infections, a regular ear cleaning/preventative maintenance schedule may also be suggested, along with diet changes and allergy testing.