Ear and skin problems are very common in our dogs this time of year. Many times, the conditions can be related. Breeds – such as hounds, shepherds, bull dogs, collies and vizslas – all have completely different ears. Many things can alter a dog’s PH in the ear, such as mites, allergies or infections like bacteria or yeast. Owners may see their dog scratching at its ears, rubbing them on the floor or against furniture, or their pet might have smelly ears and possible discharge. It is recommended to see a veterinarian to address the problem. The doctor will do a physical exam and usually ear cytology to determine what may be the cause of a problem. The vet might send the owner home with ear cleaner and medication. Before leaving, the owner should ask questions and have a good understanding of how to treat the problem. Technicians have many tricks to accomplish ear treatments; follow their instructions and always recheck if advised or if problems get worse.

Skin problems also are common this time of year. Many medical concerns can be related to skin problems including thyroid, diabetes and food allergies to name a few. Dogs shed year-round; however, they molt (replace their entire coat) twice a year, usually in the summer and fall in our area. A normal hair coat should be thick, shiny, no patches of hair missing or broken hairs. Poor hair coats, scabs, scales, dandruff, moist itchy areas, inflammation, alopecia (hair loss), skin parasites or allergies of the skin are all things owners should watch for. If they notice anything out of the ordinary, owners should consult with their pet’s veterinarian.

Heather Muller, Bob’s House for Dogs Medical Coordinator