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Ear yeast infections???? Allergies?

 
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Anita
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PostPosted: 02/27/06, 2:21 pm    Post subject: Ear yeast infections???? Allergies? Reply with quote

Hello everyone.

First of all, I wanted to thank all of you for the wonderful board and postings full of excellent information. Currently we have 3 GWP in addition to 2 mutts that we rescued. The wirehaires are such clowns, I simply love them! I also have to apologize in advance for the length of this post but I am utterly confused and need help.

In the last few weeks I have noticed that one of our female GWP has a little bit of a bold spot underneath her left eye. It didn't look infected or red. It was just missing hair. The other female has very little hair on her ears right next to her scalp. I was worried that it could be mange or somethnig to that effect, so we took both of them to a different vet that the one we normally use as ours was unavaible for a while. The vet told us after looking at the dogs and looking into their ears that the bold spots are a result of the dogs scratching their ears and face due to ear infection.
He put both of the dogs under anasthesia to clean their ears and when we came back to pick them up, he said that their ears where infested with ear mites. I was shocked!
I make it a point of cleaning all of the ears (10 of them Smile ) every week and I never saw mites! Plus all the pups love having their ears cleaned. They did have a brown looking discharge from their ears but I assumed it was just dirt and wax Embarassed But I never saw anything crawling in their ears.
The vet gave us ivermectin drops to put into their ears once a week. I treated them all one time. About a week later, I had to get a hold of our vet and mentioned to her that the pups have ear mites. Her exact words were: "Impossible, dogs don't get ear mites. It has to be yeast infection."

You can imagine my surprise. I didn't know which vet to believe so I decided to conduct a little scientific experiment. I took swabs from all of the dogs' ears and looked at the slides under the microscope: there was no ear mites, no eggs, no larvae, nothing but brown waxy discharge. Still confused I decided to grow cultures and after two days in the incubator, yeast was growing.

The same day I took two pups to see our vet. She cleaned ears of one of them and diagnosed her with yeast infection (she didn't use the otoscope though). She gave me ear cleaning liquid (Malacetic Otic made by Dermapet) to use on all dogs and an antibiotic ointment (Animax Ointment) to use on the ones whose ears looked red.

The vet also mentioned that yeast infection is not contagious so the only reason all of the dogs would have it, would be allergies either food allergies or allergy to a cleaner we use in the house. She also recommended adding flaxseed oil to their diet.

Here are my questions:
1. Is it ear mites or yeast infection? Could the ivermectin have killed all of the ear mites and destroyed the eggs? Could the yeast growing on the plates be a naturally occuring and not a sign of yeast infection? Their ears do have a smell to them but I never thought they stunk.

2. Is it possible for all five dogs to be allergic to the same thing? They do not lick their paws excessively, don't have hot spots, they do scratch their ears and rub their faces with their paws but I never thought that was excessive either but I might be wrong. Should we have the allergy tests done and change their dog food? Other than the ear problem they look healthy, in good shape and have shiny coats.

3. Should we keep treating them for ear mites or yeast or both? (My male GWP, who always loved having his ears cleaned, actually growled at me - he has never done that before - when I used the cleanser from the vet. He seemed to be in a lot of pain and doesn't want me to touch his ears anymore, I manage to put the ointment in but we have to hold him down. The other pups don't seem to be bothered by the new cleanser).

Once again I apologize that this got soooo long and I appreciate everybody's help. Thank you.

Utterly Confused Anita
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cmmilach
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PostPosted: 02/28/06, 11:51 am    Post subject: Ear yeast infections???? Allergies? Reply with quote

Anita,

The brown waxy discharge is caused by yeast. My male wire use to suffer from yeast infections. I switched is food to one that does not have corn or wheat and he has been infection free for years. He is 11 yrs old now. What you are describing (dogs rubbing their faces & ears) is because they itch. The bald spot under your one dog's eye can be cured by using an antibiotic cream.

Hope this helps.

Cathy M.
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Anita
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PostPosted: 02/28/06, 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Cathy.

Also, my husband reminded me that one of our pups loves to lick and chew on the other dogs' ears. Could the yeast infection be spread through that? Wouldn't that cause the ph balance in their ears to change? To be honest, the ear problems didn't start until we got the new pup in December. We do of course get after her for doing that but she manages to snick up on the pups when we can't see her.

We feed the pups Kirkland Signature Chicken & Rice Adult Dog and Kirkland Signature Lamb & Rice Adult Dog. We usually mix the two (I don't even remember why). They seem to really like it and they look healthy except for the ears. I decided to feed them Kirklands after comparing the ingriedient lists on Science Diet, Purina ProPlan, Eukanuba etc. From what I remember very few of them have real meat listed as the main igredient and they do use corn and wheat. Some of the more "exotic" dog foods sound great, but for one we live in the middle of nowhere, and two, the prices on some of those are quite high, usually around $35- $40 for a 30 lb bg. The ingredients in Kirkland brand seemed to me excellent for the price.
Here are the ingredients from the Chicken & Rice label:
chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and Vitamin E), egg product, beet pulp, potatoes, fish meal, flaxseed, natural flavor, brewers dried yeast, millet, carrots, peas, kelp, apples, dried skim milk, cranberry powder, potassium chloride, salt, choline chloride, rosemary extract, parsley flake, dried chickory root, glocosamine hydrochloride, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potasium iodine, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, chondroitin sulfate, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfte, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), vitamin B12 supplement, meadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of vitamin K activity), riboflavin, vitamin D supplement, folic acid.

I don't have the Lamb & Rice label handy but I don't remember seeing any corn or wheat on the label.

I even had our vet look at the ingredient list (before the ear problems) and she said it looked to be a good dog food.

Do you think we should just stick to one of those Chicken & Rice or Lamb & Rice and see what happens? or should we try something totally different?

Once again, sorry this got so long and do appreciate everybody's input and advice.

Anita
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cmmilach
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PostPosted: 03/01/06, 1:57 pm    Post subject: Ear yeast infections???? Allergies Reply with quote

Anita,

I do not feed Kirkland or Sams Club brand of dog food. I have had nothing but health problems with them. They are usually full of fillers like chicken meal (bird parts). Pro Plan has a new brand out that is suppose to be great - it does not have any corn or wheat. Most dogs do not do well on any type of grain.

Both my dogs eat Nutro Ultra Holistic - it is about $35.00 a bag - I purchase it at PetSmart or Petco.

Hope you find something that works for you. I know how expensive it can be but the continual ear infections can cause more problems.

Also, you mentioned that the one puppy likes to lick the other dogs ears - too much moisture causes the yeast infection. You can try spraying the other dog's ear flaps with Binaca (breath spray) Just spray the outside of the ear flap - dogs do not like the taste but it is harmless.

Cathy
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FCwire
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PostPosted: 03/02/06, 6:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Ear mites vs. yeast Reply with quote

Hi Cathy, just responding to your post about ear mites vs. yeast. It surely is possible for dogs, espeacially puppies, to have ear mites. It is also possible that the ivermectin cleared things up - your vet should have had the common sense to look at the original swab under a microscope, and you were right to do so as well. Mites can be hard to see, though yeast is easier - appearing on a gram stain as "little snowmen" (see http://www.nriah.com/oldsite/Treatment/Care_sheets/Ear_Infections_in_Dogs.htm, for the best picture I could find). As with many infections, ear infections are often caused by a couple of things acting at once. I realize it is winter, and Colorado is dry and cool these days, but yeast tends to like a warm, moist environment - espeacially dog ears. It can be brought on by a variety of things, including food allergies, frequent swimming, and a primary bacterial infection. My most commonly advised first treatment for yeasty ears is a 10-20% mixture of household vinegar and water (ie 1 part vinegar, 9 parts water). This can be done for about two weeks before trying food allergy screening, 1-2 times a day depending on how bad the ears are. Make sure to thoroughly dry the ears afterwards. The foot licking can also be a result of yeast infection, and again, keeping them dry and potentially wiping them every once in a while with the vinegar mixture may help. Food allergies are a much harder problem to tackle - talk to your vet about this more, I never was good at treating them! It does seem weird that all dogs are affected, this points to a more common environmental allergy, though why all dogs are allergic is beyond me. My wire has very hairy ears - this doesn't help air the ears out at all, and I anticipate him having problems if not cared for as the swim season arrives. It is important to pay attention to bad ears, as if left unchecked, chronic inflammation can lead to permanent closure of the ear canal and even cancer - adenocarcinoma being the most common. This is a frequent problem in Cocker spaniels especially.
Good luck....
-Nick
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Anita
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PostPosted: 03/02/06, 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FCwire and Cathy,

Thank you for your posts. I will keep treating the dogs according to the vet's instructions (clean every other day and put the drops in twice a day) for the next week or and then we'll go from there. I will also try the breath spray on their ears so the female won't lick their ears. I'm also switching their food to a single protein one instead of mixing the formulas and we'll see what that does.

The dogs don't seem to mind their ears cleaned any more. They don't enjoy it as much as they used but they don't seem to be in pain anymore.
But last night I noticed a little bit of blood on the tissue when I cleaned their ears. Should I be concerned with that?

FCwire, do you think I shoul treat them with Ivermectin once again just a precaution (I was worried about the interaction between Ivermectin and the Animax ointment).

Cathy, you recommended putting an antibiotic ointment on the areas where the hair is sparse, but I am not sure which one, there are so many out there, any recommendations?

Once again, thank you for your advice. It's nice to know that people understand my worries.

Little less confused Anita
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FCwire
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PostPosted: 03/03/06, 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Anita, sorry I got your names confused - the order of replies and questions got confusing. I would not be too concerned about the blood, as long as it was only a small amount and the dogs don't seem to mind the ear cleanings. If things seem more painful, or if the bleeding becomes more pronounced, then try to figure out what's going on - at this point it's likely inflammation and the results of your diligent cleanings. As far as giving ivermec again, I would at least be sure it's been 2-3 weeks since the last dose, and as long as the dosing was within reason it should be fine. There should be no harm in any reaction with the Animax - that is simply a topical mixed antibiotic and has little systemic affect. Talk to the breeders as well, to see if they have any advice on ear clipping, plucking, etc. as most likely they have dogs with ear problems too and probably have their own tricks of the trade!
-N
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Anita
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PostPosted: 03/03/06, 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nick,
Thank you again for your advice. The dogs were treated with Ivermectin 2 weeks ago (5 drops in each ear). I will do it again then this weekend just to make sure there is no ear mites left. And don't worry about getting the names confused.

Have a great weekend,

Anita
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cmmilach
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PostPosted: 03/03/06, 10:59 am    Post subject: Ear yeast infections???? Allergies? Reply with quote

Anita,

I just use a human antibotic - like a triple antibotic oinment.

Cathy
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PostPosted: 03/14/06, 2:50 pm    Post subject: Ear Yeast Infections Reply with quote

Yeast infections in the ears of German Wirehaired Pointers are very common and can be controlled. This process will require your commitment to see it to its conclusion. The ear will have an odder along with a dark brown tar like discharge and may be inflamed. Your dog must be taken to the Vet, it will need a steroid shot to reduce the inflammation, and control itch, ensure that the eardrum is in tact (head shaking) and some type of antibiotic to foil the yeast infection. Follow your Vets treatment plan.

Maintaining a Yeast free ear:
Remove all, I repeat remove all hair from the ear inter earflap and ear canal. I have found the best way and safest way to do this is to pull the hair out using the thumb and forefinger covered with cotes (Finger condoms). The latex in the cotes enables you to hold on the hair and remove it. Removing the hair growth will allow air into the ear. Wipe down the earflap with Witch Hazel. Clean the ear canal with Q-Tips but do not over strip the ear. (DO NOT use Witch Hazel in the ear canal) I have found that this ear grooming is required about every eight months.
I then treat the ear with an antibiotic. I started with a treatment once a week and found that it keep the ears infection free. After a month of once a week treatments I went to once every two weeks with the same results. I now treat the dogs once a month with the same infection free ears. I use a product call Mometamax™ you must have a prescription for this and it has been outstanding controlling the yeast infections. Mometamax™ maintains an environment in the ear canal that yeast cannot live in. The ear canal should only be cleaned with a dry Q-Tip lightly. ZYMOX OTIC is also a good choice and is available without a prescription, with or without hydrocortisone. Remember once you find what will work for your dog do not over clean the ears, this can lead to secondary bacterial infections. Once you have this infection under control you will see much happier dog. I hope this may help you and your dog or lead you in the right direction.

Best of luck
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Illona
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PostPosted: 04/14/06, 8:14 am    Post subject: Re: Ear yeast infections???? Allergies? Reply with quote

Hi Anita....i'm coming in late on this discussion, and will probably find out that your dogs' ears have all cleared up by now. but i just wanted to say: (a) ear mites can't be seen except under a microscope, (b) if all dogs present with the same symptoms, it's almost definitely ear mites which are highly transferable, and (c) the vet who said dogs don't get ear mites...well, i'd be finding another vet PRONTO! i'm sorry, i'm just sick of vets who aren't up to speed or who dispense wrong information. in fact, my last dog got ear mites from a kitten we brought into the home who had them. my dog had a major infestation in his ears within that first week. highly transmittable.

your vet's statement that dogs don't get ear mites is the probably the most ridiculous thing i've heard! that's like saying, dogs don't get fleas!

illona
www.flickr.com/photos/illonahaus
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Anita
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PostPosted: 04/15/06, 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Illona,

I had the same reaction to my vet's statement I did just that. I changed the vet. We did look at the ear swab under the microscope and there was no ear mites there.
Their ears cleaned up eventually, but now 2 of the dogs have a little brown tar like discharge in just one ear each. It started again after the female wire was liking and chewing on the male's ear. What a strange dog... Anyhow, I started treating them again with the ointment I got from the vet and we'll see.
Also, we discovered that one of our females is allergic to wheat. We cut all of the treats that contain wheat (there is no wheat in their dog food) and she quit leaking her feet. She is one of the dogs that still has a little discharge from one ear and I think it still maybe her body trying to deal with the wheat.
I now bake their treats with oat, barley and rye flour. They love them!

Once again, thank you all for your help.
Anita
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Illona
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PostPosted: 04/15/06, 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

>We did look at the ear swab under the microscope and there was no ear mites there.

well, it could just be yeast then....yeast thrives with dogs on diets heavy in grains and sugars. i also got yeasty ears on my GWP girl with chicken...she no longer gets chicken. i feed both my dogs raw now because i was having no success with a variety of top-of-the-line holistic kibbles. been feeding raw 3 years now. lots of raw-feeding photos and descriptions on my photo site... www.flickr.com/photos/illonahaus ...the raw-feeding 'set' is farther down on the left.

if it IS yeast you're dealing with you could try a very VERY simple and inexpensive (under $5) formula called "blue power"...a combination of boric powder, alcohol and gentian violet. ALL can be gotten through your pharmacist. you can read more about it on this site: http://itsfortheanimals.com/ ...just follow the links to "blue power ear treatment". i used to buy the stuff, but now make it at a fraction of the cost myself. i've used it in the past with great success, but haven't had any need for a long time.

>Also, we discovered that one of our females is allergic to wheat.

a lot of dogs are, unfortunately. they're simply not meant to eat grains. although some dogs can 'tolerate' grains better than others, dogs really aren't designed to digest and utilize grains. i've done a lot of research into canine diets, and it's a common belief that grains and the sugars they produce are the cause of a lot of the cancer we're seeing in dogs today....along with over-vaccination. but i'll refrain from the horror stories.

>She is one of the dogs that still has a little discharge from one ear and I think it still maybe her body trying to deal with the wheat.

it may take some time for her to 'detox' from the wheat. if you're already seeing improvement, that's awesome!

>I now bake their treats with oat, barley and rye flour. They love them!

i do the same. i use oat flour and oats. sometimes i'll buy a very small bag of holistic, grain-free kibble and use that as treats when i'm too lazy to bake. i used to have all kinds of yeast problems with my girl's ears. her ears are clear now, but i still think i might be dealing with a yeast issue on her skin....i'm waiting for skin biopsy results...

glad you switched vets, anita. Smile

all the best to you and your pack,
illona
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