What's going on with our new dog's health?
February 27, 2012 6:53 PM   Subscribe

What is this injury in our new dog's ear?

Our new dog, Dodger came from a local shelter. He had been there almost 4 months. He has a strange little injury in one of his ears. We noticed it about two weeks ago shortly after we adopted him. We took him to the vet and she said his ears were not infected, very clean and that aside from being too skinny he is very healthy.

He was having diarrhea before the vet and after some tests she said he had bacteria overgrowth and put him on a bland diet (chicken and rice we cooked for him) and antibiotics. His poop got better BUT the thing in his ear seems maybe less red than before but it hasn't gone away. After finishing his antibiotics and going on normal food he's back to having diarrhea again too. He is eating, drinking and not throwing up, has lots of energy, just having loose stools.

Are these things related? What is this thing in his ear? We've gone back to the bland diet but do we need to go back to the vet?

Ear thing
Ear thing another view
posted by Saminal to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There isn't anything more troubling than wounds and illnesses in a pup (or kitty, or bird, or snake)... especially when the pkbors is fairly new.

I am not a vet...but, I would suggest the following... give the poops a few days (if food and water intake seems normal and there are no other signs of the pup not feeling well). As for the ear wound, I would rub some Neosporin on it for a week or so and see if it heals....
posted by HuronBob at 7:09 PM on February 27, 2012

It looks like a mole-type thing my childhood dog had once. The vet didn't call it a mole, though. Some sort of growth? Anyway, my parents had it removed and my pup didn't suffer any ill effects from the surgery.

The vet saw it and didn't seem concerned? There's nothing wrong with getting a second opinion if you're worried about it, or asking your vet to take another look at it.
posted by cooker girl at 7:21 PM on February 27, 2012

I am of three minds:
---- It could be the home of a ginormous mite.
---- It could be a blood blister or a minor fat deposit.
---- It could be a wart or a mole.

Did your vet lance it or anything? How come it's bleeding? Have you tried putting a match to it to see if it's home to a weird tick?

BTW, if you google Dog Ear Parasites, you find a plethora of nightmare inducing photos. Thank god your doggie is amazingly cute, because I am definitely scarred for life.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 7:23 PM on February 27, 2012

Best answer: Did your vet even tell you to clean the ear, or put some neosporin on it? It's definitely weird, and could be a growth, but it also kind of looks like maybe a spider or nasty ant bite. I'd put neosporin on it for a couple of days, checking it each day to see if it's getting better, worse, or not doing anything.

For the poop, get some plain 4% or whole yogurt and canned pumpkin (not pie filling - 100% pumpkin). With his food, give him one blop of each and mix it in. (Blop: soup spoon, maybe on the overfull size if he's big, I can't tell scale very well from that photo) The pumpkin is for fiber, the yogurt is to help restore his intestinal flora. You should see poop improvement after a couple of meals, but I'd keep it up for 5 days and decide from there whether to keep going.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:53 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

So shelter dogs frequently end up with some form of Mange (which is a small mite) it could be a bite from that. Puppy's also sometimes get bumps in their ears called "Histiocytoma" which is a benign growth.

As an SF Giants season ticket holder I could also say you've misnamed him but I don't think that causes ear growths ;-)

I will say this, IANAV (just a long time dog owner) and I know dogs do get a lot of strange growths many of which are meaningless. This could be an infection causing his digestive issues, but I think those might be more related to diet issues or a separate ailment (he could just be adjusting to new food some dogs are more sensitive then others).
posted by bitdamaged at 8:15 PM on February 27, 2012

Best answer: With regards to the loose poop, I just went through this with my 12-year-old lab. She had a bad allergic reaction to a grain-free food that I was ironically switching her to because of her allergies. After fasting her for two days (which usually rests the digestive track enough to get her settled) and reintroducing her to her former food, she still had loose stool. The vet prescribed the same thing you did for your dog -- bland diet and antibiotics. She was fine on the antibiotics, but when I tried to get her off the bland diet and back on kibble, the diarrhea came back. I talked to my vet and he said it was likely that the weeks of inflammatory bowel disease caused her intestinal flora to get out of whack. He prescribed probiotics and bland diet (again). I recently started mixing her bland diet with a prescription low-fat gastrointestinal food from the vet and made the full switch to the gastro food a few days ago and so far, so good. (When I tried getting her on the gastro before -- which is supposed to be easy on their tummies -- the diarrhea flared up.)

All this is to say that it might be a bacterial imbalance. Ask your vet about a probiotic for your dog. I didn't even have to take her in for a second appointment; since the vet had already seen her and the dog tested negative for parasites, I just had to drop by and pick up the prescription.

As for the ear, does your dog scratch her ears a lot or shake her head with a considerable amount of force? My dog does that at times when her ears are bothering her (allergies) and she sometimes gets a little sore or cut near the base of her ear that looks an awful lot like your pictures. They take forever to heal because every time she scratches or shakes her head, the wound re-opens. Polysporin usually helps.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 8:43 PM on February 27, 2012

Sorry, I just saw that Dodger is a boy. Replace "she" with "he" above. Also, digestive tract. I'm tired.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 8:45 PM on February 27, 2012

Ask the vet about previous injuries - it could be a scar. Our lab got an infection inside the skin of her ear once, and after cleaning it out the vet sewed it in such a way that the skin wouldn't totally close back up. I can't remember all the details of why, but that reminds me of how hers looks.
posted by TallulahBankhead at 12:25 AM on February 28, 2012

My dog is prone to Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, not saying your dog is in anyway, but it has meant that my dog is very sensitive to packaged foods and stress and so I have become obsessed with watching my dogs poop as he can die if he gets diarrhea (almost has twice and cost us $1000 in vet bills). The only thing I have found to help him was to put him on a very bland chicken, rice and veg diet for life. In your case I would put your dog on the bland diet until his stomach settles then you can then slowly reintroduce the dogs regular food by mixing it with the chicken & rice mixture and slowly increasing the regular food ratio. A lot of dogs get tummy upsets from changes in food and in life in general and these can take a few months to settle down.

Tinned pumpkin is an amazingly affective treatment for diarrhea in dogs, you want plain tinned pumpkin with no pie spices or anything in but plain pumpkin and feed it to your dog. I mix it with the chicken and rice, but if you want to try it first just mix it with his normal food. I was told there is a hormone in it that makes the dogs digestive tract work better, I don't know if that is true but it sure helps with diarrhea, feed it morning and night for a couple of days, it is my stand by when my little guy has an attack coming on. If you can't find tinned boil or steam some fresh and mash it for the same effect.
posted by wwax at 7:00 AM on February 28, 2012

Response by poster: OK we are keeping bland diet and adding in pumpkin and yogurt which I had never heard of doing before but is an awesome idea.

As far as the ear goes I cleaned it really well, added some antibiotic ointment and am keeping an eye on it. The vet did say his paw pads were red and seemed itchy and that maybe he had allergies. He DOES shake and scratch his ears a lot so I am starting to suspect this is a small annoyance that he keeps scratching. We are keeping a close eye on it.

Thanks Metafilter!
posted by Saminal at 9:56 AM on February 28, 2012

With regard to the loose stool: when we adopted our dog Agatha back in July she had some issues in that department, that was, at least, until we had fully transitioned her to the dog food that we had our other dog Watson on, which is grain-free. I also had a friend that recently adopted a dog and had the same problem, until I recommended that she try switching her to grain-free, and she hasn't had any problems since with regard to that issue. I don’t know what you are currently feeding him as far as with dog food, but if it isn't grain-free I would definitely recommend going in that direction. We feed ours Taste of the Wild, which isn't much more than something like Iams, and they love it! The only problem is that you can't just pick it up at some place like Petco or Wal-mart with your other groceries. Not only is it better for their overall health, their allergies and life expectancy, you get a couple of other awesome benefits like firm poops, and less poops overall. I realize that I sound like an informercial right now, but its worked out great for us and our friends. Our dogs are healthier in general, have nice shiny coats, have gained weight and we don't have any awful to clean up messes in the house. If its still an issue, mixing in the pumpkin puree that has been recommended and some plain yogurt will help out with the digestive tract and is easy on the stomach.

I am also kind of surprised that the vet didn't recommend the Hill's Prescription Diet i/d canned food, its good for their intestinal and digestive health as well. We've been mixing that with our Agatha's food after a couple of weeks of her throwing up off and on that had me worried, its been a couple of months on that and we haven't had any additional problems there either.

My guess would be that the ear thing is unrelated, and if it were infected I would think that the round of antibiotics would have taken care of any possible infection, unless the antibiotics weren't strong enough or the therapy was not long enough. Does it seem to be releasing any puss or fluids at all? Or is it warm or hot to the touch compared other skin in that area? Does it seem to be painful for him at all? If all of those things were no I would guess it is probably not an infection, however that doesn't mean its totally in the clear. What I would do, since you have already had a visit for that issue, is call the vet and explain that it hasn't gone away and see if they can give you any possibilities for what it may be and if its something you should be worried about. They also may want to see him again, and if that is the case, unless you wholeheartedly trust your vet, I may just take him to another vet for a second opinion.

Hope I've been even slightly helpful, and hope little Dogder feels better soon!
posted by Quincy at 10:41 AM on February 28, 2012

Just realized I posted after you resolved. Whoops.
posted by Quincy at 10:44 AM on February 28, 2012

If he's itching at it, it won't heal correctly. Try having him wear a cone/e-collar for a few days and see if it improves. I like the comfy cone.

Also, seconding pumpkin. That stuff works miracles for a loose-stooled pup.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:44 PM on February 28, 2012

Response by poster: The canned pumpkin+yogurt+rice+chicken worked wonderfully. However, every time we tried to put him back on dog food he would start having diarrhea again AND the thing in his ear would not heal due to scratching.

Turns out our dog has a gluten intolerance! A switch to grain free food and cleaning the ear as mentioned made him unitchy enough to leave it be until it healed.

He poops like a champ now as long as we keep wheat, barley and oatmeal away from him.

Thanks Metafilter!
posted by Saminal at 4:07 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

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