New black scab on tip of dog's ear?
December 18, 2017 12:32 PM   Subscribe

My little pup has developed a funky black scab on the tip of his ear (the pinna, the corner bit at the end of his semi-erect pointy ears). It's small (~3-4 mm) and kind of looks like a scab or necrosed skin. There's no hair covering it. I've been watching it for a couple of weeks to see if it changes but it's stayed the same. We have a vet appt in a few days, but wondering if you have any insight you can share in the meantime?

He has it just on one side and it's not bleeding. He hasn't been bitten by any other animals (e.g., in the park) and it doesn't look like fly strike (it's far too cold for flies anyway). He hasn't been out long enough for it to be frostbite. He is on flea/worm control and has had no changes to diet or other potential allergens lately. We did have a mouse in the house that disappeared, so could it be mites? No other pets in the house and my spouse and I haven't noticed any bites or anything. The eye on the affected side seems to be running a bit more than usual, so I'm wondering if it might be fungal. He occasionally scratches the ear but it doesn't seem to really be bugging him, except when I try to touch it. I put a little oil on it to see if it would soften and fall off but nothing happened, same when I tried to pick it off.

Any ideas? I've been worrying it's skin cancer or something and can't bring myself to google any more photos! Thanks in advance!
posted by stillmoving to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I should add he doesn't have anything similar anywhere else, and no other areas of itchiness/redness/hair loss/etc.
posted by stillmoving at 12:35 PM on December 18, 2017

Could it be demodectic mange? When my dog was a puppy, she had what I thought was a scabbed scratch from our cat. It turned out to be mange but it was easily treated with ivermectin.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 12:35 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

IANAV, but it's almost certainly fungal or a bite/scratch that you didn't see at first. It'll keep until you see the vet.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:54 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

We had a cat whose white-tipped ears, with very little fur on them to protect them, would get sunburned at the tips, and sometimes the burned area would turn black. We put zinc oxide on them to keep them from getting sunburned after that. I hope you find a solution for your doggie soon!
posted by Lynsey at 1:54 PM on December 18, 2017

Squamous skin cell carcinoma (spelling) on pets ear can start out looking like a little black scab. Is your dogs fur white or the edge of his ears white as the pink skin on a dog is more prone to the problem?

If they get it early the vets can treat it in a few minutes with cauterization. Our white cat got numerous little ones on his ears & nose throughout his life (despite sunscreen & all the tricks with permanent marker) and lived to 19 years of age so it's not usually a problem if you treat it while small. It's also waaaay cheaper to treat it at this size. You have a vet appointment in a few days which is what I was going to recommend.

Sorry if this info adds to worry you, it's not my intent, more to let you know if it 's your worst case scenario it's pretty treatable at this stage.
posted by wwax at 9:11 AM on December 19, 2017

Thank you for all of the replies. Came back to add for anyone reading in the future: interestingly, the day of the appointment, it started to bleed when the pup ?scratched it? Our vet said he thought it was vasculitis. Gave us a week of antibiotics and it got better, so he was happy. We will keep an eye on it and if it gets worse or bigger, pup will need general anesthesia for a biopsy. Fingers crossed it stays away.

Thanks again for all of the feedback!
posted by stillmoving at 4:06 AM on December 30, 2017

Oh, and for posterity's sake: it ended up being vasculitis and cleared up with some antibiotics.
posted by stillmoving at 12:50 AM on January 28, 2018

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