What have they done to my ears, ma?
July 3, 2008 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Why does my dog have a scar on each ear?

Our dog, Mina, is about a year and a half old; she was a rescue, from a home that may not have been very good. She has these marks on her ears, one on each, in about the same place on each ear. It almost looks as if someone tried to pierce her ears (surely not!) or had some kind of device holding them. I can't imagine what that might be, though. The woman who was fostering her before we adopted her didn't know either. I'm really curious about what might have been done to her that would cause marks like these.

She isn't at all nervous about letting us touch or hold her ears, and doesn't shy away at all or show any signs of having been abused there. Is this possibly some precursor to ear docking? She does resemble a doberman (no relation, though) so I've speculated that her previous owners may have started an ear-docking process. But her tail is fine, so it's really a mystery. Any ideas?
posted by TochterAusElysium to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
It's a possible old puncture wound from the days before you got her. As horrible as it may sound, it can happen when dogs play rough and isn't necessarily a sign of abuse. Also, have you had a skin scrape? It may be dermatitis or from a previous case of sarcoptic or demodectic mange.

I've fostered several dogs, and have three resident ones all from rescues. Dogs get banged up and scraped without it necessarily being violent. If she has any patchy hair loss anywhere else, it could be mange. It could be from digging under a fence. It could be from playing or fighting with other dogs. If it isn't bothering her and she's not scratching at them and they show no signs of being swollen or otherwise irritated, it's nothing to worry about.
posted by pieoverdone at 4:28 PM on July 3, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, pieoverdone; she doesn't have any other scrapes or scratches, no sign of mange, nothing like that. Maybe she got both ears nipped somehow. We're not so much worried as curious about our little dog's history. If only she could talk!
posted by TochterAusElysium at 4:42 PM on July 3, 2008

My sister's dog got some little bald spots on his ears when he was little, because he'd do that rapid head-shaking thing that dogs do (where they sort of rotate their heads and make a flapping noise with their ears--I have no idea why they do it), but he was doing it in his little kennel. His ears would hit the "ceiling" of his box, making these little injuries.
posted by interrobang at 4:51 PM on July 3, 2008

Best answer: Looks like flies snacked your dogs ears. Pretty common with outdoor dogs. Keep an eye on them during the hot summer months, a little tea tree oil will keep them away.
posted by idiotfactory at 5:06 PM on July 3, 2008

Best answer: Yeah, looks to me like old healed fly strikes. Saw it a bunch when I worked at a humane society where we had a lot of formerly outdoor-only dogs. Bad ones can certainly scar in a way that looks like your dog's ears.
posted by bluenausea at 5:15 PM on July 3, 2008

Response by poster: Looks like fly strike dermatitis is a very likely possibility. Thanks idiotfactory and bluenausea! I'm sorry to hear that she was probably kept outside a lot by her first owners, but it's good to know.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 6:03 PM on July 3, 2008

Although you marked this as answered, I just wanted to give another perspective to it:

My beagles are probably the most spoiled dogs on this planet. They get ice cream when its hot out and god help them, my aunt puts a costume on them and they go trick or treating. But they have quite a few scrapes, scars and booboos from playing. Zipper's had her ear ripped when woody grabbed it a bit too hard and Bagle still has a dimple where her little sister grabbed it funny. Of course, we took them to the vet and boohood, but they got better. They're dogs, after all, and they play with their teeth.

I'm not sure if your dog is the same way, but our vet told us to calm down the fourth time that the dogs came in with little nip-marks: treat your dogs like little children. Baby them, spoil them and what have you, but they're still going to scrape their knees.
posted by shesaysgo at 9:01 PM on July 4, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, shesaysgo; it actually did occur to me that Mina got her ears nipped by the other dog her foster mom was caring for, a rambunctious corgi. But she claimed not to know how the marks happened, so I figured they had happened before she went into the foster home. I don't worry too much about her little scrapes and scratches; the other day she managed to trip going up some cement stairs in the yard and got an owie on her forehead. I just wiped it off and let her keep playing, and she seemed not to notice at all. God, it is like having a kid, isn't it? Heh.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 9:19 PM on July 4, 2008

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