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Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems

My problems are ongoing as I have two shar pei's that have chronic skin problems.


I have changed their food to Solid Gold Holistic Blendz with Core fish canned food. Their coats were really improving and they did not seem to have any skin problems until the last couple of months.

Now they are both itching and scratching, chewing at their hind legs and their front legs. One was doing pretty bad about a month ago, but now she seems to be doing better, but underneath her neck where her collar is red and raw and looks like she is getting some type of skin infection or fungus. She also has alot of redness and elephant skin under her arm pits.

The male has been really chewing at his hind legs and tail, and scratching his belly and he is also very red underneath his front legs. He also has chronic ear infections which we have never figured out what causes them and have tried a variety of medications that seem to help for about a week or so but the ear problems always come back. We clean his ears on a regular basis but they always are full of black gunky stuff and very moist.

We have tried a variety of homeopathic remedies over the years, but nothing really helps, so we have to resort back to the medication. They have both been on steroids and antibiotics over the years.

Since the dog food seemed to help improve their skin and coat, I think their skin problems currently may be due to inhaled allergies as I live in the desert and it has been very windy lately. They stay in the house most of the time and only go out to use the bathroom or to go on their walks. But if it is calm outside and not windy then they are outdoors more.

I clean their bedding on a weekly basis with fragrance free detergent and don't use any type of air freshner in the home as I also have allergies to perfume.

Any help you can give me would be much appreciated as to an alternative to medication. Thank you.

Comments for Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems

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Mar 28, 2012
My Online Vet Response For: Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hello,
In answer to your dilemma regarding your two Shar Pei dogss with chronic skin and ear problems, you wrote,

"Any help you can give me would be much appreciated as to an alternative to medication. They have both been on steroids and antibiotics over the years."

This is a very tough situation, since Shar Pei dogs also known as 'Chinese Fighting Dogs' are famous for their wrinkled skin, joint problems (they were bred with legs that are too straight), eye problems (excess skin folds rub on the cornea of the eyes) and narrow ear canals. They also seem to have poor immune systems. Therefore, they both have some tough genetic predispositions that need to be addressed IN ADDITION TO the suppressed immune systems due to steroids and antibiotics.

So.... I may not be able to cure them, but perhaps we can 'fine tune' a treatment plan. We need to strengthen their immune system, 'calm' the itchiness/redness and inflammation of the skin, whether due to inhaled allergies, contact allergies or parasites(?) and soothe the problem ears (Any fleas in your area? Have they been skin scraped for sarcoptic mites?)...

1. Boosting the Immune System. NO VACCINATIONS! Seek the help of a holistic veterinarian to stop all vaccinations. An exemption form can be written to delay Rabies vaccinations (and any other vaccination) until they are healthy (which may be an indefinite time period!)

2. Immune supplements:

Immuplex by Standard Process - Open and sprinkle one capsule into the food two times daily for BOTH dogs.

OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder - Order the 8 oz size, and add 1/8 tsp to each dog's food two times daily.

Missing Link powder for dogs - Add 1/4-1/2 tsp to each dog's food two times daily.

3.Relief for the itchiness--
Antronex-by Standard Process. This is a glandular supplement to support the liver. It helps the liver remove histamine from the tissues. Therefore it will act like an 'anti-histamine'. Give each dog one capsule in the food two to three times daily for the first week, then as needed for itchiness.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO

Mar 28, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hello,
Here is the continuation of my response.

Bathing:
From what you have described of their skin, I am very suspicious that they have yeast problems. A common condition in Shar pei dogs. You will need to bathe them one to two times per week with an oatmeal shampoo, using COOL water to cool down their hot, inflamed, red skin. Rinse and dry well.

Follow each bath with an application of apple cider vinegar to all skin folds, under the neck, in the armpits, groin, and base of tail. It may be easier for you to put the vinegar into a pump spray bottle to 'spray' it on the skin. Otherwise, you may use a cloth or cotton to apply it.

You will need to make them both wear 100% cotton T-shirts (either for human children, or made for dogs. NO SYNTHETIC material.). This will help to prevent them from causing more damage by scratching their skin.

EARS--Use green tea. Pour 2 tsp into each ear two times per week. Make the green tea STRONG, by using 2 tea bags to one cup of water. Let it steep, and then cool to room temperature. You will need to do this OUTSIDE.

As he will shake his head to get rid of the excess fluid, and the 'black gunk' as you have described it will fly everywhere! You can clean off any residue on the outside ear flaps, but do not insert Q-tips into his ears, as that may cause more irritation for now.

4. DIET--Solid Gold Holistic Blendz canned food is a good one. The only thing extra I would suggest is to add 1-2 TBSP of RAW meat into each meal. NO RAW PORK OR RAW FISH.

After you have followed this regime for 3-4 weeks, then seek out a local holistic veterinarian to further treat with Classical Homeopathy.

You mentioned that you HAD tried some homeopathic remedies, but was this based on constitutional prescribing or with combination remedies that were 'over the counter' and not individualized for each dog? If it was individual remedies, then with a 'fresh approach' after this cleansing period, both dogs may be more responsive to the remedies. And, hopefully, in the meantime, they will ALSO be more comfortable in their own skins!

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.













Apr 02, 2012
Reponse to Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems
by: Anonymous

Hello Carol, thank you so much for your response to my question. The Oatmeal shampoo I am using is Doc Ackerman's products Collodial Oatmeal Shampoo with Green tea extra and aloe vera gel. Is this one okay? My female shar pei has had less itching but continues to lick her paws constantly. Have not tried the ACV spray on her skin yet. Is it after her bath or anytime that I should be spraying her down with it. What do I do if she starts to itch and scratch more after administering it?

I tried to put one teaspoon of ACV in her food diluted, but she won't eat it when I do. And they won't drink the water bowls with it in it either. Is there a different way that I can administer it?

With my male shar pei, I gave him a bath with the oatmeal shampoo, and it seemed to help a little, but he started scratching again so I sprayed him down with the ACV, but it only seemed to make it worse and he got more itchy and red, so I stopped it. Should I keep using it? I diluted it to 1/3 ACV and 2/3 cup of water and put it in a spray bottle. I tried bathing him with another product, which seemed to help only temporarily too, should I just stick with the Oatmeal shampoo and ACV? Will they get worse before they get better?

Thanks for the info on the supplements, is their any easier way to get them to take them, my female shar pei doesn't like anything put in her food?

Should I be using only 100% cotton bedding for them to sleep on? If so, where can I find it as most products are made with synthetic materials.

For the ears, I have Triple Leaf Tea 100% Decaf made from 100% green tea leaves. Is that the right one to use? Should I use it in both of their ears? The female doesn't have as many ear problems and her's are mainly yeast related.

I think you are right that part of the problem is yeast related. How do we eliminate the yeast problem? Does the ACV help with that?

to be continued

Apr 02, 2012
Continued from Part I
by: Anonymous

What type of raw meat should I give them, is raw hamburger okay?

Yes, I have tried other homeopathic remedies, I have tried various products from chinese herbs to some of the supplements on Native Remedies but nothing seemed to help. I also took my female shar pei to a Vet that practices Homepathic remedies and alternative medicine but nothing was working so we had to put her on some medication as she got so bad and alot of her hair fell out and she was getting hives.

We have had them both tested for mites and they did not find any and also checked for fleas, but from what I can tell there are no fleas either, I get bit on occasion when I am outside, but I think it is from flies or noseeums. If I want to keep flies and other insects off of them, what is the safest products to use on them, and can I use it in conjunction with the other products?

I will also seek out another holistic vet in the area to help with their health conditions and for their yearly exams and they both are up to date for their rabies vaccine so they should not be needing it for another three years. Where do I get an exemption form to delay their vaccines until they are a healthy as they are both due for a distemper vaccine.

Thanks again for your response and I look forward to getting your next response.




Apr 02, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hello,
For your 2 Shar Pei dogs, I will try to answer all of your questions.

1. Boosting the immune system-NO VACCINATIONS

Any veterinarian can write an exemption form to 'excuse' a dog from getting a Rabies vaccination. Holistic veterinarians probably do this more often than 'conventional' vets, as a holistic vet is more conscious of the harm that a vaccine can do. Rabies is the ONLY vaccine that the county requires. If your dogs are due for Distemper, Parvo, Bordatella, Lymes, etc. you do not need any exemption. Just tell whoever wants them to be vaccinated that they are not healthy enough for a vaccine at this time (see this dog vaccinations page for more info on vaccinating).

2. Immune Supplements--if they do not like anything added to the food, then disguise it as a treat. Put the immuplex or antronex into a piece of vegetarian hot dog, or coat it with peanut butter or honey, or into a piece of banana or a small meatball of raw ground chicken or beef!

3. Bathing--your oatmeal shampoo sounds fine. You will need to bathe them two times per week for the next 4-6 weeks. If the apple cider vinegar, even diluted, causes irritation then I would NOT use it for now. Instead use Rescue Remedy, (available at Health Food stores), 20 drops into a 2 or 4 oz spray or dropper bottle. Use this to spray on all of the irritated areas, to calm it down. After TWO weeks, hopefully, they will be able to tolerate apple cider vinegar on the skin.

DO NOT add apple cider vinegar to the food if they do not like it. And I would NEVER add it to the WATER!

4. Cotton T-shirts and cotton bedding--use a 100% cotton sheet, plain or flannel, to put over their dog beds. So they will be laying on the sheet.

5. EARS--the green tea you have sounds fine. And use it in both ears for both dogs. Shar pei ears need to have 'maintenance' care FOREVER.

6. RAW MEAT--any raw meat is fine, except, NO RAW PORK or RAW FISH. You can feed them raw beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, venison, bison, etc. There are commercial dog food diets that are raw, available in Health food stores or specialty pet shops, in the freezer section. Just thaw, and serve.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO

Apr 02, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi,
Here is the rest of my response.

7. Eliminate YEAST (or just keep it under control)by boosting the immune system together with ongoing maintenance with good hygiene and by keeping the skin CLEAN and DRY. This breed will ALWAYS have the wrinkled skin, if it is moist, inflamed (because of allergies or other problems) and warm, it is perfect for yeast to thrive!

Yes, apple cider vinegar does help keep yeast under control due to its high acidity. Therefore, once their skin can tolerate it, it should help hasten the healing/removal of the yeast.

8. FLEA and TICK control--use EVOLV-from Cedar Oil-made by Wondercide.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.


Apr 04, 2012
Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems
by: Anonymous

Carol, thanks for your responses.

I have some add'l questions.

1) What do I do in the interim until I can get the rescue remedy since the apple cider vinegar diluted seems to be to strong right now? Male shar pei is still scratching his belly even with the men's t-shirt on and bleeding? He is also still chewing his hind legs and they are very red and raw? Do I need to use something to fight the infection? They normally put both dogs on antibiotics for their skin trauma. I have tried to put men's socks on his hind legs but they come off as soon as he is active and only work when he is sleeping. I have some Clenzor and Wound Doctor from Native Remedies, should I put that on his wounds to help the healing and keep them clean between bathing?

2) I put the green tea in his ears and put him outside to shake. What do I do when he starts to do the head tilt which usually means his ears have alot of gunk in them and should be cleaned out. Just keep using the green tea twice a week or should I use it more often.

I will also get the other products that you suggested, I have Rescue Remedy spray for humans that you spray in the mouth, do I purchase the one specifically for pets?

Thanks again for all your help and I will keep you posted as to how they are doing.




Apr 06, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Dear Anonymous,

1. If the apple cider vinegar is too strong, (even diluted), then his skin is TOO inflamed to use it yet. Just bathe with the oatmeal shampoo two times per week.

The male may need to wear an E-Collar. There are a variety out there (not just the rigid 'lamp shade' collars', called the Cone of Shame from the movie, 'UP').

Check out the inflatable collars or the soft Trimline collars. Bathing will remove surface bacteria, and keeping his mouth away from his skin will allow it to heal. He may need to wear booties on his hind feet, to prevent him from scratching his neck and head.

The Clenzor from Native Remedies would be fine to use. The Wound Doctor contains potentized homeopathic remedies that would interfere with oral homeopathic remedies. Instead, use the Pavia Wound care - made from Bee Pollen or Royal Jelly and contains a natural antibiotic.

2. Only use the Green Tea in the ears 2 times per week.

3. Rescue Remedy spray for people can be sprayed into the water so the dogs can take it that way. There is also the human Rescue Remedy that comes in a drop form, that can also be added to the drinking water. The Rescue Remedy for Animals contains glycerin so you can give it directly into the mouth. But if you dilute the human Rescue Remedy, 10-20 drops per 2 oz of Spring Water into a dropper bottle, then you can give this directly into their mouth as needed.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.



May 08, 2012
Update on Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems
by: Anonymous

Hello, just wanted to give you an update.

I have tried all of the remedies that you suggested, but my male dog still showed no signs of relief. I took him to a holistic vet on 4/20/12, and he said it looked like his condition was from a yeast problem and that he had skin bacterial problems.

He prescribed antibiotics, cephalexin 500 mg, two pills twice a day. Ketoconazole 200 mg, one tablet once a day for 4 days, then every other day till gone. And also Fortiflora a probotic that I give in the afternoon with his lunch away from the antibiotics.

I am still giving him the other supplements that your recommended and also bathing him, he is still wearing socks to cover his feet, a mans cotton t-shirt and sometimes I have him wear a soft cone to keep him from chewing at other parts of his body.

He is still losing alot of hair, and still continues to itch and he is very red especially in the stomach area.

What else can I do to help alleviate his itching? I give him Antronex once a day, should I go back to twice a day to see if that helps? Or would you suggest something else?

With yeast, do they get worse before they get better?

Should I try a raw diet free of all carbs? Any suggestions would be helpful.

To be continued regarding my female shar pei.
Thanks.

May 09, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Chronic Dog Ear Infections and Skin Problems
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hello!

You mentioned that you took the male Shar pei to a 'Holistic' veterinarian, but he put him on antibiotics! That does not sound like a holistic approach (that is a good idea to also supplement with the acidophilus). But it would be better for him to start a homeopathic remedy. And use the topical apple cider vinegar, as needed in all skin folds to treat the yeast.

As for diet, YES a raw diet would be a good idea.

RAW MEAT--any raw meat is fine, except, NO RAW PORK or RAW FISH. You can feed them raw beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, venison, bison, etc. There are commercial dog food diets that are raw, available in Health food stores or specialty pet shops, in the freezer section. Just thaw, and serve. Check out Darwin's raw food that can be shipped to your door! And Primal is also a good food.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Ear Infection & Dog Ear Problems,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Ear Problems Section
- Dog Skin Conditions,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Skin Rashes, Marks, Spots, Lesions & Patches (including itchy skin and mange) Section






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