Yeast infections are very common in dogs; especially those with floppy ears such as Cockers and Retrievers. A lack of oxygen to the ear canal smothers the aerobic bacteria that is beneficial to the ear and allows the yeast to grow.
Normal wax in the ear is usually light tan in color. A dark brown, odorous discharge is typical of a yeast infection. Many veterinarians recommend over-the-counter Lotrimin for jock itch to treat yeast infections.
It is very helpful to use an astringent medication on the ears of dogs with yeast infections to dry the discharge and give the ear a chance to heal. Search our site for ear care products.
Bacterial infections can be caused by a variety of conditions.
Normal wax in the ear is usually light tan in color. A yellowish discharge is common in bacterial infections. Unfortunately, most treatments for bacterial infections require a prescription from your veterinarian.
Ear Mites, which look like tiny ticks (too small to see) and live in the ear canal, are a particularly difficult but common problem of dogs and cats.
Although people don't seem to get them, mites are contagious from one animal to another, laying their eggs on the fur coat and travelling from one pet to another during play, sleep or other contact.
Symptoms include intense itching, odor, and tar-colored, waxy build-up inside and even sometimes outside the ear.
There are many treatments for mites. Search the site for ear mites. Read the labels carefully and always use the treatment (preceded by a thorough cleaning of the ear each time) as frequently and as long as the manufacturer recommends.
Additionally, we recommend that you treat the ears of all of your pets (whether they look like they need it or not) if any one pet has the mites, and that you bathe the pets in a good quality flea shampoo and/or dip the pets to stop the spread of the mites on the hair. It is also a good idea to use Tick Detach collars that are specially treated to kill ticks & mites. By placing the collar near the head it will help kill mites in that region of the body.
Under no circumstances should information presented here be construed as veterinary in nature. Always consult your veterinarian if problems persist.