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Healthy Dogs

Ear Flap (Pinna) Problems in Dogs

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Fly Bite Dermatitis

Biting flies can attack the face and ears of dogs, sucking blood and inflicting painful bites over the tips or bent folds of the ears. These bites are typically scabbed and crusty black, and they bleed easily. German Shepherd Dogs and other breeds with erect ears are most susceptible.

Treatment: Keep the dog indoors during the day until the wounds are healed. If you are unable to do so, apply insect repellant to the ear tips. Products approved for use around horses’ eyes work well, such as Farnam’s Fly Off Ointment. Keep the ears clean and dry to discourage flies. Infected ear tips should be treated with a topical antibiotic ointment such as triple antibiotic.

Ear Fissure

Ear fissure occurs in breeds with floppy ears. It results from intense scratching along with violent head shaking, which causes the ears to snap. The ear tips are denuded of hair and often become bloody. With continued trauma, the tips of the ears split and a crack in the skin, called a fissure, appears.

Treatment: The underlying irritation, often an external otitis, should be sought and treated to eliminate the head-shaking. Treat the ear tips by applying an antibiotic-steroid ointment such as Panolog once or twice daily. If the fissure does not heal, it may need to be surgically repaired. Bandaging techniques that prevent ear movement may help speed up healing.

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

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