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Ear margin dermatosis.

Species: Dog
Breed: Beagle
Age: 5-8 years
Hello,

I have a 5 year old over-weight beagle. He's had these small dry crusty spots on the edges of his ears for some years now. They are getting larger with time. He didn't mind me picking at them but as they grow, his willingness for me to pick at them is lessened.

I've been to the vet about it more than once. She says it's really nothing but I can't get them to tell me what it is.

He's prone to yeast infection in the ears, which I watch and wash as needed. I also have something from the vet to treat that because its flared up as short as two days between checks in the summer. I don't think this is related, and online research of my own always tends towards mites or bugs which are also not present.

I came across this article which seems to describe the symtoms very accurately:
http://www.uskbtc.com/article.php/55

They called it Scurff.

I ordered betadyne solution and have applied it carefully to the area 4 times in two weeks. No change.

Am I barking up the wrong tree LOL???

Here's some pictures

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/526349/cody/IMG_0277.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/526349/cody/IMG_0278.jpg
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/526349/cody/IMG_0279.JPG
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/526349/cody/IMG_0280.JPG
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/526349/cody/IMG_0281.JPG




Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You've taken some great pictures of Cody's ear. I've included two of them here:

ear margin dermatosis

rough spots on dog's ear margin


I have seen a number of dogs with ear margins that look like that. I haven't heard of the term "scurf" so I looked it up and really can't find a reference to it being called that. It sounds like this term may be one particular vet's way of describing the problem.

Now, keep in mind that I can't give you a diagnosis over the internet but what I'm seeing in the pictures really looks like what I would call "ear margin dermatosis". However, that doesn't tell us what the cause is or exactly how to treat it!

The first thing that I will recommend when I see ears like this is to do some tests to look for things like sarcoptic mange or ringworm. However, usually these tests come up negative. Some dogs with this condition will have hypothyroidism, so it may be worthwhile to have your vet test for this. However, if he's had the problem for several years then this is unlikely as hypothyroidism is usually a condition affecting middle to older aged dogs.

Usually we don't end up finding a cause. There are several things that we can try when treating these. My new favorite treatment is something called Kerasolv ointment. You can usually buy it over the counter at the pharmacy. It helps to soften up the areas quite nicely. Another product (that I believe is prescription and would need to be obtained by your vet) is called Douxo Seborrhea spot on. I haven't used it in any of my patients, but many vets swear by it. The other thing that sometimes works is a combo of oral antibiotics combined with a steroid cream.

If the spots are not bothersome, then you may need to do nothing. If they seem like they are really irritating then you may want to consider having your vet biopsy them to see if they are something more serious. There is an autoimmune condition called vasculitis that can produce areas that look like this, but it really is not common.

I hope that helps!

Dr. Marie.




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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.