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Severely scratching ears.

Species: Dog
Breed: Rotty/Boxer mix
Age: 5-8 years
I've taken my dog to 3 vets so far for "allergy" symptoms. His episodes start with head shaking, then scratching at the ears (the ears are clean), even going as far as "grinding his ears on concrete", panting, then he'll lay down and go through what can be best described as a seizure as he frantically rubs his nose with his front paws. I have no doubt whatsoever that anxiety takes over. During the episodes his body odor turns horrible and I'd swear he just turns insane. I do all I can to calm him down (petting, scratch his belly, etc.) but the only thing that seems to help is diphenhydramine.I bathe him weekly with hypoallergenic shampoo. These "episodes" happen at any time of the day or night. I've done everything the vets have suggested with the exception of allergy testing (Cheapest I found was $700)- change the food, no treats, muzzle him on walks so he don't eat grass. Is it possible having him neutered would help? Is there anything else I can do for him? I would be extremely grateful (as would Tattoo) if you can give me the answer that the 3 other vets missed.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am sorry to hear that Tattoo is having these frustrating symptoms.

If this were my case I would possibly try him on a short course of steroids to see if this helps. If these symptoms are due to allergies then steroids would be beneficial.

I'm assuming that your vets have done a good otoscopic exam where they look down the ear canal with a scope. I have seen dogs with extremely itchy ears that had something like an insect or other object deep in the canal.

When you mention that the body odour turns weird I'm wondering if perhaps he expresses his anal glands when he has an episode. This usually smells very fishy and you may notice that the odor is mostly from his back end.

Another thing that I may do if this were my case is try treating him for sarcoptic mange. While most dogs with mange will have scabs on the skin it is not always super obvious. Testing for mange does not always reveal the mites.

I really hope he improves soon!

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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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.