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Chronic Ear Problems

by Nikki

Penny is 2 years old and she has had problems with her ears off and on since I got her at 10 weeks. I clean them weekly with an ear wash and cotton sway (I do not go deep in the ear). I also pluck the hairs from her ears, which she actually lets me do without flinching. When I clean her ears the cotton sway looks like a brownish red and they smell nasty (sorry if this grosses out anyone). She often scratches her ears. She has had ear infections and I am doing what the doctor told me to do. What is the problem?


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

Could be ear mites. I would hope if Penny had them, your vet would catch it but maybe not. My 3-yr old Louie is just getting over his first case of ear infection (I'm using an ointment the vet gave me). His gunk sounded similar to your description. I cleaned it before the vet saw it, but he said it was most likely caused by water getting in his ears during bathing. The dog had just had an 8-day stay at the vets (boarding) in which I believe there were multiple baths, not to mention the one I gave him upon getting him home. It's not hard for me believe, but it's also my first experience with ear infections.
-Diane Kaylor

This could be either ear mites - treated by Panalog or tresaderm - we use tresaderm. Also could simply be a yeast infection which could be from moisture collecting in the ears during a bath - treatment is Conofite. A vet should identify either from the other and prescribe accordingly.
-Larry Stanberry Divine Maltese

I havent had to much experience with ear infections except in a male I had years ago. He had a cronic ear infection for years and we finally got rid of it with a very strict effort with the medication from the vet. Using it exactly when told to and never missing a treatment. Also, I was advised then to cut the hair away from the ear underneath and in front and behind the ear to let the air circulate around the ear as the moisture in the ear is a perfect breeding place for an infection. Now I keep all my dogs, especially if they are heavy coated, clipped so that the air can circulate into the ear and I havent had an ear infection in years. I dont know if that did it, but Im sure it doesnt hurt.

Our Scarlet had a series of ear infections and, with the help of our groomer and taking care to keep her ears dry and clean, there haven't been any recent problems. One of the biggest helps has been to put cotton balls in her ears during baths. Check with your vet as to how deeply you can clean the dog's ears.
-Julie Murphy

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