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Ear infections

Dogs with long, floppy ears are prone to ear infections, and Shih-Tzus are certainly not immune. My oldest just got treated for one.

At first, I didn't even realize he had an infection. When I was growing up, we had a Lhasa Apso and whenever she got the infection, there was a distinct odor that came from her ear so we knew it was time to go to the vet. However, when I checked my oldest, there was no odor so I let it go longer than I should have because I thought that it was just overly itchy and perhaps a bit irritated because of this scratching. I realized something was wrong after my husband told me he got up in the middle of the night and found our oldest scratching his ear and crying. That was enough to convince me something wasn't right. I immediately made an appointment with the vet and, lo and behold, he had an ear infection.

So what are the signs? Assuming there is no odor (which is a dead giveaway), this is what you need to watch for:
1. repeated scratching of the affected ear
2. repeatedly licking the paw that scratches the ear (in our case, he would scratch, lick, scratch, lick over and over)
3. shaking the head
4. rubbing the head against a carpet or floor

The vet took a swab from his ear and tested it. It turned out he had a yeast infection. They also said his ear canal was thickened due to the infection. They flushed out his ear to clean it. I was given antibiotics and ear drops that I have to give him twice a day.

Already I am seeing signs of improvement just after a day. He sleeps a bit more (which is probably the antibiotic) but when he's awake he seems to have more spunk to his step. Most importantly, he is not scratching his ear anymore.

Looking back, I was stupid not to have gotten him to the vet sooner. Sometimes we think we can diagnose a problem, but in the end we're not experts. I was relying on past experience, other people's knowledge and what I read on the internet. However, nothing compares to having a vet have a look at the problem. So if you notice these types of behaviors in your dog, take them immediately to the vet to have it checked out so your pet doesn't suffer any longer than they have to. Dogs can't tell you when they're in pain, and my little guy probably endured this pain and discomfort for longer than he should have.


Anonymous said…
If you feed your dog the raw diet, you will never have to treat them for an ear infection ever again. The vet doesn't want you to now this because then he won't get paid. I healed a very sick rescue dog just by feeding him raw chicken and veggies.He had no color to his fur but after two weeks he had more color than white and acted like a puppy. My dog had cancer so I switched him to the raw diet. He is ten now and very healthy!!!!
Anonymous said…
Kibble dog food is cooked twice at high heat. The nutrition is changed when it is finally bagged. Would your dog pull out a frying pan in the wild? Pets are sick everywhere - IT'S In THE FOOD! Remember, if your dog isn't sick the vet doesn't get paid!! Add years to your dogs life and switch them to raw chicken and raw red meat! GET EDUCATED ON THE RAW DIET! You will save money in vet bills and SAVE the health of your dog!Dogs don't get ear infections in the wild!!!!
C.J. Denis said…
Thank you to the two anonymous posters. I agree that the commercial dog food is not good for the boys, but after reading your posts and doing more research I'm starting to the think you're right! I took my oldest completely off commercial dog food and gave him meat (cooked) and raw veggies and his ear is better. So I'm starting to be a believer. (give me time!)

Anonymous said…
It is rather interesting for me to read that blog. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.
Anonymous said…
Keep on posting such themes. I love to read articles like this. By the way add some pics :)
Anonymous said…
I am a new shih tzu owner and my dog's name is trixia she is a 8 month old shih tzu she had an ear infection before i took her in the vet and she went ok the following day but after two months she is losing again her balance but unlike before her ear does not smell or dirty the vet just gave her vitamins but deep inside of me i am not convinced that she is just lack of vitamins Please help me i love my shih tzu i wanted her to be healthy again
Anonymous said…
You need to feed your dog raw.
There are a few raw food companies the one I found best for my little man is The Ultimate Diet.
I have a beautiful shi tzu boy and he was the pickiest dog ever. He fought me for 3 years until raw.
The first time I gave him a raw bone and the ultimate food he was happy. A bonus is your dogs teeth will make you happy. No vet bill for cleaning.
Anonymous said…
When you say raw meat or raw bone are you referring to the same raw meat bought in a grocery store or is it something for a pet store?
Jackson Henry said…
It's such a good post for our pets. I have a dog, named Bailey. Few days ago, he is troubled with ear infection. Then I went to a veterinary hospital. During physical exam a growth was discovered. This growth was inhibiting his air intake. Within an hour, surgery was performed and Bailey was breathing normally. Ear Infections in Dogs
John said…
Veterinarian by trade so this may seem to go with those conspiracy theories but I have to say something. Suggesting there is some conspiracy to keep dogs sick with cooked food is ridiculous. I don't care if you choose not to take your dog to the vet but for the love of god please I beg you do NOT feed your dogs Raw Uncooked Chicken Poultry or Raw Uncooked Red Meat. This is extremely dangerous and you could very well end up killing your dog from Food Poisoning. Feeding them raw vegetables is fine though I do suggest washing/rinsing them. I just beg you, don't be foolish, there's a reason humans do not eat raw chicken poultry or some raw meats, very dangerous, and the same goes with feeding it to your dogs who love and trust that what your giving them is safe and not potentially life threatening.
Anonymous said…
Every time i take my doc to the vet for an ear infection the vet goes to the whole nine yards of checking everything and the procedures add up in the bills. unnecessary things vets do to rack up the charge when all my dog needs is anti biotic drops. each time i go he tells me 3 diff things: it could be diet, it could be allergies, it could be yeast infection. He never really tells me for sure what it is causing it. I always leave with the ear anti biotic. It doest go away, u give the anti biotic then a month or two later it come back and the whole cycle just keeps repeating. I used to feed my dog steamed chicken breast and variety of veggies when she was a puppy unit until 2-3 years old, she is now 4-5. She was eating royal canine dry and the chicken vegie combo i feed her. She likes the chicken vegie combo better. Now I have been feeding her just the dry Science diet Oral cus the vet told me. She eats it, plus my home made dried chicken breast. but she is still getting the ear infection, I do not know what to do. I do not have a deep pocket.
Anonymous said…
no raw lost my beautiful lab to cancer I thought raw was so great not anymore.
Anonymous said…
I agree no raw chicken or meat i had 2 animals die from cooked chicken it was bad from the store now its only beef and its well done . had 1 cat and 1 dog bot had the chicken and die 15 mins apart....also i agree bashing vets saying they want your pet to be sick is a stupid thing to say if that was the case why would they go to vet school for so long just to come out and make them sick dumb dumb dumb statement.

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