German shepherd with ear problems

Our question this week was:

My German Shepherd has a chronic ear problem. My vet has treated her over and over for ear mites. She has larger than usual glands in her neck, which were biopsied and came out fine. Any idea what we can do or use to stop this problem.

Cathy Fike


Hello and thanks for your question. Chronic ear infections are relatively common in dogs. Ear infections can be caused by ear mites, yeast organisms or bacteria. Sometimes it can be a combination of all three.

One thing that I always consider in dogs with chronic or recurrent ear problems is…"Is there an underlying problem that is causing the ear infections?". For example, some German Shepherds have some tendencies toward allergies and immune system problems that can cause or contribute to an underlying problem that can cause the ear infection.

With chronic problems, your vet may want to do a skin biopsy, take a culture of the ear discharge to ensure that you are effectively treating it, and look at routine blood work to determine overall health or refer to you to a veterinary dermatologist. Food allergies are relatively common as well and sometime special "elimination diets" are recommended.

An article that might find interesting on is Chronic Ear Problems in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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