What Causes Scabs on a Dog’s Ear?

Have you ever seen a scab on a dog’s ear, but are unsure what could be causing them to develop? You’re not alone! Ear problems are one of the most common reasons why owners take their pups to visit the veterinarian. There can be several potential reasons why your dog may begin to form scabs on the outer edges of his ears. To help you determine what may be causing a scab in dog ears, we have put together an informational guide to help you determine the right course of action to make sure your furry friend is scab-free as soon as possible.

An Introduction to Scabs on Dog Ears

Did you know a dog’s ear tips are one of the thinnest parts of their ears? Because this portion of their ear is thinner, it makes this area more vulnerable to canine bacterial infections and other ailments. The formation of scabs on a dog’s ears is called ear dermatitis. Canine dermatitis is a term that is used to describe inflammation of the skin and is a general, frequently used term. It is important to note that ear dermatitis is not a diagnosis, but a description of what the condition is, which is a skin inflammation in dogs that results in the formation of scabs. If the scabs are limited to the edges of the ears, it is called ear edge dermatitis.

Symptoms of Ear Dermatitis

If you see your pup has begun to have scabs on his ears, it is important to address his symptoms immediately and make sure you seek the appropriate care. Symptoms can vary in severity depending on the root cause, but there are a number of common signs that you should look out for. Below are a handful of the most common symptoms of ear dermatitis in dogs.

  • Crusting or scaling on ear edges
  • Bleeding
  • Scabs and/or lesions
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Hair loss around the ears
  • Chewing on the ears
  • Itchiness
  • Scratching of the ears
  • Foul smelling discharge

Potential Causes of Ear Dermatitis

As mentioned above, ear dermatitis itself is not a diagnosis. There is an underlying issue, condition, or infection that has caused dermatitis to develop. In order to treat the ear dermatitis and make sure your dog’s scabs heal, it is vital to identify the underlying cause of the ear dermatitis. Below are a handful of the most common causes of ear dermatitis in dogs.

  • Allergies: Many dogs suffer from allergies. These canine allergies can stem from a variety of different stimuli, such as pollen, contact with an object or substance, or even food allergies in dogs. Allergies can present with many different symptoms, but often include intense scratching on the body and ears, which can lead to scabbing. If allergies are the underlying condition, your veterinarian will work to identify what your dog is allergic to. To provide immediate relief, your veterinarian will likely treat the allergic reaction with an antihistamine injection.
  • Injury: Your dog can also develop scabs on his ears due to injury, such as in the form of burns, lacerations, or bites from another animal. The treatment of the injury will be dependent on what type of injury occurred, as a veterinarian will take a different approach to treat a burn than a bite. Often, treatment of an injury will require antibiotics in combination with other various treatments.
  • Mange: Did you know that there are two different types of mange in dogs? They are called canine sarcoptic mange and demodectic mange in dogs. Both types of mange are extremely contagious and require that you keep your pup away from other pets and animals so they don’t contaminate and spread to other animals. In addition, both types of mange can produce hair loss, redness, swelling, and severe itchiness. When your dog is extremely itchy, he may try to excessively itch their ears, which can cause scabbing to occur. There are a number of potential treatments a veterinarian may suggest based on the type of severity of the mange.
  • Cellulitis: Cellulitis is a type of skin infection that often affects puppies between one and four months old. Cellulitis can cause pus-filled bumps on a dog’s skin, which can result in itchiness. Cellulitis is often treated with antibiotics to resolve the infection.
  • Seborrhea: Seborrhea presents with dry, scaly skin that is generally brought on by cold weather. It is a lifetime disorder that often requires treatment with mild soap, water, and moisturizer to help abate the symptoms.

The Next Steps

If your dog has developed scabs on his ears, it is important to take his to see a licensed veterinarian so he can be properly assessed. A veterinarian will be able to run the tests necessary to determine the underlying cause of the scabs and prescribe the appropriate treatment plan to make sure your furry friend is back to being scab-free in no time at all.

 

Sources:

  1. “Why Does My Dog Have Ear Scabs and What Can I Do?” PetHelpful, Accessed 5 Dec 2018. www.pethelpful.com/dogs/dog-scabs-on-ears.
  2. “Home Remedies For Dog Ear Health.” Dogs Naturally Magazine, 30 Nov. 2018, Accessed 5 Dec 2018. www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/ear-health/.
  3. “Causes of Scabs on the Edge of Dog Ears.” Dogs Health Problems, 24 May 2017, Accessed 5 Dec 2018. www.dogshealthproblems.com/scabs-on-dog-ears/.
  4. “Disorders of the Outer Ear in Dogs – Dog Owners.” Merck Veterinary Manual, Accessed 5 Dec 2018. www.merckvetmanual.com/dog-owners/ear-disorders-of-dogs/disorders-of-the-outer-ear-in-dogs.
  5. “Ear Dermatitis in Dogs – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost.” WagWalking, 27 Nov. 2016, Accessed 5 Dec 2018. www.wagwalking.com/condition/ear-dermatitis.

 

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