HELP! Lab's Neverending Ear & Yeast Problems :(

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health HELP! Lab's Neverending Ear & Yeast Problems :(

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  • #14396 Report Abuse

    KC-Cajun
    Participant

    I have an 11-year-old Lab who has battled ear problems all of her life. The vet said it’s a yeast problem. Now she has some raw spots on her skin, the skin on her belly and privates is very dark, and she’s covered in lumps. I had a Golden before that never had lumps and only an occasional ear problem. I also have a 7-year-old Beagle who’s had exactly one ear infection in her entire life.

    I changed her over to Blue Buffalo Salmon about 5 months ago and it seems to have eased up, but it’s still there. And I’ve spent THOUSANDS of dollars over the years on vet bills for the same problem, over and over again. (Vet #1 always found it necessary to run the same expensive tests every time I brought her in–“We can’t be sure it’s the same issue..”, and after 10 years, I switched to Vet #2. Vet #1 also charged $18 to examine their teeth {approximately 15.5 seconds}, but I digress…)

    What can I do to cure her of this? Am I doing something wrong? After reading a lot of your posts, I feel terrible that a change of diet could possibly have prevented those horrible lumps/tumors. Any advice would be most appreciated–I want her golden years to be as comfortable as possible as she has been a loyal and beautiful friend 🙂

    #14399 Report Abuse

    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Hi KC-Cajun –

    If your dog is battling a yeast overgrowth the best thing to do is to eliminate (or limit as much as possible) grains (corn, rice, oats, etc.) and starches (white potato, tapioca, peas, etc.). Your best option – foodwise – would be to feed a home-prepared diet with no starchy ingredients, a canned food free of grains and starches, a freeze-dried food free of grains and starches or a dehydrated food free of grains and starches. Kibble is a bakery product so by nature it must contain starch in some form as a binder, kibble would therefore be your worst option. If you must feed kibble go with something high in protein (>35%) and white potato/grain-free – such as Orijen or Nature’s Variety Instinct. You may also want to go with a novel protein and avoid chicken (all Blue Wilderness formulas are primarily chicken-based), I’ve heard of this contributing to yeast in dogs that are sensitive to common proteins. I would also recommend supplementing your dog’s diet with a high quality multi-strain probiotic, yeast is a “bad” bacteria so feeding probiotics which are “good” bacteria can help get the yeast overgrowth under control. Some good options are: Swanson Ultra Soil Based Organisms (15 strains, plus enzymes and whole food nutrients), Garden of Life Primal Defense (12 strains plus whole food nutrients) or Mercola’s Probiotics (14 strains). Disinfect the ears with with witch hazel and cotton balls. Make sure all the debris is removed from the ears daily. Results won’t happen overnight, so once you get on a better food, start supplementing the diet and disinfecting the ears give it some time. It could take a month or two to get the yeast under control.

    #14400 Report Abuse

    KC-Cajun
    Participant

    Wow! Lots of info…thank you so much. I think I’ll try the Natures Variety Instinct since our local pet store carries it. She’s so sweet–I want her to be comfortable.

    Nice avatar. We been babysitting our Beagle since 2007–she’s ours now, I guess :)–and we’re now crazy about hounds. Never knew they were as sweet as retrievers!

    (By the way, how do you upload an avatar? Can’t find it in Profile.)

    #14403 Report Abuse

    Hound Dog Mom
    Participant

    Thanks, that’s Gertie my 2 year old bloodhound. 🙂

    You can get an avatar by going to en.gravatar.com.

    #14433 Report Abuse

    KC-Cajun
    Participant

    Thanks!

    #14434 Report Abuse

    panda
    Participant

    Hi KC,

    I’ve got the same ear problem with Bailey my 7 yr old yellow lab. He seems to favor his right ear. We have to clean his ears and put some stuff in it mostly every night. I’m going to see if I can get to the bottom of this. I’ll keep you posted.

    paul

    #14438 Report Abuse

    shelties mom
    Participant

    http://www.amazon.com/Pet-King-Enzymatic-Solution-Ounces/dp/B0025YOJXS

    My vet recommended this product to a client who said she couldn’t believe how effective and fast it cleared up her dog’s ear infection.

    #14442 Report Abuse

    tarancara
    Participant

    Ugh, I have a Newfoundland with CONSTANT ear problems and I feed a no grain, but it’s kibble.. I’ve been thinking about going raw with my dogs diets but I’m vegan and the thought of actually handling the meat makes me ill. ( AT least with a kibble I can pretend 😉 )

    #14443 Report Abuse

    theBCnut
    Member

    I used Brothers Complete Allergy Formula for mine and he’s doing great. No vet visits and no drugs. The food costs more but not as much as my vet.

    #14480 Report Abuse

    aimee
    Member

    Hi KC,

    I’d recommend you go to http://www.itchnot.com This is a website from a veterinary dermatologist and has loads of good information. On the left sidebar click on CE notes. The combination of “ears and rears” is apparently one of the hallmarks of food allergy! So when you mentioned that your dog’s belly and privates are very dark that rang a bell with me. You may want to see if your vet thinks a food allergy may be the problem.

    Here is some info on doing a food trial. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2499

    I did one with my dog.. his problems were GI related but we cleared the problem. Oh… when tested I found out that a lot of the “limited ingredient diets” you can purchase in stores have tested positive for proteins not on the label whereas the vet versions tested “clean” So If you are going to do a trial I’d use a vet version. Good Luck

    #14488 Report Abuse

    Mary Lou
    Participant

    Hi Aimee ~ I had to register on here just to say thank you!! Dupree has been under the care of a dermatologist for two years. I wish I had known about the itchnot site earlier. What great info! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have some reading to do! : )

    #14821 Report Abuse

    aimee
    Member

    Hi Mary Lou!

    Sorry for the late reply.. I was out of town for a few days. Glad the link helped!

    #15078 Report Abuse

    Jackie B
    Member

    While switching to quality food was all my poodle needed, I came across some things relevant to your issue.

    Water in the ears encourages ear infections, so if she’s swimming a lot that could be an issue.
    Zymox shampoos and ear cleansers are highly helpful for skin conditions.
    Watch your treats also– many dog treats are total garbage.

    #94812 Report Abuse

    Melanie Y
    Member

    theBCnut, What flavor of the bothers complete allergy formula dog food you use for your dog? Does the meat makes the difference for the allergy problem? I have a Maltese mix and he is having itching ears on and off. I would like to give this dog food a try before any other drugs. He has had Kangaroo meat diet that was helping but it was banned by our state now.

    #94813 Report Abuse

    anon101
    Member

    @ Melanie Y,
    Have you consulted a veterinary dermatologist? If the allergies are environmental, changing the diet will have very little to do with alleviating the symptoms.
    Per the search engine: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/forums/search/allergies/
    Environmental allergies tend to wax and wane, without getting Intra dermal skin testing done by a specialist (veterinary dermatologist) it’s pretty much impossible to tell what the allergens are, what is working, or not.

    #94832 Report Abuse

    Acroyali
    Member

    Melanie:
    If the Kangaroo diet was helping, is there any way you could get another novel protein source that your dog has not had (venison, rabbit, etc?) There are some dry and canned varieties on the market that might fit the bill, as well as some pre-made raw diets (many raw food suppliers have exotic proteins–my cats vote for Hare Today’s rabbit chunks.)

    One of my dogs had seasonal allergies completely unrelated to food. We did the testing route, and while identifying at least some of his triggers certainly helped it wasn’t a cure all. For awhile we did allergy shots and prednisone. It lasted 4-5 days and he’d be miserable for the rest of the month. As he got a little older, we worked for a few years with a wonderful vet on building a healthy immune system any way we could. We added a few things (mostly in the form of probiotics and other nutritional supplements, as well as medicated baths, etc). More importantly (I feel) is that we subtracted things that we suspected could possibly be linked. We gave him only clean, filtered water. We stopped using fabric softener (that helped tremendously!), and stopped giving annual booster vaccines (he was older, even our allopathic vet agreed with us on this) and stopped using flea prevention on him (as it seemed to be doing no good anyway). We let his immune system rest as much as we could. I can’t say it “fixed” him and I can’t put my finger on the one thing we did that did the most to help, but it seemed that the combination of factors helped him build an immune system that knew what it was doing. He had occasional break-outs, but I’d say he was 85-90% better. Just my personal experiences of course. I wish you luck with your little dog.

    #94866 Report Abuse

    Melanie Y
    Member

    Thank you,anon101 and Acroyali. My vet does suspect that my dog has environmental allergy since he was not all immuned to allergy even with Kangaroo diet. But I do feel he has only one episode of ear problem during that year when he was on kangaroo diet. We had tried soy diet as the vet recommended after the kangaroo diet got banned. The soy diet made him gain weight and having loose stools and he is back with the ear yeast infection again. I switched back to natural balance chicken since the vet feels it is probablly not related to his diet. Natural balance is having a new formula with the chicken diet which I noticed there are preservatives. I decided to look for a new dog food to see if I can make it a little better with his condition then. I saw this website with quesitons with similar situations so I decide to see if I can find other suggestions for a good dog food to try.

    #118454 Report Abuse

    Debbie D
    Member

    To solve this problem and gain enough knowledge (and spend enough $$$$ at vet clinics) it took me 10 years. I am glad to say we have kicked this problem 100%. I am very sad though that my pets had to suffer for 10 years before we found the solution. Several of the answers here are on the mark, however, there are some missing pieces of information. Here are the components of the solution that results in the ear problems clearing up in addition to every other allergy issue a dog may have. You can’t do just one thing, you have to address all aspects of care:
    1. Diet
    2. Flea control poisons
    3. Heartworm and Parasite poisons
    4. Vaccinosis
    5. Chiropractic
    6. Vet type
    We solved this problem when we started going to alternative vets and Chiropractic vets. I spent thousands at the veterinary clinic, hundreds at the alternative clinics and next to nothing at the Chiropractic vets. The alternative vets (3 of them) were all indispensable. One used Chinese herbs, another acupuncture and another (the best) used a combination of modalities including cold laser, acupuncture, Chiropractic, nutrition, and herbs. The Chiropractic vets gave the most bang for the buck but it took to a visit to five different ones to settle on our favorites. Yes, hard to believe, but a spinal adjustment can be miraculous in calming down allergies. The older the dog the more likely they need this treatment. Some Chiropractors also have cold laser treatments. Go to AVCA.org to find a pet Chiropractor. Some states require Chiros to be vets (like Texas) and others (Oklahoma) allow human Chiros to treat pets. There are advantages both ways.

    So bottom line, we now feed NO commercial food but instead feed raw chicken plus a home cooked chicken and vegetable stew. We freeze it in daily portion size containers. This raw food supplemented diet eliminated all parasites (fleas, ticks, heart worms, intestinal worms, etc.) thereby eliminating our need for poisons. Raw diet also eliminated our need for vaccines (titer testing proved this.) Eliminating vaccines eliminated the need for steroid therapy that the vets kept pushing on our dogs. Eliminating flea control like Nextgard, Trifexis, Comfortis, Frontline, and Advantage was a major step forward. These chemicals/drugs were a major cause of itching in our Pugs and we tried them all. These chemicals also caused sores and weeping irritated skin.
    Once our dogs were already having out of control skin issues we had to use shampoos and aloe vera in addition to dietary changes. We switched to duck and fed only (USA) Merrick commercial dog food and this was a major improvement. However, the real change came with the raw. We eventually eliminated the Merrick except for traveling/hiking and emergencies. It took about 3 months to a year of proper feeding to stop the fleas dead in their tracks. We used flea combs and Ark Naturals Neem Shampoo to check for fleas.
    In one dog, we had to get a prescription of Apoquel (new drug only at select vets) to stop the itching (instead of dangerous steroids.) This was an emergency measure because itching causes scratching which leads to staph infections in ears and on the skin/belly.
    The ear itching and yeast infection eventually led to staph infection also from the dogs scratching their ears. To clear this up we used a combination of products over several months. I will list the products and their purpose.
    1. Zymox enzymatic ear solution (green bottle) for yeast/bacteria
    2. Olive Oil drops – extra virgin for yeast/bacteria
    3. Colloidal Silver (10ppm) dropped in ears for yeast/infection
    4. 7-Day feminine antifungal cream (yeast only, outside of ears and bumpy noses/folds)
    Zymox was best for yeast. Olive oil was the best for everything including swelling of the ear canal. Colloidal Silver kicked the secondary infections almost overnight.
    Moist ears is a side effect of yeast infection, not a cause. Swimmers ear is a result not of the water but of having a dietary systemic yeast infection before your dog ever goes swimming.
    Taking our dogs swimming in a creek or lake had no effect on the ears, however, swimming in a chlorinated pool did aggravate the ears and skin.
    The feminine yeast cream has been a real life saver. We use the weakest version and only apply it to ear flaps. If you want Miconazole ear drops, you’ll have to go to the vet for that. But honestly, the olive oil is just as good. The problem with prescription drugs is that they usually only treat one bug, unlike the first three items on my list.
    I hope someone finds this useful.
    Since this is a dog food website, i will give my two cents on dog food brands (never feed dry): Highest quality, readily available brands are Merrick, Nature’s Variety, Primal Freeze Dried Raw, and Orijen. No, I would never feed Blue. I’ve been in the pet business for most of my life and I know secrets about many brands that will make your skin crawl. I will not lookup or recommend any brands other than the ones I listed.
    I am chronicling my personal experiences on a blog so feel free to visit as you like. Snortlepuss.com
    DogFoodAdvisor.com is one of the best resources a person can have for learning about brands. Please take the ratings seriously and only feed to top rated foods.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Debbie D. Reason: missing info
    #118456 Report Abuse

    Debbie D
    Member

    Raw is critical for allergies/fungus. I used to be vegetarian so i understand (10 yrs but had health problems.) Primal Raw is freeze dried so there is no smell or mess. Just add it to the vegetables you are already feeding. I use the freeze dried cubes.
    My dogs won’t eat Primal cubes by itself, they are too spoiled, so I add it to what ever else I am feeding.
    Since I switched to raw 10 years ago, our dogs have had no deficiencies or medical issues. Absolutely ZERO! We don’t get fancy, just raw meat and veggies.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Debbie D.
    #118467 Report Abuse

    Deb T
    Member

    Rescued Bichon with all-over yeast problems. Tried many, many remedies (and my patience!). My niece, who has her master’s in Chinese herbal medicine, suggested Kan Essentials Damp Heat Derma Relief. Gave dog one pill with morning meal and after a month or so, her skin was pink again and the itching stopped. It may be that diet change and regular grooming finally kicked in, but I think the herbs were the key. I got them from Amazon and wouldn’t hesitate to use again if there’s a relapse.

    #120214 Report Abuse

    Sydney N
    Member

    I have had the exact same problem with my pure bred lab. She is 3 and I have spent thousands at the vet on her. Chronic ear infections, yeast infections, stomach boils, and itchy as can be. I have finally came to realize after environmental allergy tests she is allergic to dust mites as well as storage mites. These both found in dry dog food. She also is allergic to ALL meat protein. This has been so difficult and no vet has helped me. I finally read online about the meat allergy and thank goodness I did. I have since switched her to natural balance wet vegetarian dog food. And it has made ALL the difference. Her ears are crystal clean, her belly is happy and her skin is happy. This has never happened for me before, to tell you how bad it was I had an appointment with a dog dermatologist booked before this food. We tried zignature, elimination diet, royal canin, ultamino, hydrologized food, limited ingredient and nothing worked but this wet vegetarian food is amazing. She loves it too! I would recommend it and I also give probiotics with her dinner to her. She literally runs to her bowl now as does my other dog without allergies. I really hope this helps, I truly know how frustrating dogs with allergies are! If you have any questions please let me know!!:)

    #120215 Report Abuse

    Sydney N
    Member

    You should try new balance vegetarian wet food (also vegan) my dog was allergic to all meat proteins and this solved all her ear problems! I also am vegetarian (mostly) so the idea of raw also kinda scared me away along with finally realizing she was allergic to meat!

    #121900 Report Abuse

    Julie M
    Member

    I have two 11 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The first year of their life they had ear infections, and the last 10 they have had none. I also looked after a friends 2 Cavaliers while she was away on holidays, both had ear infections and constantly needed their ears cleaning. The last 3 years none. The only thing done differently was their diet, natural, not processed. And that means no kibble. Met another lady today, constant ear problems, asked her what she was feeding, I knew her reply, (dried food) Told her about what I feed and she can’t wait to put her dog on a natural raw diet. And these are not just isolated cases, heard the same from many people. And if your dog can’t handle certain proteins, then I guess it’s a process of elimination. It’s not just their ears, they are just so healthy, only time they visit their vet is for an annual checkup

    #123134 Report Abuse

    Susanne S
    Member

    @julie M…you are EXACTLY right. I switched my dogs to The Honest Kitchen (not as good as raw, but better than most commercial foods) a few months ago and for the first time, NO EAR INFECTIONS! I am about to transition to raw feeding because I FINALLY found a raw dealer that comes to my area. What could be better for dogs than raw meat? Commercial kibbles are literally poisoning millions of pets. I am appalled that the pet food industry has brainwashed people (including vets) into thinking that processed crap is better than natural raw food. I was one of those people until recently. Thank goodness my eyes have been opened!

    #127158 Report Abuse

    Cheryl M
    Member

    Hi Debbie D-
    What great advice! We were feeling so helpless with our German Shepherd! He is living in constant pain with yeast infections in his ear and we are trying everything we know to help him! Now we feel like you have given us a solid game plan that actually makes sense long term! Thank you for posting this! We’re so excited to try these things for our Javi!

    #128122 Report Abuse

    melissa d
    Member

    I have to second Honest Kitchen. It has completely eliminated yeast growth on my dog. A work in progress but I notice a big difference in his coat, energy level and inflammation in the ears. Pricy, but worth it.

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