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Hello everyone,
I recently gotten a mini poodle and she is now 6 months old. She has been an absolute delight, which is what makes it that much harder watching her scratching and being in pain. She used to scratch occasionally when waking up but then would not for a while, our vet even removed all the hair in her canals and cleaned the ears 2 months ago cause we said she scratched. Even after that she scratched a bit, but not alarming. We then got her spayed 5 days ago, and over these last 1.5 weeks, she has been scratching a lot more. Her ears are quite red and when she scratches, within a feet from her, I can smell this strong waxy odour. During the pre-spay bloodwork a week ago, the vet even checked the ears and saw no infection. I am not sure if this is an allergy from the summer, food (we switched her from chicken food to beef/duck/turkey food 1.5 weeks ago, but no improvement). I also bought this all natural allergy aid for her, and have been giving it for 2 days, but no improvement either. We aren't rich, but I will take her to a pet dermatologist to get it checked further if needed, though I am trying to avoid it at all costs. I never clean her ears as well as no one has told me to do so, but is wiping her ears with a damp towel lightly soaked in vinegar a good idea, or cleaning it myself using an ear cleaner?

Please any help/advice is appreciated at this time, I am just so overwhelmed. And am I overreacting to this? She probably scratches 2-8 times every hour more or less and we attempt to distract her each time she does, when she sleeps she doesn't scratch, and when she's playing intensely or if we are carrying her, or in the car, she won't scratch. I'm hoping maybe with the seasons changing this will go away. When I touch her ear sometimes she yanks it away, but others she lets me touch it and stuff, and I can see the brown wax in the ear. Again thank you to anyone who share anything, I am just so overwhelmed and want to help my baby girl.
 

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Ear infections are extremely common in poodles, cocker spaniels, and other dogs with long floppy ears. If your dog's ears smell like cheese or corn chips, she probably has an infection. You should take her to the vet for treatment.

When my dogs have had ear infections, the vet first cleaned all the gross waxy stuff out of the ear and determined which microorganisms were causing the infection. Both yeast and bacteria can be involved. The vet then applied a prescription treatment to the ears. Usually it has been Otomax. Most recently it was a newer product called Claro Otic. After I took the dog home I needed to continue applying Otomax for several days. (Claro is a single treatment.)

To prevent infections I also use a cleaning solution called TrizUltra, which was recommended by my vet. Some people find that allergies can increase a dog's chances of ear infections. A diet change might help, if allergies are the root of the problem. I wouldn't do that yet, though. Get the current infection under control, and see if you can keep the infection away by keeping the ears clean.

Here is a link to an AKC article on ear infections. Dog Ear Infections: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
 

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Ear infections are extremely common in poodles, cocker spaniels, and other dogs with long floppy ears. If your dog's ears smell like cheese or corn chips, she probably has an infection. You should take her to the vet for treatment.

When my dogs have had ear infections, the vet first cleaned all the gross waxy stuff out of the ear and determined which microorganisms were causing the infection. Both yeast and bacteria can be involved. The vet then applied a prescription treatment to the ears. Usually it has been Otomax. Most recently it was a newer product called Claro Otic. After I took the dog home I needed to continue applying Otomax for several days. (Claro is a single treatment.)

To prevent infections I also use a cleaning solution called TrizUltra, which was recommended by my vet. Some people find that allergies can increase a dog's chances of ear infections. A diet change might help, if allergies are the root of the problem. I wouldn't do that yet, though. Get the current infection under control, and see if you can keep the infection away by keeping the ears clean.

Here is a link to an AKC article on ear infections. Dog Ear Infections: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
These are her ears. Similar to what you saw when your dogs had infections?
479382
479383
 

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Zymox+hydrocortisone will clear this up and can be used once a week as a preventive. That's what my vet recommends and from what I've seen it is the most widely used.
 

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Zymox+hydrocortisone will clear this up and can be used once a week as a preventive. That's what my vet recommends and from what I've seen it is the most widely used.
I would have to get these prescribed from the vet right? Are these available over the counter
 

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What food is she eating? And do you keep track of any treats she gets, including human food scraps? If there’s a chance this is allergy-related (which it very well could be) I would start keeping a log of everything that goes in her mouth and anything she comes in contact with, such as pet shampoo, fabric softener, lawn care products, essential oils, etc.

Peggy’s trigger ended up being a very gentle shampoo used by our groomer. In her case the reaction manifested as goopy eyes, which wouldn’t flare up until a day or two after each appointment and would last for a week at a time. Because of the slight delay, it was surprisingly hard to make the connection. A log is essential.

She had a different kind of reaction to glycerin, which is found in many popular treats, even the “all natural” ones. Again, never would have connected the dots without our notes.
 

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What food is she eating? And do you keep track of any treats she gets, including human food scraps? If there’s a chance this is allergy-related (which it very well could be) I would start keeping a log of everything that goes in her mouth and anything she comes in contact with, such as pet shampoo, fabric softener, lawn care products, essential oils, etc.

Peggy’s trigger ended up being a very gentle shampoo used by our groomer. In her case the reaction manifested as goopy eyes, which wouldn’t flare up until a day or two after each appointment and would last for a week at a time. Because of the slight delay, it was surprisingly hard to make the connection. A log is essential.

She had a different kind of reaction to glycerin, which is found in many popular treats, even the “all natural” ones. Again, never would have connected the dots without our notes.
Hey thank you so much for the advice. We fed her Royal Canin for the first 2-3 months with us. Then transitioned her to a Turkey, Duck based kibble 1.5 months ago since she wasn’t eating the Royal Canin much. She always itched a bit but just a lot more recently. We have gone back to the Royal Canin for now. If this is an allergic reaction to something the vet gave during spaying or something before, would the symptoms simmer down after a week? We don’t give her any treats since she’s already a picky eater and don’t give table scraps. It’s just hard to know because she’s always itching. There hasn’t ever been an end and beginning that we can record.
 

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Do you have links to the specific formulas of each food? There might be overlapping ingredients that are in a higher concentration in the Turkey & Duck. Or if the allergy is environmental, exposure may have recently increased. I also imagine the trauma of surgery could worsen any existing inflammation, but I’m not a vet so I can’t say for sure what’s going on.

I do find that our memories are unreliable, though. My husband would swear Peggy had been reacting more. Then I’d look at my notes and see her symptoms had actually been less frequent. It can make you feel a little crazy, comparing your recollection to written notes, but that’s why it’s so important.
 

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These are her ears. Similar to what you saw when your dogs had infections?
View attachment 479382 View attachment 479383
My guys do get more wax than normal when their ears are infected. If one ear has more wax than the other, you know something is certainly going on. Scratch marks inside the ear are a sign of trouble, but dogs will scratch bug bites and ticks without a true infection. Really I find the sniff test is the best way to tell on my dogs. Ears that smell like Parmesan cheese or like Fritos corn chips are definitely infected.
 
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