Black Crust on Outer Dog Ears

by Jack Cheatwood
(Surrey BC Canada)

Dog Ear Picture - Black Crust on  Ear

Dog Ear Picture - Black Crust on Ear

My chihuahua developed a black crust that formed around his outer ears at about 10 months of age. We had two BLOOD panels done on him and all came back normal. My vet prescribed a steroid cream which only made his ears bleed but did remove the black crust. It seems to come back before it goes completely away. He has also had two scrapings and no mites of any kind. He also lives with my other chi's and no one has ever gotten this. HELP!

Editor Suggestions - ear problem in dog

The dog pinna or exposed part of a dog ear is a sensitive region of the body, especially the margin or edge of the ear. There are several dog ear problems, which can cause crusting, necrosis, bleeding etc. at the tip of the ear. Parasites are considered to be the most common cause, while other less common causes may be; ear margin seborrhea, proliferative vascular necrosis or dermatophytosis etc.

Steroid cream only helps to reduce localized inflammation, as you noted that the cream helped to reduce the dog ear crusting. This is not a specific treatment for this condition.

Your dog needs other therapeutics, which can only be prescribed after a specific diagnosis is achieved.

Go for differential tests, such as for fungal infection, seborrhea and ask for a biopsy of any abnormal localized glandular or cellular activity.

In the picture you provided, it seems that the dog ear skin has turned black, which means that hyper pigmentation has occurred - specifically there is abnormal keratin activity. This indicates that it is likely that your dog is suffering from ear marginal seborrhea, which causes hyper pigmentation, a problem which gradually spreads to the concave surface of ear. This assumption should be confirmed with additional tests. We'd prefer that you consult a dermato-pathologist for confirmation of our suspicions.

Specific treatment for canine ear marginal seborrhea is to use an anti seborrhea shampoo (Clinical Care Antiparasitic and Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo). Your veterinarian will prescribe corticosteroids and pentoxyfillne, which is a drug used orally or topically, depending upon the status of condition. Additional systemic medications such as vitamin c, retinoids and fatty acids are prescribed for controlling an abnormal keratinization process over the ear.

For time being, to control general and localized symptoms, we suggest using the medicated anti–seborrheal shampoo mentioned above - Clinical Care Antiparasitic and Antiseborrheic Medicated Shampoo. Steroid cream is effective in controlling severe symptoms, but it is never recommended for long term use. Natural remedies such as Skin and Coat Tonic can help to improve skin health, hair and follicular strength and the status of glandular activity.

Please keep us up to date on your dog's ear condition.

Comments for Black Crust on Outer Dog Ears

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Oct 15, 2015
Black ear tips
by: Anonymous

We adopted a little yorki with black crust on his ear tips. We tried several washing with ear cleaner and vet gave us ointment for yeast. On a trip out of state I forgot his medicine and popped into a Wal-Mart to see if they had anything that might help. All I could find was mite ear drops for cats. Kind of oily and took a while but over the next few months finally the crust went away and his hair grew back in. Had no problems since, but I do always make sure to clean his ears and check them every bath.

Apr 07, 2013
black ear crust
by: Tae

Our chihuahua had this exact same occurrence. She was on Iam's food and I decided to switch to Nutrience. Lo and behold the black crud on her ears disappeared. It stayed away for 6 months. Then I stupidly let her eat Royal Canin (my dachshund eats this,with no problem)) within 3 weeks the black on the edges of her ears came back.

Needless to say she is back on Nutrience. I suggest trying changing your dogs food.Just because my dog has an allergy of sorts to Iams and Royal Canin (among others) doesn't mean that is the food your dog has a problem with.I believe the black ear crud is food sensitivity problems. If you can't find one that works, your vet will have a sensitive skin food.

Good Luck

Feb 04, 2011
by: Anonymous

This looks like your little one has vasculitis. My jack russell has had this condition for several years and so far we have been unable to reverse it. She goes on steroids along with a daily get that gets put on her ears and it will clear up some. Her ears also get thick which is caused due to lack of blood flow. You can tell that it hurts or is bothersome to her because she will shake her head. We lightly rub her ears and she seems to like that but if you even touch them too hard she yelps. I don't know how old this post was - but if your vet has not mentioned vasculitis mention it to them and see what else they may need to do.

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