Monday, February 14, 2011

My yellow Labrador Retriever's Ear Medication and Hair Loss

Subject: My yellow Labrador Retriever's Ear Medication and Hair Loss

From: Mandi (parts unknown)

Labrador Retriever Name: Hank

Reader's E-mail / Comment - Mandi Writes:

Hi. My husband and I read this entire email thread (Yellow Labrador Retriever Losing Hair on Sides - part I, II and III) as we believe our yellow lab, Hank, may have the same issue. I know this email chain is a few years old, but I wanted to know what the final diagnosis was for Cosmo.

Hank is almost 2 years old and has battled ear infections and allergies constantly. We were planning to get him allergy tested but then decided to hold off for now as the success rate is low. When I asked the vet about his hair loss, she was not concerned at all and said it was a result of the medication he is on for his ears.

He was on Predisone which made him very thirsty, hungry and tired. It worked for his itching, but I didnt want him on it long. He has also been on Otomax a majority of his 2 years for the ear infections.

Is this true, do you believe the ear meds are causing the hair loss? Any ideas or comments would be appreciated. Hank is our son and we love him so much and just want to make sure he is OK! Thanks, Mandi.

All About Labradors Answer:

Hello Mandi,

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's or specialist's advice. Disclaimer:

Hi Mandy,

I haven't talked to Connie in a long time but at last reports, Cosmo was doing well. He was taking an omega fatty acid and his fur was looking very shiny and healthy again. They were brushing him daily and it helped bring back some oil into his fur. He was also taking two 3 mg pills of melatonin for a hormone replacement and the growth of his coat was coming back almost completely.

Let's start with Hank's ear infections. Here are some things that might help:

One of the very best products I've used with success for gunk in my Labrador ears is called a blue power wash (actually I have seen it called many other things, as it has been on the Internet for ages).

"Blue Power Ear Treatment"


16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol (Witch Hazel)
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well. You will also need to shake solution every time you use it to disperse the Boric Acid Powder. An eye dropper can be used to fill the ear.

TREATMENT: Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if very inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Wait until inflammation has subsided which will be about 2 days.

Shake the bottle each time before using. Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle), massage gently for approximately a minute, then wipe with a cloth or tissue. Flood again a second time, and wipe again without massaging in. The dog will shake out the excess. Be advised, the Gentian Violet does stain.

The SCHEDULE of treatment is as follows:

Treat 2x per day for the first week to two weeks depending upon severity of ears
Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks
Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog)

All of these ingredients should be available at your local pharmacy. I like to use witch hazel instead of alcohol, as if any scratches are in the ear, the alcohol can cause burning. The Boric Acid Powder soothes the ear and the Gentian Violet Solution is an ant-infection agent. The solution appears to work well on many ear problems. I also like to warm my solution slightly, under warm water, but you can use it either way.

There is also a commercial version of this solution available called K9 Ear Solution. I've also had many people use and recommend DermaPet Malacetic Otic Ear Cleanser and Malacetic Otic Ear/Skin Cleanser.

If Hank displays discomfort or resist having the ears cleaned, stop immediately and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have the ears flushed.

Remember, keeping the ears clean is a great preventive measure against infections!

Hank's Hair Loss:

Dog hair loss can have a number of causes, ranging from disease or infection to a psychiatric disorder. Some cases of dog alopecia are hereditary.

Common causes include:

Hypothyroidism Causes Hormonal Imbalance
Cushing's Disease

Ear infections can also cause hair loss. As the infection clears up, the hair will regrow. As for Prednisone Hank was taken, it can cause dry, brittle hair or loss of the hair coat.

Remember, you must find the cause to treat the problem. I would recommend taking Hank to get allergy testing to find out if there are any other medical conditions causing his hair loss.

Hope this is of some help and keep us updated on Hank's condition.

Take care of yourself and Cosmo,


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Julia Vandegraaf February 16, 2011 3:02 PM  

Okay, kind of weird that I went on this blog today and have not been on for years! I am Connie and I own Cosmo! He is suffering ear infection after ear infection, most likely due to outside allergy, BUT our little, female lab is making it worse by licking. HOW DO I GET HER TO STOP?
As for Cosmo, he DID lose a tremendous amount of hair. The Vet thought it was allergy, but it grew back and never happened again.

Fay February 18, 2011 5:09 AM  

Hello Connie long time no talk! The last time we talked was Saturday, March 29, 2008 - Adding another Labrador Retriever to the Family. My last update of Cosmo was posted from our e-mail here: Update - Yellow Labrador Retriever Losing Hair on Sides.

Hope all is well with you. Odd how Cosmo's hair grew back and never happened again. Any other advice you could provide for this reader would be helpful.

Here's a nice easy way to discourage your Labrador pup to stop licking Cosmo's ears: How to Stop a Puppy From Chewing Another Dog's Ears.

Great to hear from you again and any further information you can provide would be helpful.


Julia Vandegraaf February 18, 2011 7:12 AM  

Fay, As for the other Lab losing hair, Cosmo's could have been stress. He has the most relaxing, wonderful life, but he gets upset with things. If I look back, I wonder if he had been at a kennel for our February break? The Omega 3 fatty acid has helped his coat and I think the temporary melatonin did help. We now have another lab (a female from his litter's female) I also think the companionship has made him more secure.

Good luck to the owner with hair and ear. I feel Labs must be prone to ear infections or allergies. Cosmo's ears have been a mess-It is not food, it is something outside and I don't want to go further with the testing etc. We just keep up with the management when they get bad.

I just happened to think of your site when Scotch was licking Cosmo's ear and there was his story of losing hair! Ironic!

Thanks for the advise--I will read it thoroughly and get back to you with questions.

Great site, Fay!

Fay February 19, 2011 11:11 AM  

Thank you sooo much Connie for the update!!! I greatly appreciate it and hope it will be of help to Mandi and the other readers of this blog.

Make sure you stop by every now and then and add a comment if you feel you can be of further help to some of the readers. It's really helpful to get advice from fellow seasoned Labrador Retriever owners!!

One last thing, we have a photo of the ever handsome Cosmo, if you get a chance, MAYBE we can get a look at your new beauty, Scotch.

Take care of yourself and the Lab Gang.


CC May 12, 2011 11:08 AM  

My 4 year old male lab is losing fur like crazy too. The vet has tested him for parasites, bacteria, etc and all tests have come back negative. It sounds like he's too young to have Cushing's and I know Hyperthyroidism is rare. I'm wondering if the hair loss patterns the hair loss w/ either of your labs. In my dog, Bear, he started shedding heavily in early February. Now his belly is bare and the tops of his legs are pretty bare too. Pretty much anywhere where there's friction, all his fur seems to have rubbed off. Elsewhere (like on his back) if you grab a tuft of fur and pull, you end up pulling out a handfull of fur, because it's so loose. His food contains fish oil, but I'm going to try adding some more vitamins in. Any other suggestions? Does this sound like the shedding problem your dog is having?

Recycled Ranch May 27, 2012 12:34 AM  

I found this blog while looking up Lab hair loss. I have a black female who is 15 months old. She had a fabulous coat 2 weeks ago, now I think she is going bald! She is loosing hair in patches, and you can pull hair out in tufts. I am so afraid if I brush her it will all be gone! I am going to try adding vitamins of some kind....I took her to a hunt training class 2 weeks ago and was told how nice her coat was by a few people...I am hoping to show her in Sept., but now am worried her coat will be gone! If there is no improvement i a week, we will go to the vet. Otherwise she is her crazy retrieving self!

Unknown July 01, 2012 1:37 PM  

Can you help? I have a 3yr old golgen lab bitch. she has recently started excessive shedding and developed 2 bald patches on her sides. I was wondering if it could have a connection with the african grey parrot they we recently inherited? as this seams to have happened shortly after his arrival. allergy or jealousy??

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