South Waikato veterinary Services

Skin And Ears


Skin Conditions
Skin problems are one of the more common issues we see in consult, with dogs more commonly presenting than cats. They present in different ways. Some animals will only be itchy. Others will scoot their behind on the carpet. Others yet will chew their feet. Some animals present with hairloss but no itching, while some present with all of the above.

Some of the causes of skin conditions include:
• Allergies (to food, pollen, grass, dust mites)
• Fleas
• Mites
• Infections
• Fungus (ringworm)
• Immune Mediated Disease

A thorough history and examination will be performed by your vet to rule in out out possible causes. Extra testing such as using a UV Lamp to check for Ringworm, or Skin Scraping to check for Mange may be needed.

Allergies are now so common in dogs that they deserve their own section. It is now estimated that 1 in 7 dogs suffer from allergic symptoms. Certain breeds may be more prone, but any dog can be affected.

An allergy is an unpleasant reaction caused by something physical in the dogs environment.

There are 4 main types of reaction:

1)Those caused by fleas or other biting insects (flea allergy dermatitis)
2)Those caused by food or drugs (food allergy)
3)Those caused by irritants contacting the skin directly (contact allergies)
4)Those caused by inhaled allergens like dust mites or pollens (canine atopy)

Excluding flea allegies, which are easily treatable, Canine Atopy is the leading cause of itching in dogs. The treatment for this is less simple as the causative factor (such as dust mites) are unable to be removed from the dogs environment.

Treatment for skin issues can range from very simple, to very involved, requiring multiple visits to us, trialling different treatments, or referral to a specialist to diagnose specific allergens. Arriving at a suitable treatment is necessary for your pets comfort and quality of life - nobody wants to be itchy all day!

Ear Conditions
Ear issues can occur solely, or as part of an allergic condition in some dogs. Allergies, infections and ear mites are the usual causes of itchy ears. Often, ear conformation plays a part in how prone a dog is to developing ear infections. Spaniels with their floppy ears, or Shar Peis with their small ear canals are some of the more common ‘problem breeds.’

Ear mites (brown crusty discharge, with no smell) can be easily treated with Advocate spot on treatment, but if the ears are smelly or the condition does not resolve, make sure we see your pet as soon as possible to check for infection.

Ear infections that are left untreated can cause permanent damage to the ear canal, and delicate structures of the ear. A common side effect seen from repeat ear infections is the aural heamatoma (where a small blood vessel in the ear flap bursts and fills part of the ear flap up with blood that is trapped between the cartilage in the ear and the skin). Aural haematoma’s usually require surgery to fix as well as treatment of the ear infection. Dogs that have repeat severe ear infections over time can have thickening and swelling of the ear canal walls (the inside of the ear will look similar in appearance to a rugby players cauliflower ears). This thickening of the walls of the ear canal actually increases the dogs risk of future ear infections and in some severe cases will require surgical correction to change the dogs inner ear conformation.


The South Waikato Veterinary Services team is committed to providing top quality and extensive professional services to the Tokoroa, Putaruru, Whakamaru, Mangakino, Tirohanga and Atiamuri areas.

Get In Touch

Contact us at one of our 3 locations

2 Satco Drive, Tokoroa

75 Tirau St, Putaruru

108 State Highway 30, Whakamaru

Quick Contact

© SWVS. South Waikato veterinary Services