Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. Unfortunately, it sounds like your dog has numerous problems that may or may not be related. Low red blood cells indicated that he is anemic. There are many reasons for this and without knowing the underlying condition it is very hard to fix the problem. The sores and scaley patches can be caused by a nutritional deficiency, endocrine problem, etc. If your vet has not been able to diagnosis his condition, it may be best to see an internal medicine specialist.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

There are at least four reasons why a dog can have sores on the ear margin: Damage caused by scratching or shaking due to an ear infection. Infestation with sarcoptic mange mites (`fox mange`) Other skin problems such as allergy.
The most common sign of a mite infestation is a scab or abrasion at the base of the ear, which is the result of a dog scratching with his hind limb claws. Bacteria can infect the open wounds, leading to infection. In heavy infestations, ear mites may start to invade other parts of the dog`s body.
Some of the causes of ear dermatitis are mites, mange, allergy, injury, fissures, and seborrhea. Even though these conditions seem like no big deal, your pet would definitely disagree. The intense itching and subsequent pain can be a constant annoyance and may lead to scarring.
Yeast Infections Seen in Dogs

Yeast infections can also be called “Malassezia dermatitis, or Yeast Dermatitis” and it usually occurs in a dog`s ears, between their paw pads, or in their skin folds. This condition can make the affected area of your dog`s skin itchy, red, and irritated.

If your dog swims or is bathed frequently, trapped water or debris in the ear canal can lead to yeast infections. Allergens like pollens, mold, dust, feathers, cigarette smoke, cleaning products, and certain foods can also lead to ear infections in a dog.
Common irritants and allergens include earrings, hair and skin care products, food, pollen, cell phones or headphones. Asteatotic eczema: Asteatotic eczema commonly affects people 65 years of age and older. Changes in the weather or temperature cause asteatotic eczema, and it tends to flare up during the winter season.
A fair number of pet dogs also have allergic skin disease nowadays. Some of these are seasonal, a bit like hay fever in people; and some are all year round. These dogs get areas of itchy, inflamed skin, like eczema, and the ears are often affected.
Signs of ear mites in dogs include scratching around the ears, head and neck, skin irritation, head shaking, the presence of an ear discharge that is dark and waxy (resembling coffee grounds) and an unpleasant odour from the ears.
Systematic fungal infections. Systematic fungal infections invade the inner workings of your pup`s body, often attacking your pet`s nasal passages, lungs, bones or eyes. Aspergillosis, Cryptococcosis, and Blastomycosis are three of the most common systematic fungal infections seen in dogs throughout the US.
Many illnesses that cause dog ear infections also bring on itchy skin issues. The shape of a dog`s ear canal predisposes them to ear problems. Moisture can get trapped inside the ear canal, which leads to infection and pain. Environmental, food, or parasite allergies can cause ear infections and itchy skin.
“Scabies in pets most commonly appears on elbows, ear tips, faces, lower leg, and chest areas, but severe cases can affect the entire body,” Cooley says. “They can occur in any dog at any age.”
The bacteria most commonly isolated from ear canals of dogs affected by otitis are Staphylococcus spp. (2). Other bacteria commonly associated with otitis include Pseudomonas, Proteus, Enterococcus, Streptococcus, and Corynebacterium.
A dog ear yeast infection may be mistaken for allergies. But it`s often caused by yeast. It could be candida, the most common type of yeast … but it might also be malassezia, a different type of yeast. Yeast can smell musty … a bit like an old shoe.
Even though eczema and autoimmune diseases share commonalities, based on current medical knowledge and definitions, eczema is technically not autoimmune.
Olive oil is generally safe to use in small quantities in the ear. However, people with a ruptured eardrum should never put olive oil or other substances in the ear. Irrigating the ear with olive oil can cause side effects such as itching, outer ear infections, dizziness, and skin irritation.
The infectious agent is most commonly bacterial, although fungus (otherwise known as yeast) can also be implicated in an inner ear infection. If your dog has ear mites in the external ear canal, this can ultimately cause a problem in the inner ear and pose a greater risk for a bacterial infection.
Fungal ear infections affect your outer ear — most often, your ear canal. It happens when funguses (such as Aspergillus and Candida) grow and spread in your ear. Because funguses thrive in warmer temperatures, fungal ear infections are most common during hotter months.
When some dogs eat ingredients such as chicken, wheat, corn or other individual items, ingestion will trigger an allergic reaction that can alter the natural flora and allow an unnatural growth of yeast. If your pet suffers from yeasty ears, attempt altering their diet to eliminate common triggers.
“There are many topical, oral, and systemic agents,” Dr. Miller notes, “and most—such as ivermectin—are highly effective. Even one old-time remedy—baby oil—can do the job. A few drops put into an affected ear several times a day for a month or so will usually smother the mites.”
The good news is that there are highly effective treatments available for ear mites in dogs. A single dose of NexGard® or NexGard SPECTRA® is highly effective at treating ear mites in puppies and dogs. Dogs with ear mites may develop secondary ear infections which require additional treatment.
If your pet has ear mites, these mites can travel to your bedding and furniture and then attach themselves to you — a human host. Keep in mind you don`t have to have an animal of your own to get ear mites. You can develop an infection if you come in close contact with anyone`s pet who has ear mites.
Most Common Bacterial Infections in Dogs

Dogs typically contract this infection from contaminated, stagnant water, or from coming in contact with urine from other animals infected with the bacteria. Dogs also may get it through bites or from mating with other infected dogs.

Never put olive oil, vinegar, shampoo, or any other substance in a dog`s ear. Also, avoid poking around with cotton buds in the ear, you will only work any wax and debris further in and potentially damage the eardrum.
Canine atopic dermatitis (CAD) is a common skin disorder defined as a hereditary predisposition to develop pruritic inflammatory skin disease associated with IgE antibodies, which typically target environmental allergens.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. One of my pet’s ears seems very irritated. What I can use to clean it with?
ANSWER : A. Ear Irritation can be caused by a number of things ranging from allergies, ear infections or even mites. Dirty ears can also cause irritation and problems. Knowing the type of problem is best for figuring out how to treat it.

For plain dirty ears that do not have any odor, redness or leakage of discharge/debris, a simple over the counter canine ear cleaner can be used. Gently soak some cotton balls or a washcloth with the cleaner, and then use these to wipe out the flap of the ear and opening to the ear. Do NOT use Q-tips as these can become stuck or lodged in the curve of the ear canal and may cause injury to the ear drum.

If the ear is bright red or itchy without any dirt or debris in it, it may indicate an allergy. Sometimes an allergy medication can help provide relief in this situation. Your vet can give you the correct dosages of an over the counter allergy medication to use, or may recommend one specifically for dogs.

For infections and mites, changes to the ear such as bad smell or lots of debris and discharge, flecks of black or brown debris, or scabs and sores in the ear may be present. In these cases, it is best to have your vet take a sample of the ear debris to test for mites or infection. Your vet can then give you an ointment that is placed and left in the ear between ear cleanings. Most vets will then recommend cleaning the ears twice daily and then leaving in the ointment after for a period of ten days.

Ear mites ARE contagious to other pets, so if your dog does have them, it is best to treat any other pets in the house at the same time to prevent the mites from spreading around continuously.

Q. Sores in ears not healing Poor appetite Scaly places on skin Weight loss Losing protein Low red blood count
ANSWER : A. Unfortunately, it sounds like your dog has numerous problems that may or may not be related. Low red blood cells indicated that he is anemic. There are many reasons for this and without knowing the underlying condition it is very hard to fix the problem. The sores and scaley patches can be caused by a nutritional deficiency, endocrine problem, etc. If your vet has not been able to diagnosis his condition, it may be best to see an internal medicine specialist.

Q. Russian blue mix cat – usually velvet soft coat but hair on back hind qtrs. is thinning, remaining hair seems less velvety than normal
ANSWER : A. Changes in coat appearance can be caused by a number of things. In older cats, hair loss or changes in coat and skin confirmation may indicate a metabolic issue such as thyroid problems. Cats can begin to lose hair and may also show other changes such as weight changes or appetite changes. Blood work is usually done to check for this, and most pets do very well with a daily medication treatment.

Hair loss can also be caused by mites on the skin, external parasites or even skin and fungal infections. These may cause red bumps or sores to appear on the skin in addition to the hair loss and coat changes. Your vet can take a skin scraping of the area to check for mites and infections, and a preventive flea treatment can remove any external parasites. If an infection or mites are present, your vet can also prescribe an antibiotic or topical cream to treat.

After any treatment it may take a month or two for completely bald patches to grow back in. This is normal as the skin and follicles need some time to heal prior to beginning the hair growth cycle again.

Q. My pet shows weight loss and has a hard time walking, like he has lost strength in his legs and has no control to maintain balance. What’s wrong?
ANSWER : A. Loss of balance or inability to control the limbs can be caused by a wide range of problems and is usually cause for concern. Damage to the nerves or muscles can cause loss of balance, as well as neurological disease or some illnesses. Having your vet perform a complete examination is needed to determine the exact cause.

Weight loss can refer to the actual loss of fat and weight on your dog, or may also be due to the loss of muscle tone in the body. If there is a problem with one of the limbs, it may be that the weight loss you are seeing is actually loss of muscle in that area. Weight loss can again be caused by a wide range of problems from neurologic disease, illness, parasites or disease. Making an appointment with your vet is best.

Q. My dog is having ear problems. I have had her at two vets and they can not seem to find the cause. Can you help?
ANSWER : A. For a pet with chronic ear issues I would recommend checking her thyroid levels. Hypothyroidism can be a cause of chronic ear infections.

Then I would recommend having a bacterial culture of the ear debris to ensure the appropriate antibiotic is chosen to completely rid the bacteria in there. If there is resistant bacteria, the ear will appear to get better at first but then once ear meds are stopped they will thrive again and cause a re-emergency of the ear infection. Also longer treatment may be needed, for example instead of 7-10 days, perhaps 14 days continuously.

If all else fails, I would recommend a skull radiographs to look for signs of a narrow ear canal and/or an inner ear infection which will require not only topical antibiotic ointments put into the ear, but also oral antibiotics.
Most ear infections are caused by moisture in the ears, narrow ear canals, hypothyroidism or skin allergies. Each one has to be gone through systematically.

Q. Dog has dry ears and it itches him. Any recommended soothing lotions??
ANSWER : A. I will answer this question as if you are speaking of the inside of the ears (not the external). Most dogs ears aren’t dry unless they have other skin issues such as skin allergies, which can be seasonal or year around and caused by many different things, such as foods, environment, dust, grass, pollen, and products (shampoos, perfumes, etc). Check in the ears for waxy build up. The ears should be clean of any wax and dry. If they have build up, I would take a cotton ball, and soak half of it in a dog ear cleaning solution. This solution should be made specifically for dogs, and your local vet would most likely sell the appropriate brand.

I would address any possible skin allergies, if they do not have any other skin issues, then looking inside the ears and cleaning with a good ear cleaner (should be alcohol free—because alcohol is very drying) If the ear scratching continues regularly then bring him/her into the vet to have a proper ear exam.

Q. I have two problems with my 16 yrs old dog: he’s constipated and has a ear ache. What can I use to relieve these?
ANSWER : A. Constipation is a common problem in dogs that can be due to a number of things. However it is a good idea to make sure the constipation is not actually diarrhea, as some dogs can strain after a bowel movement, making it look like such. If constipation is present, adding a little pumpkin puree or plain yogurt to the diet can help make digestion easier and make stools easier to pass. However if symptoms do not resolve after a few days, it is best to speak with your vet.

For ear aches, it is best to have your vet examine the ear as many things including allergies, ear infections, mites and more can cause ear problems. If the ear is just dirty, then cleaning the ear gently with cotton balls or a clean washcloth and a dog ear cleaning solution can help. Do not use Q-tips as a dog’s ear has a 90-degree turn in it and placing Q-tips in the ear can cause damage to the canal or inner ear. However if the problem persists or cleaning does not help, it is best to seek care.