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Have a 9 year old female shih tzu who has developed problems...

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Question by Lois G.
Submitted on 8/12/2003
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Have a 9 year old female shih tzu who has developed problems with her Equilibrium.  Started about 6 weeks ago when she started walking off the side of the pier.  In the last week and 1/2 she is unsteady on her feet and her head lists to the left.  Was diagnosed with middle ear infection but vet cannot see into the middle ear, after 2 visits and a sediation, the canals are too narrow.  Her temperature is down but problem is not clearing up.  X-rays do not show anything.  We have been recommended to go to a specialist at the University of Wis/Madison.  Has anyone experienced this problem?

Answer by Ron
Submitted on 10/11/2003
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Answer by Isiris
Submitted on 10/25/2003
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I have 2 Shih Tzus but have not had those problems. Most problems are caused by diet.  What diets are you feeding?  Consider giving your babies a BARF diet (Bones And Raw Foods).  My youngest Shih Tzu (now 5yrs.) had a problem with (I can't remember the medical name) the nerve impulses from her brain to her jaw and her jaw was hanging open.  The Vet diagnosed it as a dislocated jaw and tried to relocate it thereby slightly fracturing the front of her jaw.  We took her to the Animal Medical Ctr. and they diagnosed it properly.  I fed her a finely ground BARF diet which she could lap up and she was able to recouperate within 4 weeks. I also have a Cocker Spaniel who had Hemolitic Anemia and was put on Steroids and other medications and had started to recouperate slowly and when I started feeding them the BARF diet, she was running around the house in 2 days.  If you'd like to contact me directly: isirisc@yahoo.com.


Answer by Anna
Submitted on 10/27/2003
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I have a tiny, 9-yr old shih tzu weighing less than 3 lbs.  She stopped using the stairs, and started holding her head back, like she had a stiff neck. Now, she has trouble walking and sometimes one of her paws will quiver.  X-rays of her spine show no real problem.  My vet seems to think it is hepatic encephalopathy (liver shunt disease).  Personally, I think the groomer dropped her... She's so sweet and it's so sad to see her this way. When she goes pee-pee, her little legs slide out from under her and she looks like a turtle. Needless to say, it's hard to keep her clean. I've tried the L/D diet and she almost starved to death... Anyone have any ideas?  Is there another approach?  Thanks!


Answer by pdog80@aol.com
Submitted on 11/10/2003
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I have a five year old shih tzu and he has had a ear infection for 6 months and it smells real bad. he will scratch his ear and after he does that he will lick the paw. he also will sit point his he straight up and lick straight up like he is licking at the
sky.he also shakes his head and you can hear liquid in his ears.The vet miss diagnosed him all three times so. I had a culture done on his ear and it came back as a bacterial


Answer by Lorena
Submitted on 11/30/2003
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I have a 12-yr old Shih Tzu who gets at least two to three ear infections each year. (I just got a new baby Shih Tzu...4 mos. old w/ a HORRID ear infection in both ears). Here is my regiment for the older one:

- I check his ears every few days and if it looks a little red, I will clip his ears up with a small (tight) elastic...be careful not to tie his actual ear tips...just the hair. Sometimes this helps and if caught early will prevent me from using medicine. Clean with a q-tip to dry it out. It is very important to get air into their little ears...having no air harbors yeast.
- ALWAYS pull any excess hair out of their ears...I use tweezers - pull a little at a time. I know this sounds crazy, but I let him see it and show him that I am helping him get better...CRAZZZZY!

Regarding the puppy...his ears were a mess...wouldn't even let me touch them. I have never experienced such a bad infection - in both ears. He has been to the vet twice in the past week. He is being treated with ear ointment, Otomax, for twelve days now - twice a day. I brought him back to vet because it wasn't getting better...a lot of brown junk coming out his ear still...they gave me ear wash to flush it out and said to continue the ointment for five more days. I asked the vet if I should pin his ears back and she said yes, that it was a good idea...it angers me that these vets don't tell people this. His ears have been pinned back/up for two days now (keep a close eye on the elastic that they don't eat it)...I am happy to report that they are looking much better - although he looks very funny.

This all makes sense to me because I have a 13-yr old daughter that is prone to ear infections, especially in the summer (due to swimming). Her physician said to blow dry her ears after swimming to dry them out....this was going to be my next step with this puppy. I hope all of this helps...


Answer by Feather & MING LING
Submitted on 1/16/2004
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Ming Ling is 13 January 2004. Since he was a 'rescue' dog he was about 8 mo when I got him.  He had one 'ear' problem & I used antibiotics & a histamine's(like I use when I get inner ear problems)   I use homeopathic mostly, except when he had a cough ONCE.
I keep the hair in his ears pulled out and he seems to have NO problems with them for the last 10 yrs.
What problem he does have is a pigmentation of the lense on one eye.  
Has anyone with a senior dog had this problem & if so what did you do???
My email is aquarius7@cybermesa.com
Thanks for reading this.


Answer by rosbear
Submitted on 1/26/2004
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My 11yr old shih tzu passed away last week, in the last 12mths, he developed symptoms similar t o what has been mentioned walking strangely and having paw shaking etc. As it turned out he had a enlarged heart chamber and this was causing him to not get enough oxygen in his system and thereby making him a little dazed in the brain department. As the vet explained it was like a human having little strokes. He was put on several heart medications and it improved him for a while until he finally succumbed last week.  good luck to the owners with the shih tzu who have this problem.  it is apparently more prominent in the mixed breed dogs, shih tzus crossed with maltese etc.


Answer by McEnroe
Submitted on 2/4/2004
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I have a 5 year old Shih Tzu.  He was diagnosed as having Kidney, Liver and Blood Parasites (from ticks) problems a few weeks back.  The vet has him under antibiotics and kidney medicine which seem to help.  However, one particular symptom he exhibited was twitching of the back  (from the middle of his body to his hind legs).  The vet said that this was connected to his ailments and it seemed to go away for a few days.  Now it is back and we don't really know what to do about it.  Has anyone ever experienced this with their dog and what can be done so the twitching won't come back?  Thanks.


Answer by Cupcake
Submitted on 2/12/2004
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We have an 11 week old female shih tzu puppy named Tifanny.  We are feeding her Purina puppy chow.  Is it okay to give her a little 1% mile or should be stick to water?


Answer by Cupcake
Submitted on 2/13/2004
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We have an 11 week old female shih tzu puppy named Tifanny.  We are feeding her Purina puppy chow.  Is it okay to give her a little 1% milk or should be stick to water?


Answer by Peggy
Submitted on 2/23/2004
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I would stay away from giving your dog milk.  Water is great for dogs and they love it.  Just make sure her water dish is cleaned every day and she always has fresh water.  As for her diet, I would try Science Diet or Windsong.  Something that is really a good food.  You will be happy that you gave her good food in the long run.


Answer by muggz
Submitted on 4/8/2004
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my shih tzu.been having like csizers he is 5years old he starts shaking ,he puts up frount paws .he looks like he is paine ,then he trys to walk his back lags give out he falls over this and lasts 2mins then gos away ,think he has heart problem.


Answer by Christie
Submitted on 5/26/2004
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Answer regarding Ming Ling and pigmentation on one eye. If it looks like a type of film has developed over it. Then Ming Ling has probably started to get cataracts. I have an 11yr. old Shih tzu, and the doctor recommended a "eye doctor" for dogs to remove it before it got worse (like I have $2000 in my pocket). Or he will easily adapt to loosing sight in his eye. I cry to this day, and when I win the lottery that's the first thing I'll have done. But that's what it sounds like to me.


Answer by Alicia
Submitted on 6/9/2004
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About the seizers your dog is having. Have you noticed any pattern? My dog only got them after being exposed to ANY perfume (groomers, carpet cleaners, closed automobile with freshener) I don't let the groomer put perfume on her and keep her away from whatever I can that smells overly strong and sweet. This has helped tremendously! Good luck.


Answer by Meeko
Submitted on 6/17/2004
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I have a 12 yr old shih tzu and he has been having inconsistent back/leg problems obviously resulting in walking problems for awhile.  Although lately within the past few months it has been worse.  I woke up in the middle of the night to his screaming bloody murder and jumped up to him looking scared like I have never seen.  He was stuck in side position from sleeping and could not get up as if he was paralyzed.  I took him to the vet and he has a rate of 2 or 3 from a scale of 1-5 for a heart murmur as well as his left foot is paralyzed and not reacting to the tests of normal foot reaction like his right foot.  He walks sometimes like there is a big weight on his lower back and legs.  I just don't know what to do because the cost for x-rays, tests, etc. is not possible.  He has such great spirit but the physical strain is affecting tremendously and he is depressed and exhausted.  I know he has a good year or two left and I just want them to be happy and not painful, please advise if anyone can.  Thanks everyone-I read it all and it helped so much.


Answer by Andrea
Submitted on 7/9/2004
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I'm answering about the seizers and walking problems.  The seizers can be triggered off by colourings in their food. I have a 13 year old terrier and he's been having seizers all his life but I have them under control by watching what food I give him. It's amazing how much artifical additives are in dog food! Has anyone ever tried to take their dog with walking problems to a animal Chiropractor. They are out there and can help. I'm talking about Chiropractors, not physiotherapists, there is a huge difference. There may be a nerve being pinched where a ordinary vet will not notice.


Answer by Lew
Submitted on 9/30/2004
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I  have  13  year  old  female Shih-Tzu  ,Mai-Ling  which  has  been spayed.Last  year  she developed  a  redness in the  white  of  her  right  eye.The  vet  told  me  it  was  an eye  infection and  gave  me  ,or i  should  say  sold me , a tube of  Polysporin Ophthalmic ointment and  told  me  to  put  some in  her  eye  twice  daily.I  did  this   but  the  redness  persist  .Any  Ideas  would greatly  appreaciated


Answer by Jayne
Submitted on 10/17/2004
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We have a 4yr old 6# Shih-Tzu that started picking at her food a few weeks ago.  We took in a stool sample right away which the Vet said had no worms.  She's lost about 2# total now and in the last few days has refused to eat.  Yesterday I noticed she was holding her head to the left and has become very wobbly when walking.  I've been force feeding her baby food today and will  until I can get her back to the Vet.  A friend thinks she might have tape worms and is weak from not eating.  She said Vets don't always check for tape worm.   Anyone else had any problem like this??  I'm so scared...she's our baby.


Answer by gasphorjae
Submitted on 12/11/2004
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The siezures you are describing are probably Elpilepsy, not uncommon in dogs. You should see a vet. He will probably persribe Phenobarbitol in tablet form. I would have it taken care of, untreated it can be dangerous. My girl was diagnosed when she was 2 and is still doing great at 12.


Answer by TJ
Submitted on 3/15/2005
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This is for Meeko I have a 12.5 year old shih tzu & I am noticing him slowing down. He also has a heart murmer & not on any meds. He started having a problem going downstairs to go to the bathroom he would miss the last 3 steps & jump. He put his back out from the steps & was whining in the night but in the day a bit better. I didn't take him to the vet & he eventually got better in a week. Just help him a bit more now with stairs & jumping on the bed. He is old & has to take it easier. My shih tzu also has decided not to eat for the first time. I give him turkey as a treat & I think he thinks I will feed him that as FOOD. I quit giving him the turkey & hopefully when he is hungry enough he will eat his senior science diet.


Answer by abcdefg
Submitted on 4/11/2005
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I have an 8 year old shih tzu. my husband and i have to go to work in the morning and my son has to go to school. we only allow it to go into my sons room the kitchen and the pantry. he sleeps in my sons room on his own bed. in the afternoon my husband came home for lunch and brought him outside but he didnt go to the bathroom. my son got home and there were 3 piles of poop on the kitchen floor. how can we get it to stop? we have food and water in a bowl for it to eat whenever it wants. is this a problem. we just got it 3 days ago.


Answer by aries
Submitted on 4/11/2005
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I have a shi-tuz who was recently dropped. I took him into the vet and they could find nothing wrong. But he is cocking his head to the side and kind of moves in a circle and twistes his right side of his jaw. He dosen't eat much at all... he dosen't eat hard food anymore, only soft can food.. does anyone know what it could be????????


Answer by Kelly
Submitted on 5/31/2005
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i have a 6yr old shih tzu he has an itchin problem, i have been to the vets and got nothing to help him.i'vbeen on the internet and i thin he has a yeast infection, what product do i use to help it?


Answer by Gudrun
Submitted on 7/31/2005
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I have a two year old shih-tzu and I feed her with boiled brown rice (important that the rice is brown natural) and then I chop chicken or lamb or tuna or other kind of fish to it, half rice and half meet/fish.  She loves tomatoes and pepper fruit, orange, appels.  Grapes and honey melon gives her stommach ache.  Natural food is the best food for your dog, keeps the doctor away :-)


Answer by Gudrun
Submitted on 7/31/2005
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I forgot to add with the natural food for dogs, you need to add to 1 tsp. oil to the food every day.  Buy quality oil.  Cold pressed oliv oil or other high quality oil in glass bottle.  Oils in plastic are not of good quality.
I also give my dog raisins, she loves raisins.  


Answer by mike s
Submitted on 10/16/2005
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I bought my first "set" of female shih tzus in 1969, and they lived to be 20 and 19 respectively. I am on my second set of 2 females that I bought in 1990. Tips I have learned over these many years - pull, do not cut the hair in the ears. Vets can direct you to a place that sells a set of scissors like device (blunt) that will let you do this easily. If you do not pull the hair out monthly or so, you shih tzu will eventually go deaf (around age 10-15 for my first 2). No, I am not neglectful - I just did not know.
Second - keep their beautiful lashes trimmed, as well as the hair around their eyes. If you see persistent bloodshot eyes (3 or 4 days or so), take your dog to the vet immediately and get some ointment for conjunctivitis, and possibly an anti-biotic as well. If you have a shih tzu with chronic conjunctivitis, and the ointment is not working, get thee to a vet immediately for antibiotics. If you do not, your shih tzu can quite easily get an eye infection that can cost it it's eye. Their eyes, while beautiful, are very fragile.
Third - watch out for food allergies. Vets will try to sell you all kinds of shots for shih tzu skin allergies, but the one thing I stumbled on was  IAMS Response FP (fish and potatoes). BOTH my shih tzus had bad itching problems, which immediately went away upon getting off beef, chicken or lamb based foods. It was like a miracle.

These are the main things I can think of, but just remember, that with their long lives comes health care costs when they get old - just like us.  


Answer by lady Z
Submitted on 10/26/2005
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My dog shih tzu have many problems he has an ear infection  that is so bad when you open his ear it smells bad he has skin infection also  I  try giving him medication ,but it seems not to work on him another problem that he has he gets seager attacks i feel so bad for the dog I try my best to take care of him.


Answer by kat
Submitted on 11/8/2005
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I have 2 year old Shih Tzu also and he has been suffering from seizers also. His first one when he was 6 months and the second a year after that. Its been 5 months now and he has had 2 in the last week. The Dr. tested he blood and some other basic things and he could not find any reason for the seizers is there anything specific that I should have the Dr. test for or that I should be watching for. I am very lost on this subject and this site is the best place I have come across that has help me. Any comments or suggestions that anybody has would be great.


Answer by Surprised
Submitted on 12/4/2005
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My shih-tzu recently started flying around, ive never seen a dog fly before so i was a little concerned, especially since he could hit our ceiling fan. When i took him outside i was really concerned with the power lines but my neighbor said that as long as he isnt grounded he should be ok. Can anyone else share their experiences with their flying shih-tzu, i wonder if this is breed specific?


Answer by Rosemamma
Submitted on 1/16/2006
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Regarding skin and ear problems. I recommend AVO Derm brand pet food and shampoo.  It is basically a vegeterian diet and you will be amazed how quickly your pet gets well on this plan.  I have used it for many years and recommended it to family and friends with great results.  I just wonder if it won't work for those little guys wit balance issues.  Worth a try! My groomer recommended it for problems the vets were not able to cure.  I also use a pet chiropractor.  My 6 year old Shih tzu is very healthy  - just a runny right eye.


Answer by emily
Submitted on 1/17/2006
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hi i like to know i have a 14 year old chow who has bad arthritis in her hind legs and her left leg would also go straight towards her front chest and she would like march with that leg and it would sometimes go to the right causing her to fall down now within a 2 hour nap that she took when she got up she was not able to stand on her left leg to walk it now goes straight to her right leg when she walks the doctor said it could be from her arthritis getting worse or the nerve and solutions i am open to any thing please hope is needed i am lost


Answer by wanda
Submitted on 3/18/2006
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I have a 5 year old and in the last few days she has started acting very strange. When she runs sometimes she will just fall stright over and act like she cant get up. she also is having problems walking like her lower back and hind legs wont move well. Vet said to keep an eye on her and my be a blood clot or some tick diesase.  any advice or comments would be very appricated. krissz_21@hotmail.com


Answer by wanda
Submitted on 3/18/2006
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I have a 5 year old and in the last few days she has started acting very strange. When she runs sometimes she will just fall straight over and act like she cant get up. she also is having problems walking like her lower back and hind legs wont move well. Vet said to keep an eye on her and my be a blood clot or some tick disease.  any advice or comments would be very appreciated. krissz_21@hotmail.com


Answer by Jennyfer
Submitted on 3/20/2006
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I just got a little dog, his name is Galeno.  He was perfect at first, but now he's having difficulty getting up his hind legs.  He'll lie down or sit and it gives him such a hard time to get his hind legs in position to walk.  If I pick him up and place him correctly, he can walk, though pretty slowly compared to a healthy dog. He apparently can't run, and if his legs give out he'll even urinate laying down.  He's only a few weeks old.  Please help!


Answer by stacey
Submitted on 3/27/2006
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I have a 2 year old male shih tzu. He used to be playful befor he went to the groomer but when he came back he was shacking and he is looking at his right back leg alot. Now he never wants to play. Im not sure whats wrong


Answer by Tiffani
Submitted on 5/13/2006
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I have a 13 year old German Shepherd Female with arthritis in the rear hips and legs. My wife and I had to go away for a week and much to our reluctance, we put her in a kennel. When we picked her up, we now find her with her head tilted to one side and barely able to walk. She's kind of lopsided and her arthritic situation now seems moot to a more serious neck problem. She was having difficulty getting around prior to the stay at the kennel, but now it's even more cumbersome for her. Would a stroke act like this, or, is it more of a trauma from rough handling at this reputable kennel?


Answer by Snootie
Submitted on 7/10/2006
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My 11 year old shih tzu began urinating in the house in one area.  I took him to the vet with a urine sample and they diagnosed him with an infection and he is now on Cephalexin.  Has this happened to anyone else, and was the Cephalexin treatment successful?


Answer by Tatiana
Submitted on 9/8/2006
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I have a 6 year old shih tzu and in the last few weeks he has constantly started licking himself and his hair is falling out. His tail is completely raw and his head and back hair is falling out in clumps. Does anyone know what this might be from?


Answer by Vince
Submitted on 11/26/2006
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i just got a 2 month old male shih tzu, He is great and full of excitement but i find that he scratches himself alot and is constanly rubbing his face with his paw. What does this mean?


Answer by Liz
Submitted on 11/28/2006
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I started watching dog shows since my sister got 2 shih-tsu. The breeder used to have a lot of health problems with her dogs until she started cooking for them. My sister is doing the same thing, rice and some kind of meat or bones. I have always gave my dog the ends of a bone into her half dry/ half can food (mix in some home made), a drop of olive oil in each ear once a mth. she was happy and healthy. we bought shih-tzu 2 days age and will do the same thing. I will have liver with the dog once a week, will help her kidneys and so on. The vet. and pet stores will discourage you, this is big business. thank you for all the info, took what I needed and do what I think is best. lr@rogers.m    


Answer by Janet
Submitted on 1/25/2007
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We have an 18th month old shih tzu.  The veterinarian just told us he has bilateral retinal detachments, which means he has just gone blind.  Has anybody else with Shih Tzu'shad this before? Did you find any treatment that helped?


Answer by duchessluvmetal
Submitted on 3/9/2007
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My dog for almost the same problem requested a special diet duck and potato. She is only a year old and in 3 months it has helped so so much it has made her her again. I can only say if that does not work get an allergy test done on her it will make you feel at ease I know it cost much but it is worth it!


Answer by marguerite
Submitted on 4/6/2007
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I have a WONDERFUL 8 1/2 year old Shih Tzu...he's always been a bit heavy and in the last few months he's slowed down noticeably.  I started switching him to a raw food diet (BARF diet)5 days ago and the change in amazing.  He's SO much more energetic, loves his food, and has already lost some weight.  I buy the food frozen at a high end dog store - it's SO easy!


Answer by CJ
Submitted on 4/27/2007
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We have a 7 year old Shih Tzu who suffered from ear infections and skin problems (dark blotches, raw/oozing sore spots) and a funky, musty odor.  We tried everything - various shampoos (to include Maleseb shampoo), antibiotics, mineral oils on the skin, diet changes, blow drying, conditioners, etc. etc.  Just recently, I decided to let her hair grow out.  It has made all the difference!  Once her hair got long enough, her toenails couldn't get through to irritate her skin - the hot spots healed and the dark blotches cleared up.  Personally, I think the natural dirt on her toenails were causing the skin infections so keep the nails short/blunt, too.  NOTE:  I have to brush her daily to keep her coat nice, but she's not scratching anymore and the horrible odor she once had is completely gone!  Oh yeah - for the ear infections - I started doing something for the dog that I learned in the Navy.  After training in the pool to prevent swimmer's ear and after open ocean swim training to prevent bacterial/fungal ear infections, the Navy had squirt bottles of rubbing alcohol available in the locker room.  A squirt down the ear canal displaces the water and then evaporates very quickly leaving the ears completely dry and clean - since I've been doing this to the dog's ears after her baths, no ear infections at all.  


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