Here is an actual letter sent to the owner of a home guard dog that was visited and treated. Note the extreme advantage of a house call for such a pet where the whole situation can be evaluated.
The names were changed to protect all
"Belmont" 10yr Staffordshire Terrier Male
Diagnosis: severe, deforming pinnal fly-strike dermatoses
I visit many homes with the situation of the outdoor guard dog. He is usually penned in on the property and has little interaction with the human family. Some family members are afraid of him because he is strong and intimidating. But he is actually starving for attention. He only wants to be part of the pack. That's how dogs view their family. When they are isolated away from the humans in the pack they become destructive to property or to themselves. Since these guard dogs live outside one can lose track of their living quarters. Feces and rotten stuff can accumulate and attract flies. For some reason, flies also like to bite the top of the dog's ears. They land and open him up for other flies to dine. Flies will also attack pressure points that have opened and bled. These happen when dogs lie primarily on hard concrete. Unfortunately, when they are supplied with a doggie bed, they usually destroy it out of anxiety. So time goes on and the dog gets little exercise and persists in isolation barking at whomever or whatever comes near; like a good dog. The flies continue to attack into the thick of the hot summer and slowly cause the cartilage of the ears to scar and deform. A secondary bacterial infection occurs and thick crusts that include fly feces build up on the ears and the pressure points.
So we've addressed a few things for Belmont
1. The wounds were cleaned
2. Fly repellant antiseptic ointment is applied, but better, we
3. Moved Belmont to the side gated area away from the flies and more shade. White dogs need more cover from the sun since they are prone to squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer of the ears, nose, etc. The muddy dog house area is not so great.
4. Treating with antibiotics for the secondary infection
5. Showed owner's girlfriend not to be afraid and how to walk Belmont in the neighborhood. Use a good pinch collar. It won't damage him, just get his attention
Things to consider:
1. More socialization with the family. Is he allowed inside? He would love it.
2. Consider (I know, gasp) having him neutered. Why? The typically problematic male traits should be reduced: pissing on everything, aggression toward other male dogs and possibly small children, and of course, prostate cancer later in life.
3. Get more fly ointment and treat for fleas. I recommend Comfortis. We can order it for you, it's prescription only.
4. Walk him daily and you'll gain great upper body and leg strength.
Dr. Steve Weinberg
911 VETS Home Pet Medical