dog with ear infection

While ear infections are pesky conditions that affect many species, dogs are especially at risk for ear infections because of the shape of their ear canals.

Dr. Lori Teller, a clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, says that diagnosis and treatment should always be handled by a veterinarian, but dog owners should still be informed on the nature of this condition to keep their furry friend in tip-top shape.

“There are multiple causes of ear infections (otitis externa), including allergies (most common), ear mites, a foreign body (this can include polyps or neoplasia), excess hair in the ear canal, anatomic changes in the ear canal, excess moisture in the ear canal, injury, immune-mediated diseases, endocrine disease, and excessive cleaning,” Teller said. “Any of these causes allow for bacteria and/or yeast to overgrow in the ear, leading to the infection.”

There are often patterns in the dogs we choose

Picture a lean, healthy dog that reminds you of a Golden Retriever but has a black coat. It is full of vigor and bounciness with very shiny fur. Add one or more random white splotches on the chest, feet or tip of the tail. Imagine that this dog is playful, athletic and that it has warm amber eyes. That picture in your head is a dog I’m sure to be drawn to. What can I say? I don’t know why this type is so appealing to me, but again and again dogs like this pull me in, even though I love all sorts of dogs. It’s not unusual for people to be drawn to a certain look, type of behavior or a combination of both, in a way that goes beyond just favoring a particular breed.

I used to work with a trainer who couldn’t resist a foxy dog. Pomeranians, American Eskimos, Finnish Spitzes, Keeshounds and Shiba Inus were among her favorites. A furry-faced dog with prick ears, a pointy muzzle and a thick coat got to her every time.

In Their Voices
woman and dog

When I was 15 months old, I graduated from Guide Dog school. I couldn’t believe I had finished five months of intense training and passed an endless week of exams. It hadn’t been easy to ignore food smells from sidewalk cafés, overlook feline provocation along the route and keep my composure when a Jack Russell sniffed my butt while we waited at the traffic light.

I overheard the trainers talking about my new family. She was vision-impaired and had a small boy-child. He’d better not pull my fur with his sticky fingers. Paws crossed, let’s hope he’s as welltrained as me. He’s three years old and hasn’t even started school— can you believe that?

I knew it was a special morning because my trainer groomed me from head to tail.

“Hey, laddy, you’re going to a new home. Got to make you look smart for your new lady friend.”

Why are Irish Setters so red? Geneticists at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine now have an answer for why some dogs have more intense coat colors than others.

While their wolf ancestors are muted in color, domestic dogs have been bred into a variety of hues from white and golden through brown to black. Similarly to other mammals, canine coat color comes from two pigments: yellow (pheomelanin) and black (eumelanin). These pigments are controlled through pigment-switching genes MC1R (melanocortin 1 receptor) and agouti signaling protein (ASIP). For example, solid yellow or red dogs have a mutation in MC1R so they only make pheomelanin.

Dog’s Name and Age: Buttercup, 3 years

Nicknames: Houdini gets used often—she is an escape artist!

Adoption Story: Buttercup was seen roaming and scavenging in trash cans around the city for about a week—dodging traffic and humans who tried to catch her. Someone told my husband about her, so he set off to find her. Once he caught up with her, it was love at first sight. Of course, we had her scanned and we made posters and all the rest, but when no one claimed her… we decided to keep her with us (despite already having 10 dogs at the time!) We have a lot of land next to Mark Twain National Forest in Southwest Missouri, and since we are ex-zookeepers who do a lot of wildlife rehab as well as rescuing, it seemed natural to bring her into the fold. We had another Beagle mix named Flower, so when we rescued Buttercup, we thought it would be nice to keep the floral trend going.

Any dog guardian who truly understands their canine companion knows that these animals are the most selfless and amazing creatures. Dogs routinely put their person’s wishes above their own needs. It’s this desire to please that is best demonstrated in the sport of agility where dogs are guided through a dog obstacle course such as jumps and weave poles in a particular order within an allotted timeframe.

Dogs inherently want to please and agility training allows them to connect with their handlers at deeper level. Once a well-trained dog completes an obstacle, his/her head will turn to see where her owner is directing them next. Of course, there are many ways to bond with your dog, but the depth of communication between dog and handler in this team sport is remarkable.

New findings challenge popular views of estrogen’s role in cancer risk.

Dogs that are spayed at a young age have a reduced risk of developing mammary tumors, the canine equivalent of breast cancer. Early spaying reduces levels of estrogen production, leading many veterinarians and scientists to cast estrogen in a negative light when it comes to mammary cancer.

But the effects of estrogen on cancer risk in dogs aren’t straightforward, according to a new study led by researchers from Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine . While it’s clear that spaying dogs greatly minimizes their risk of developing mammary cancer, the findings suggest that the practice may increase the risk of more aggressive cancers. And in spayed animals with mammary tumors, the team found that higher serum estrogen levels were actually protective, associated with longer times to metastasis and improved survival times.

Help! How to do I train my dog to not whine in the car?
The Bark’s advice columnist Karen B. London answers readers’ questions about canine behavior. Got a question? Email askbark@thebark.com
Dear Bark: The local dog park is a short drive from my house, and I usually take my dog there before doing other errands. She sits right behind me in the the back seat, and within a few minutes of leaving the house, she starts whining and pacing in anticipation, which is not only distracting, it’s also irksome. Can a dog be trained out of these behaviors? What’s the best way to deal with back-seat dog whining on the way to the dog park?

It’s wonderful that you’re taking your dog somewhere that makes her so happy! Of course, her excitement about going has its downside, which is her behavior in the car on the drive there. But there are ways to help make the ride better.

Canines and humans sense quantity in similar regions of the brain

Researchers have found yet another way that humans and dogs are of one mind. This time, the subject of the similarity is how they process concepts of quantity—an important ability for many animals. Knowing roughly how many predators are approaching or how many food items are available for foraging has survival advantages. So, it is little wonder many animals have a basic sensitivity to quantity, and there is a term for it—numerosity.

To address canine numerosity, Lauren Aulet, a graduate student at Emory University working with Gregory Berns, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study dogs’ brains while they viewed various quantities of dots. The area of the dot array was always the same, but the number of dots within it varied. The dogs in the study have been trained to sit still during the fMRI. They passively watched various groups of dots as they were flashed on a screen.

New trends in animal care

Good news! In many parts of the country, animal shelters are morphing into places that are able to do more to benefit the communities they serve. The days when abandoned companion animals were simply housed, fed and kept out of harm’s way while awaiting adoption are becoming a thing of the past, as evidenced by several developing trends.

IMPROVED EXPERIENCES.

Shelters are far more animal-centric than ever before. The best of them have evolved into community centers focused on animal welfare— vibrant places devoted to training, behavior modification, research, community interaction, educational programs and a specialized branch of veterinary medicine. Piped-in music, rotating sensory stimulation, manners training, play groups, enrichment, more comfortable bedding, more activities, better spaces: shelters are working to improve life for the animals in every way and at every stage of the experience.