Persistent itchy skin woes aren't exactly a party for anyone, canine or otherwise. Shih tzus are by no means exempt from the frustrations of nonstop scratching fits. The uncomfortable itchiness associated with otitis externa is a particularly common problem in the fluffy and small Chinese native pooches.
Otitis Externa Background
Shih tzus as a breed have a predisposition to otitis externa, which is an ailment that involves the external ear canal's inflammation. Otitis externa is either chronic or acute. As far as ear canal disorders in canines and felines go, otitis externa appears the most frequently. A lot of different components can bring upon otitis externa in dogs, whether autoimmune diseases, parasites, food allergies and hormonal issues -- among others.
If your shih tzu has otitis externa, he'll probably make it extremely clear by constantly scratching at his ears. He might massage his ears a lot. The intense itching of his ears might even cause him to sway his head, leaning it specifically into a single direction. He might not restrict his scratching to his ears, either, as head scratching is also a telltale sign of the condition. If you're worried that your shih tzu might have otitis externa or any other skin condition, prompt veterinary attention is necessary. A vet can inform you on what specifically is leading to your pet's severe itching, whether otitis externa, fleas, mange or anything else. Veterinary management for otitis externa often involves first handling the root triggers. Topical medicine is sometimes used to handle the disease, as well.
Otitis externa is a pretty common issue in the shih tzu world, and numerous other dog breeds also share in that susceptibility. These breeds include German shepherds, springer spaniels, poodles, miniature poodles and cocker spaniels. Canines with ears that hang also are prone to otitis externa.
Other Common Illnesses in Shih Tzus
If you're thinking of keeping a sweet shih tzu as a companion in your home, gaining an understanding of the breed's common health issues is always smart, otitis externa or otherwise. Itchy ears aren't their only possible dilemma, of course. Other medical predispositions of the breed are progressive retinal atrophy, canine hip dysplasia, cataracts, breathing issues, patellar luxation, renal corticol hypoplasia and trichiasis.
- Animal Planet: Shih Tzu
- Vetstreet: Shih Tzu
- American Veterinary Medical Association: Ear Cropping and Canine Otitis Externa (FAQ)
- Mar Vista Animal Medical Center: Ear Infections
- American Kennel Club: Shih Tzu Page
- Ear Diseases of the Dog and Cat; Richard G. Harvey, Joseph Harari and Agnes J. Delauche