What type of flea medication are you using?
There are always different options in classes of drugs. You may ask your vet if you can switch antibiotics or steroid to see if they make a difference. Also, antihistamines (like benedryl) are only effective in 20% of cases, so just like in humans, one drug may not work at all in one patient while another drug may do wonders. Your vet may be able to suggest another antihistamine that may give the dog more relief. The trick with those, pending the drug actually works in your dog, is to have the drug in the system before they really need it. If you only treat when the dog needs it, it won't work, so give it on a regular basis.
Like asked above, what flea prevention are you using? Sometimes, animal respond to one brand better than another. If you are using a frontline or advantage, you may try using the other for a month or two. Make sure you are vacuuming the house daily and emptying in the canister outside...make sure to get under furniture as this is where fleas love to live. Treat all animals in the house.
If you are doing all of this and the dog is still so uncomfortable, the vet may be able to give you some topical products to help the itching.
We have been using front line. Our dogs are indoor dogs and only go out to use the bathroom. I haven't seen any fleas and I vacuum everyday. I wonder if it could be something else?
I may have gotten lost in reading.... but how did you come to the flea diagnosis?
Skin allergy symptoms can be dermatitis-yeast and usually have a smell. Ears is a favorite site for Yeast and can even cause deafness... it is thought to be the reason our rescue Westie is deaf.
Some dog, I think not often the case for a Lab, have food allergies. Typical suspects are grains, feed only "no grain" kibble, canned/wet dog foods tend to have less grain. Then try to limit the variety of protien. Try a wild protien such as Fish/Salmon or Venison and make sure the dog has not other protiens, no table scraps, no treats or snacks other than food. My thinking is a young Lab will likely eat anything, our Westie goes on food strikes, taking pieces of his kibble in to the dinning room and leaving it on the rug.
Thank you for the food tips. I am guilty of feeding them table scraps. As far as the flea allergy diagnosis, that came from our vet who is my sister-n-law. She didn't do any blood work or anything. I don't know if they can test for it but I'll ask.
His ears have a sour oder most of the time and I clean them a lot. They are usually packed with dark brown goop that has a foul smell.
Thanks for your post and I'll keep trying. He is a great dog, that deserves some relief.
Sounds/smells like Yeast to me. I have heard Yeast smell as "corn chip", I'm not sure I agree - smells bad and ears is a favorite site for infection - and goop is usually there in bad cases
Ask you bet about a prescription ear drop called Otomax, we use it and it works - and an over the counter (I found it only on Amazon, takes time to get it from there) medication ZYMOX, it has rave reviews on Amazon, I can't say it has helped us a lot but I am sure it does more than cleaning the ears, it and the prescription are medicine that attack the Yeast itself. Keteconazole (spellling) is also widly used as a topical and an internal medication to fight Yeast. In most forms I know of a prescription is required, but I have purchased a shampoo at Walmart that contains the prescription level of Keteconazole. This is for the whole body but pehaps can be used with cotton balls to clean ears with goop.
Wish the best and a Happy Healty Dog New Year.
I will definitely try all of those remedies. Thanks for the advice and happy new year!
After reading this further, I still recommend changing to an advantage product to experiment whether your dog responds better to it or not. I overlooked the part about the stinky ears. It is true that dogs that have food allergies tend to get recurrent ear infections. It almost sounds like a possible food allergy is being exacerbated by a flea allergy. Ask your vet about a food trial where the dog gets a new protein source exclusively for a minimum of 12 weeks to see if it could be the problem. Does the dog have lots of gas or diarrhea? This would also support a food allergy.
He has a lot of diarrhea. That is why I wondered about a food allergy. I will work on no table scraps and changing his food. I will also try the advantage. Thank to all for your comments. I will keep you updated on my sweet Jax...
Oh, the diarrhea isn't good. Try to find a good grain free food with a different protein other than chicken or fish.
Note Shannon mentioned Advantage. Do not get the Advantix at the pet store. Have heard and seen too many dogs have skin and neurological problems on that.