A couple of does belonging to a friend are here being bred and one of them has developed a horrible, crusty, hairless patch on her ear, right where it joins the head. This is a dairy cross doe with "airplane" ears. Most of the affected area is dry, flaky and crusty, but along the leading edge of her ear was a small spot that was raw and bleeding a bit. We caught her to apply some herbal salve that I make (with goat's milk, I might add!) and while applying it, I noticed the crusty stuff goes down right inside the ear and is actually blocking the ear canal completely. My salve will ease the dryness and will help prevent infection, but what in the heck are we dealing with here? I checked the entire herd over very closely and, although most of mine are Boer and I couldn't exactly catch each one and look down inside their ears at -25 C, I didn't see anything on any of the other goats.
I almost hate to even say the word, but could this be mange? I've never seen a case of mange in person, but I have seen it on TV and this does resemble what I saw.
Yes, it could be mange. I copied the part below from the Maryland Small Ruminant page.
Sheep and goats may also get external parasites. The sheep tick is called a "ked" and it can substantially decrease pelt value. Goats are more likely to get mange mites and lice. Sheep and goats with "snotty" noses may have nose bots, a parasite that gets into the nasal passages. These various "biting" parasites can be controlled by administering an anthelmintic from the Macrolytic Lactone family or Avermectin family (e.g. Ivomec, Moxidectin).
Alpine, LaMancha, Oberhasli, Nubian, Toggenburg, Saanen, Recorded Grade, , and a couple of Mini-Silky Fainting.
My guess.....ringworm, with a possible case of ear mites. It's gonna' take more than a herbal salve to cure either. If you have a microscope...take a swab from within the ear and look at it for crawling mites with a 10x. No mites, then the ring worm has gone inside the ear.
What color is the crusty stuff? We used to raise rabbits and ear mites can and will travel clear to the tips and beyond the ear. It is usually dark brownish red colored.
Mites are much easier to treat than ringworm, so do as Kaye says and go from there.
Thanks for all the input. I wasn't using my salve to heal, only to give her some relief. It does look a little better today, not so dry and crusty, but it definitely needs something to treat the cause, not just the symptoms. I don't have a microscope, so I'm thinking it would be best to treat her for everything, provided the treatments don't conflict. Anybody know if it would be a problem to use the fungicide and an ear mite medicine at the same time? I will probably also recommend to the owner that he get some ivomec into her. (She's been with the buck since December, but ivomec is okay for a pregnant doe, isn't it?)
BTW, the crusty stuff is very, very dry and white. It doesn't have that usual "ear mite" smell that dogs and cats get.
It's sounding more like ringworm. A fungicide like was suggested. An oil based anything will camaflouge the crusties and make it look like it's healing-just to dry out and still be there. It's still contagious until it's slick skinned (normal surrounding skin color) and hair growing back in the spot.