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Dog With Propensity Towards Ear Problems


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So, I had my boy, Nick, into the vet today - again - because something was bothering his ear terribly last Saturday. I was trialing out of town and feared he'd gotten a tick down there. :unsure: But, $80 later, it turned out to just be dirt and crud, and I suspect the wet and dampness of the trial site (over on the CA coast) irritated something our dry Nevada weather hadn't quite gotten to.

 

This is definitely not the first time Nick has had "something" going on with his ears, and it seems he's prone to it. For whatever reason, he just gets dirt and junk in there, and at least a couple times a year, we end up at the vet for it. Argh! Not with infections, necessarily, but just ... dirt and irritation.

 

Does anyone else have this problem? Nick's ears aren't huge - that's him in my profile pic - but they do flop around when he runs. Photos taken of him while working are often pretty hilarious, because his ears seem to have minds of their own! :P It's kind of hard to get a "serious" photo of him in motion. And he does use himself very hard, so it's not unusual to see him make a turn in a flying cloud of dust and dirt. So, I expect between the high speeds and wildly flapping ears, he's just a dirty-ear magnet.

 

But I just wondered ... does anyone else have a dog who seems prone to collecting crud in their ears and getting ear irritations?

 

~ Gloria

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Tiga's ears get irritated easily but with him it's usually a yeast infection in his ears. He gets them at least once or twice a year. I usually have some prescription drops around to put in them for a few days until they clear up. A little different I know. With him I think it's when they don't dry out well enough and more crud can get stuck in there. I try to make sure to dry them well if he gets wet from rain or swimming and it seems to help.

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My girl has been getting a lot of "ear-itations" (sorry) lately. There's some red-brown gunk accumulated that I removed using cotton pads with a little oil on them. I've had to do this 3 or 4 times in the past couple of months, but it doesn't seem to have come back after the last cleaning. I assumed it was from swimming, and maybe the subsequent scratching. Wondering now, after the thread with the anal glands.

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Hm, I hadn't thought about food allergies. We use two foods, depending what the feed store has in, "Premium Edge Skin and Coat" and "Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul." I haven't noticed any connection between which brand he's eating and his ear-itations, :D but now I'll pay more attention to whether he seems to get ear troubles more on one food than the other.

 

The thing is, the troubles Nick has always involve STUFF actually in his ear. They're not irritated for no visible cause, he's genuinely collecting dirt and crud in there. I've never taken him in and had the vet find no dirt or debris. I'm going to buy an otoscope just so I can peek in there myself, any time I see him start scratching or shaking his head!

 

So, I'm thinking maybe it's the way his ear(s) are physically constructed? Perhaps combined with the gung-ho, full-throttle way he moves while working? Maybe that combination makes him extra prone to dirt getting in there, or something? Though I do find it odd that he seems so darned liable to getting dirt in there. The left ear more than the right, because that's the one that seems to flop and stand out more.

 

Unless he's just extra sensitive to dust and dirt in his ears, that doesn't bother other dogs? If he'll allergic to Nevada dust or hay dander, I'm in trouble! :unsure: Argh .... Am I the only person whose dog's ears gather random crud? I feel so lucky ...

 

~ Gloria

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There is a great product called Canyon Meadows Natural Ear Wash. This, along with all their other products, is fantastic. Every spring one of my bc's used to get bad ears and crud and end up at the vets, regardless of how clean I tried to keep them. I was introduced to this product by a holistic specialty retailer and swear by it. Never had any ear issues again. And still don't. When I bath my crew, I always use this after. (And their Derma spray heals cuts and abrasions just about overnite) Never leave home without either of these items. http://www.canyonmeadow.ca/pages/products/01.php

 

And you might want to take a look at his diet as some of the posts have mentioned below. Try an elimination diet with only 1 protein source, limited carbs and 1 oil source. Dogs can go back 5 generations in regards to allergies, so pick a uncommon protein and a food with limited or no grains in it. And try only giving them fruit and veggies for treats. You would be amazed at some of the ingredients in their favorite snack. There are a great number of these diets now available to pet owners in specialty pet retailers. The good thing here is that high end pet foods are usually 100% guaranteed, so after a time you do not notice any improvement, return it for a full cash refund. You won't be out of pocket for anything.

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I already knew about the food ear connection so when my new pup started showing symptoms, I immediately started trying to eliminate things. I started with going grain free and no chicken and he got some better, but not enough. I kept researching and learned that a lot of dogs can't tolerate the high carb content in most commercial kibble. They need next to no carbs until their immune system heals fron the intestines out. I now feed him a low carb raw in the morning and Brothers Complete Allergy Formula with a low carb canned topper in the evening. It's been 1 1/2 months since I started this diet and the only signs that anything was wrong with him is a little dry fur on his hips that hasn't shed out yet. No vet visits, no medications, but plenty of pre/probiotics, digestive enzymes, fish oil, and meat. I was told that after 6-9 months I could start seeing how much carbs he could tolerate, but he has improved so much in so many ways that he will be on a diet like this for life. :P :P :P

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Oh, dear ... :( Now I'm truly worried. If it is food allergies, I'm in trouble. We can't afford $50-$60 bags of dog food to feed 4 dogs, especially if I feed one, find out his ear troubles return, and I have to switch to something else. My old guy, Jesse, who will be 14 in February is on Taste of the Wild, but he only eats one cup a day, so it's do-able. And raw diet is out of the question ...

 

I'll take a look around, though, and see what I can maybe change. Thanks for the info, even if it is worrisome. :)

 

~ Gloria

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Another question, just so I'm clear ...

 

So, a dog can have food-allergy based ear problems, even if they only manifest in one ear at a time, and only if there's actual dirt and crud in there?

 

Because when Nicks' ears are clean, there's no problem. Right now his left ear had a bunch of dirt and yuk, but the right ear is clean as a whistle. Every time he has a problem, it's like that. One ear at a time, never both, and only with dirt/crud present in the ear. Thanks in advance! :)

 

~ Gloria

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Bear has dirt/crud ear problems as well. I thinks the floppy ears have a lot to do with it. They just trap all the junk in. He's only had an infection once, but if not kept clean his ears irritate him to point where he scratches at them until he yelps. The last time the vet had to do a thorough ear cleaning, he had to be sedated and he doesn't come out of sedation well so now we include ear care in our routine.

 

I use ear wash on him after baths or if I've seen him scratching and I take dry cotton balls to each ear once or twice a week. It helps tremendously and he appreciates it, even looks forward to it. I use VET Solutions ear wash...never tried any other ones.

 

Bear tends to lay on his right side more and his right ear is usually dirtiest. I suspect it collects more dirt/fur because of the frequent contact with the ground/floor.

 

On another note, Bear is on a raw diet. I'm sure diet changes help if allergies are in fact an issue and diet may also affect the amount of 'wax' build up, but diet will not help with dirt and fur build up, which is what I get out of Bear's ears.

 

Meg has erect ears and hers stay pretty clean on their own though I have gotten in the habit of swabbing hers the same time as I do Bear's.

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Oh, dear ... :( Now I'm truly worried. If it is food allergies, I'm in trouble. We can't afford $50-$60 bags of dog food to feed 4 dogs, especially if I feed one, find out his ear troubles return, and I have to switch to something else. My old guy, Jesse, who will be 14 in February is on Taste of the Wild, but he only eats one cup a day, so it's do-able. And raw diet is out of the question ...

 

I'll take a look around, though, and see what I can maybe change. Thanks for the info, even if it is worrisome. :)

 

~ Gloria

 

FWIW, I just fed my dog the same brand of food I was feeding but a lamb and rice version (easiest way to change at the time) and it solved the problem.

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Sammie has always had ear issues and been prone to infections.

 

I use a product called Zymox Otic, which is a solution that uses enzymes to break down the gunk in the ear.

 

It works beautifully. I throw some in each of his ears about twice a month and it has almost completely eliminated all of his ear issues. If I forget, he will have problems.

 

It might be worth a try, even if you think allergies might be part of the problem. It might take the edge off enough to cut the issue way down.

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Tiga's ears get irritated easily but with him it's usually a yeast infection in his ears. He gets them at least once or twice a year. I usually have some prescription drops around to put in them for a few days until they clear up. A little different I know. With him I think it's when they don't dry out well enough and more crud can get stuck in there. I try to make sure to dry them well if he gets wet from rain or swimming and it seems to help.

Jake got a yeast infection in one of his ears once. When I asked the vet "How in the world can he get a yeast infection in his ear??" She told me it was a secondary sign of allergies. I had spent over a year trying to figure out a diet for JJ for his skin problem so needless to say, I came home depressed. DH reminded me I had stopped putting yogurt in the vitamin gravy I made for them (it made Jake gassy) and suggested I start adding it again only not add as much. I did and Jake has never had another ear infection (and seldom ever gets gassy :)). When I make their vitamin gravy now, I use 1/3 of a large container. I can feed 3 dogs twice a day for 8-10 days on one batch so it doesn't take much. Because of Jake's situation, I wonder if you give Tiga 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt a day if that might help?

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Thanks, everyone, for the good ideas and suggestions. This hasn't been a huge problem, but it's disconcerting because it does show up every two or three months. I thought maybe it was just because he roars around with his ears flapping and collects dirt like a Jeep collects mud. :P I hadn't even thought about allergies or such, so that did kind of freak me out.

 

So, I'll continue with the ear wash the vet gave me, and since we did buy a bag of Premium Edge Lamb & Rice because the feed store was out of the usual Skin & Coat stuff, I'll coincidentally see if a change of food offers anything. Then I'll just see how things go in months ahead. I'm also buying an otoscope so I can keep a better view of what's going on with his ears, and see if I can head off irritations before they start.

 

Also bookmarking info on that Zymoc Otic, for future reference. :)

 

Thanks again, all.

 

~ Gloria

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