View Full Version : Ear Problem ~ Advice please!

18th April 2008, 02:26 PM
Hi Guys!! OK so.. . . Kosmo and Faith are going to the vet this afternoon. Faith because she has a small luxating patellae and she hasn't been checked since september-ish and I need to make sure it's not getting any worse (I've heard her cry a few times in the last few months) and Kosmo because he has this crazy ear problem.

Kosmo scratches at his left ear quite a bit. Mostly during the night time.. sometimes during the day. When he scratches, it's prolonged, sometimes for a minute or two. He does make contact with his ear when he scratches, but I've heard him cry a few times before when he scratches at his ear. I'm not so concerned that it is SM although that could in fact be a possibility.. he just doesn't display the symptoms typical with SM. It's just his ear.

Now here's the thing.. it's always his left ear, and I have cleaned his ears repeatedly. There is absolutely NO smell associated with this. I can't imagine he would be scratching at his ear just for fun, but it's really hard to pinpoint anything when there is no smell, no discoloration, nothing..

I am worried he might have PSOM, but again, he doesn't display the head tilt, or any hypersensitivities in the area.

Is there a such thing as a microscopic mite that can't be seen? And if there is, what is the liklihood that it's only affecting one ear and not the other (or Faith for that matter?)

I am going to the vet this afternoon.. what kinds of questions should I be asking, and what kinds of tests should I insist that they perform?

This scratching doesn't seem to interfere with his every day life, I just can't help but notice his constant scratching of that ear.


Sara :)

18th April 2008, 02:50 PM
Sara, The only suggestion I can make, is to be sure to have a swab done and ask them to look at it under the microscope.

I also hope Faiths' knee is a temporary problem and doesn't require surgery.

Hope your vet has an answer for you...and, I hope the pups are feeling better soon.:)

18th April 2008, 02:59 PM
Faith doesn't seem to have much trouble with her knee at all and she jumps on and off of things even though I try to not let her :eek: She drives me batty with her zoomies and hopping on and off furniture, up and down stairs, etc. It's impossible to keep her from doing it :rolleyes: I just am hoping it's not getting worse.

Maybe it's just a build up of wax way down in his ear? I have cleaned them and like I said there's no spots of wax or discolored spots on the inside of his ear that I can see, but there's gotta be somethin buggin him, right? ;)

Thanks for your advice :)

18th April 2008, 03:12 PM
I too hope Faith's knee will be ok without surgery, although even if she does have to have surgery, it's usually very successful. It obviously isn't bothering her too much now, but may be more of a problem as she gets older - my affected dog started having problems at the age of 3/4.

I do hope that perhaps there is a problem further down Kosmo's ear and that is the cause of the scratching - alternatively have you looked at the outside of the ear? They can get dry flaky skin at the top of the ear, possibly caused by a mite, and that may be the cause.

Once ear problems have been ruled out, then it would be prudent to print off the information from http://sm.cavaliertalk.com/ and take it to your vet anyway.

Paws crossed for you that this is something that can be easily resolved.

18th April 2008, 03:26 PM
Nicki I am not sure if you know or not, but Kosmo had bi-lateral luxating patella surgery last July and it was VERY successful for us!! I am a huge believer in the surgery, and I had a wonderful surgeon. Thank God for my insurance (the surgery ended up being about $3,500 :eek:)

If Faith has to have surgery, which I am hoping at this point she doesn't, I will do it ASAP because right now I'm out of school and I can stay here with her and help her recover. :) I have her on a supplement with glucosamine and chondroitin that my vet prescribed to me (boy is that ever expensive :eek:).

I think I'm going to print off info from PSOM and SM anyways and just bring it in. If nothing else, they can at least keep it on file for a reference.. not only for me, but I know there are other cavaliers that go to my vet office too :flwr:

I'm actually not seeing my primary vet today, but it'll be good to get a second opinion.

Thanks for the crossed paws..mine are crossed too!! :)

18th April 2008, 03:43 PM
Sorry Sara, I didn't realise that poor Kosmo had to have the surgery - but glad it was so successful for you :)

I hope that the supplement will help Faith - it should postpone arthritis too.

It's a good idea to take the information in to your vets - most are pretty open to learning more about different conditions, obviously they can't be experts on every condition affecting every breed...so they usually appreciate help.

Thinking about you this pm.

Cathy Moon
19th April 2008, 08:00 PM
I'm just catching up with this post. Based on my experience with India and Geordie, I would look for wax down inside her ear (the vet can use a scope and possibly flush it out or it may require general anesthesia and removal), then look for PSOM which can be detected with a CT scan, then SM last.

19th April 2008, 10:01 PM
but I've heard him cry a few times before when he scratches at his ear. I'm not so concerned that it is SM although that could in fact be a possibility.. he just doesn't display the symptoms typical with SM. It's just his ear.

I don't want to worry you any more than you already are worried, but you definitely do want to talk to your vet about the possibility of SM and bring along the documentation on it. These actually are all common SM symptoms -- there's a mistaken belief that SM scratching only means scratching where they don't make contact -- but this is only in *some* cases (air scratching is far rarer than regular contact scratching). The most typicl pace for affected dogs to scratch is their ear, head and/or neck, but the ear is probably the most common (the reason I realised Leo was progressing was finding he'd scratched away a lot of hair on his right ear). Also only about half of SM dogs actually scratch, so it is also wrong to assume that if a dog isn't scratching but has some other symptoms, it can't be SM. Leo always makes body contact when scratching (as you can see in the video I posted on him on www.smcavalier.com; it's the first video) and almost only ever scratches his ear to one side. It is very typically (most typical, actually) for dogs with SM to only scratch to one side and often, only to one area, because syrinxes generally are lopsided in shape. The dog scratches to the side that the syrinx is most developed.

There is the possibility this is PSOM too as symptoms are similar. My SM site has lots of info on PSOM and links to the very helpful document at Ohio on the condition.

My SM site also has a list of the things to do to eliminate other possibilities -- but if he is scratching to one side like this, probably you will at some point want to consider exploring first the likelihood of PSOM and then (or at the same time), SM.

On the SM site, you can download Clare Rusbridge's treatment document. Basicially, if the dog responds to something like frusemide it is almost definitely CM/SM as this would not help with PSOM (but doesn't always help with SM symptoms -- it didn't for Leo).

If you can get involved with the PSOM project in Ohio I'd recommend it, if your vet is unable to find any other cause for the scratching.

Cathy Moon
19th April 2008, 10:55 PM
I agree with Karlin about the scratching. Geordie has never air scratched; he was scratching at his ear and neck area when he was diagnosed with both PSOM and SM.

He doesn't scratch at his ear any more since having bilateral PSOM surgery. He doesn't rub his head on the sofa any longer either, and his lip licking behavior has mostly subsided. But he still scratches at the front/side area of his neck below his ears. This mainly happens in the morning and when he's excited. The Omeprazole relieved most of the symptoms until recently.

Charlie did the air scratching, and it was altogether very different from Geordie's SM symptoms. SM has a wide range of symptoms depending on the dog.

Good luck Sara, I hope you get to the bottom of it. Kosmo's current symptoms sound much like India's, and she has to have a little hunk of wax removed from her ear before she can get into day 2 of the PSOM study. At this point we don't know if she has PSOM, SM, both, or neither.

Definitely consider the PSOM study at OSU. Although you pay for the first day of testing, you get a lot of information for your money, then the rest of the study (including CT scan, hearing tests, surgery (if needed) is free.)

20th April 2008, 06:33 AM
How did the vet visit go? Hope all is well :xfngr:

20th April 2008, 02:44 PM
Thanks you all for your concerns :)

I had Kosmo in the vet and she looked down his ears.. We are actually in a "waiting stage" of the game right now, as apparently his ear canals are swollen and she could not see his ear drum. She said she thinks this is because of "seasonal allergies" since he's only been at this for a few weeks now. But although he only scratches one side like crazy, apparently both are swollen? I was given something called "Surolan" to squeeze down his ears once every 24 hours for the next week. Lets just say that I'm not Kosmo's favorite person today :rolleyes:

I have him on a grain-free food (Orijen) which I hope is not contributing if in fact it IS allergies.

I have a follow up appt in about a week now (I think, or is it 2?) anyways, I have an appt to follow up and I will let you all know what happens then. Hopefully the swelling will have subsided and she will be able to see if there is a big ball of wax or something else that may be causing the scratching.

I printed out PSOM and SM information and dropped it with the vet when I was there. if nothing else, they can keep it on file. I am also not TOO far away from the University of Guelph, which I know for sure are up to speed in their SM research. If we can't fix the problem at the local vet, I think I'll just ask to be referred there.

As for Faith, I've talked the "luxating patella" issue over with lots of people who have experience in the area and at this time it's not causing her any grief so I think I'm going to leave it and hopefully we will never see a progression. The vet said it's my call, but she knows the great experience I've had with Kosmo. I have spoken with some people who have had a LP in their history that has never gotten worse and the dogs have been fine. I really don't want to put her through that surgery unless it's absolutely necessary. When Kosmo was having patella issues it was obviously and definately interfering with his daily life, but unless someone said it, nobody would ever know there was a problem with Faith. She doesn't do the "skip" when she runs that I can see, although it did pop out one time this winter when she fell down on the ice :( For now though, I think we are waiting :flwr: