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Basil
29th April 2009, 07:00 PM
Hello,

Related to this thread:
http://www.board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=30171

Basil is 18 months old. For the first 6 months of us having him, he was always at the VET with ear infections. Antibiotics would be applied, they would be cleaned out, and then a few months later, it would flair up again.

We thought we were past it, and went a whole 9 months without infection. Then all of a sudden, it has come back to bite us.

This time, at our NEW vet, he took a different approach. He first of all refused to look inside the ear with an Otoscope, saying it would only aggravate the dog. He instead said rather than go round in circles with medication, he should simply proceed to surgery and half a partial ablation on both ears. He explained this would involve firstly blitzing the ears to remove the infection, and then the surgery would be performed on one ear at a time over a period of 6 weeks. It involves having the dogs face shaved, and I believe part of the ear canal (vertical section) is removed. This makes it much easier to avoid infection in the future.

Now, I decided NOT to proceed with his recommendation and instead asked that he prescribe a strong suit of medication, as well as a thorough clean out. Turns out, upon doing the clean out (today), he did not opt to clean the vertical section.

He said this will not provide a cure, nor will the medication we have to give our dog for the next week or so. He says the best we can hope for is a very decent remission, and perhaps a long period of respite. He is certain though that we will need to return due to future ear problems, and he often reckons the longer we opt out of surgery, the harder it will be for him to do the surgery effectively.

Lastly, I asked if there was anything we could do at home to ensure as hygienic ears as possible. He replied "Do nothing, you will only make it worse".

Confused and in need of some practical advice, if not, just some moral support.

Not enjoying this. I still think it is extremely important to investigate HOW to best look after my dogs ear hygiene, surely there are things I can do to minimize the risk of a reoccurring ear infection. Have you any hints or tips?

Gary.

lorebringer
29th April 2009, 07:44 PM
My Working Cocker had terrible problems with his ears when we first got him at 5 months (he is a rescue). We were in and out of the vets nd the poor chap was constantly on medication for them. They were drained several times and each time it was noted that an unusual amount of gunk (mostly black wax and dirt) came out of his ear.

Eventually we had a swab taken (we didn't have any down time with this at all - any antibiotics, antifungals etc just didn't seem to work, or would work for maybe a week and the next week we would be back to the same situation) and even though it was terrible for him it showed up a rare infection that was eating away the inside of his ear (I'm kicking myself at the moment because I cannot remember the name of microbe). It had been there since a very young age and the vet decided to drain them again and then go in sugically.

The draining had the same effect as always (lots of gunk) and when he went in (through the ear with tubes and a scope - no cutting open yet!) he found that my dog had built up a huge layer of scar tissue (due to the length of the infection). He must have been in terrible discomfort with this becuase the pressure in his ears/head would have been quite intense. The tissue was removed and, to all of our relief, a healthy ear was seen behind it. The ear was drained (again!) and they (to quote the nurse) "had never seen so much come out of an ear... and the smell was something else..." :grnyuk: ).

Once his ear was totally cleaned out, he was put onto very spacific antibiotics and antifungals (once again, can't remember the name of them :rolleyes: ) for quite a while, nearly 3 weeks, and we had to put drops into his ears for the same period of time. On his check up after they were all finished, his ears looked great and the vet said that, unless he was having other problems with his ears, there was no need to do anything further.

We haven't had an ear infection since then, he does still have sensitive ears and they can get a bit itchy from time to time but it's nothing compared what he had to go through. It gotten to the point that he couldn't scratch them with his hind leg anymore (it was too sore for him) and he used to rub them along the couch, moaning, trying to get some relief. We were very lucky that he did build up such a layer of tissue because there may have been more serious problems if it had gotten into in inner ear, not to mention further (he could, in the worst case situation, have had to get his inner ear (or, at least what can be - I'm not an ear expert!) taken out).

During this whole ordeal, I did get a second opinion (and I'm glad I did). The second vet agreed with my own vet and this gave me such piece of mind because at the time we felt like there was nothing that would make it better and the poor pet was constantly in pain.

If you are unsure about what you vet wants to do, get the second opinion. It sounds a bit overkill what your vet wants to do immediately (again, I am not a vet or an ear expert) and if you are not happy with it then look elsewhere. Have any samples been taken? Surgery just sound so unnecessary as the first option. Good luck with it :flwr:

Basil
29th April 2009, 07:54 PM
My Working Cocker had terrible problems with his ears when we first got him at 5 months (he is a rescue). We were in and out of the vets nd the poor chap was constantly on medication for them. They were drained several times and each time it was noted that an unusaly amount of gunk (mostly black wax and dirt) came out of him ear.

Eventually we had a swab taken (we didn't have any down time with this at all - any antibiotics, antifungals etc just didn't seem to work, or would work for maybe a week and the next week we would be back to the same situation) and even though it was terrible for him it showed up a rare infection that was eating away the inside of his ear (I'm kicking myself at the moment because I cannot remember the name of microbe). It had been there since a very young age and the vet decided to drain them again and then go in sugically.

The draining had the same effect as always (lots of gunk) and when he went in (through the ear with tubes and a scope - no cutting open yet!) he found that my dog had built up a huge layer of scar tissue (due to the length of the infection). He must have been in terrible discomfort with this becuase the pressure in his ears/head would have been quite intense. The tissue was removed and, to all of our relief, a healthy ear was seen behind it. The ear was drained (again!) and they (to quote the nurse) "had never seen so much come out of an ear... and the smell was something else..." :grnyuk: ).

Once his ear was totally cleaned out, he was put onto very spacific antibiotics and antifungals (once again, can't remember the name of them :rolleyes: ) for quite a while, nearly 3 weeks, and we had to put drops into his ears for the same period of time. On his check up after they were all finished, his ears looked great and the vet said that, unless he was having other problems with his ears, there was no need to do anything further.

We haven't had an ear infection since then, he does still have sensitive ears and they can get a bit itchy from time to time but it's nothing compared what he had to go through. It got to the point that he couldn't scratch them with his hind leg anymore (it was too sore for him) and he used to rub them along the couch, moaning, trying to get some relief. We were very lucky that he did build up such a layer of tissue because there may have been more serious problems if it had gotten into in inner ear, not to mention further (he could, in the worst case situation, have had to get his inner ear (or, at least what can be - I'm not an ear expert!) taken out.

During this whole ordeal, I did get a second opinion (and I'm glad I did). The second vet agreed with my own vet and this gave me such piece of mind because at the time we felt like there was nothing that would make it better and the poor pet was constantly in pain.

If you are unsure about what you vet wants to do, get the second opinion. It sounds a bit overkill what your vet wants to do immediately (again, I am not a vet or an ear expert) and if you are not happy with it then look elsewhere. Have any samples been taken? Surgery just sound so unnecessary as the first option. Good luck with it :flwr:


He took swabs today, but says there is no point in sending them off as he knows nothing will come back. Very maverick like!

Gary.

Autumn
29th April 2009, 08:05 PM
I'm sorry I don't have much to add, our vet at the time said allergy testing might reveal something, diet changes. Probably no quick fix, trial & error. Sounds like your vet might be scalpel happy. When Autumn had her surgery it was 1500.00 US. Expensive for something that didn't work.

Basil
29th April 2009, 08:08 PM
I'm sorry I don't have much to add, our vet at the time said allergy testing might reveal something, diet changes. Probably no quick fix, trial & error. Sounds like your vet might be scalpel happy. When Autumn had her surgery it was 1500.00 US. Expensive for something that didn't work.

Bizarre, 1,500 here if we proceed!

Anyway I will exhaust all other avenues first.

Gary.

Autumn
29th April 2009, 08:22 PM
I don't know what that translates to in our dollar. This was back in 1999. Best of luck!

brotymo
29th April 2009, 08:30 PM
You might want to try to PM the doctor who posts on here and point him to this threat (drphilzeltman or something close to that). He has given very good advice to people on here.

sorry you are dealing with this. Poor baby. Ear aches are just miserable. I hate to think they are suffering with such miserable pain.

frecklesmom
29th April 2009, 08:43 PM
Talk with friends about who they use for Vet care and get a second opinion. If there is a University Clinic within reason consider going there as they see multiple dogs with multiple problems.
I, knock on wood, haven't had a dog with ear problems for many years and I attribute it to weekly cleaning, I use Epi-Otic, and clipping around the ear opening. My rescues came with very dirty ears and it took quite awhile until those ears stayed clean.
Not everyone approves of clipping-it works for me. I feel it helps get air to the canal so it is not continuously moist which helps hold down fungal and bacterial growth.
A snap to show the clipped area-it's a bit fuzzy as Dazzle didn't think this was proper :smile:

http://i93.photobucket.com/albums/l51/frecklesmom/IMG_0032.jpg

Cathy Moon
30th April 2009, 02:05 AM
I feel for both of you! :hug:

I would go to a veterinary dermatologist for a second opinion. Ears seem to be within that specialty. Try a veterinary college at a university.

If surgery is needed, I would have an experienced specialist do it.

Our India had yeast infected ears for a long time, even with regular cleaning and medicated ear drops, and finally we took her to a veterinary dermatologist who diagnosed food allergies. We have India eating a venison diet, and she is infection free for over a year. :thmbsup: