Saturday, June 30, 2007

1 year old black Labrador Retriever with Chronic Ear Infections - part II

This is part II of an e-mail received from Eric in regards to chronic ear
infections with his 1 year old black Labrador retriever named Sammy.

To read part I of this e-mail click:
1 year old black Labrador Retriever with Chronic Ear Infections - part I

All About Labradors Answer:

Hi Eric,

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

In regards to your response to my questions, Otomax, a combination steroid, antibacterial, and antifungal ointment is used for bacterial ear infections.

Ear infections in Labrador Retrievers can be a frustrating situation, with proper communication with your veterinarian and regular maintenance on your part ear infections can be managed.

The first thing that should be done for Sammy, is determining what and why she is getting the ear infections. Your veterinarian treated with Otomax for a bacterial infection, but the infections keep coming back. What needs to be done is to find out why Sammy keeps getting these ear infections.

From a question I answered from another reader of All About Labradors - Black Lab with Incessant Ear Infection

Ear infections can be caused by a number of different things, especially in dogs like our LabradorRetrievers with their long, pendulous ears. Because the ear folds over, it covers our Labrador ear canaland prevents air from entering and drying. This results in a warm/moist ear canal that's just the perfect for organisms to grow in.

Ear mites, ears that are not dried after your Labrador Retriever has been swimming or bathing, a build up of ear wax, allergies, and growths in the ear canal, can all lead to ear infections.


If the ear infections are seasonal the possibility of an inhalant allergy could be the cause. Problems with ear infections year round can also be caused by a food allergy. What kind of food are you feeding her?

Your veterinarian will be able to help you find a cause of the ear infections.

As far as what I recommend in terms of post-swimming application:

I only use the "Blue Power Ear Treatment" for gunk and ear infections in my Labrador Retriever's ears.

Follow the schedule of treatment. I would not recommend using after each swim.

For post swimming I would continue to use the swimmers ear astringent to help evaporate the water out of the ear canal. As far as a successful regimen of treatment, cleaning of Sammy's ears regularly is your best bet. Frequency of cleaning will vary, especially in the warmer months and after swimming
or bathing. A good ear cleanser can be recommended by your veterinarian. White vinegar mixed 1:3 with water can also be used to rinse the ears.

Here is the recipe for the "Blue Power Ear Treatment". I never found out who was the first with this treatment as it has been past around for years.

Remember to have your veterinarian evaluate Sammy's ear prior to treating the ear problem yourself.

"Blue Power Ear Treatment"INGREDIENTS:

16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol (Witch Hazel)
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well. You will also need to shake solution every time you use it to disperse the Boric Acid Powder. An eye dropper can be used to fill the ear.

TREATMENT: Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if very inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Wait until inflammation has subsided which will be about 2 days.

Shake the bottle each time before using. Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle), massage gently for approximately a minute, and then wipe with a cloth or tissue. Flood again a second time, and wipe again without massaging in. The dog will shake out the excess, which you can wipe with a cotton ball (never clean with a cotton swab, as debris can be pushed further into the ear canal). Be advised, the Gentian Violet does stain.

The SCHEDULE of treatment is as follows:

Treat 2 xs per day for the first week to two weeks depending upon severity of ears

Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks

Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog)

All of these ingredients should be available at your local pharmacy. I like to use witch hazel instead of alcohol, as if any scratches are in the ear, the alcohol can cause burning. The Boric Acid Powder soothes the ear and the Gentian Violet Solution is an ant-infection agent. The solution appears to work well on many ear problems. I also like to warm my solution slightly, under warm water, to prevent the cold water "shock", but you can use it either way. There is also a commercial version of this solution called Gentian Ear Treatment.

The most important thing here Eric, is that the cause of the ear infections need to be addressed, not just a treatment of the symptoms.

I hope this is of help to you Eric. Keep me updated on Sammy's condition, and if you don't understand something or have further questions on this or any other subject let me know.

Take care of yourself and Sammy.

Eric's (Reader) Response:

You've been helping me with regard to the ear infections in Sammy. I have just returned from the vet and, according to the information I received, she presently has yeast infections in both ears and bacterial infection in the left ear only. They have prescribed Tesaderm 15ml, 8-10 drops twice daily for 2-3 weeks, Conofite Lotion 30ml, 8-10 drops for 2-3 weeks and T8 Keto to be used to clean ears prior to application of aforementioned medicine and 2-3 times weekly for maintenance purposes.

As for causation, the vet speculated allergies. I am feeding Sammy the same food that she was receiving for the first 8 months of her life, "Naturally Complete" by Purina. The vet indicated a potential food change, away from real beef which, I see, is an ingredient of this food. Also, I noticed when first I took her in that she had sores on the tips of each ear as if ear infections had been an ongoing problem already. A food change, she recommended, may be the easiest remedy to try.

Fay, I appreciate your continued assistance. What would you recommend I do?

Thanks, Eric

All About Labradors Answer:

Hi Eric,

I hope the medication the vet has prescribed has been helping Sammy. Thank you for the great photo!

As for the food change, I would definitely recommend giving it I try. Like I have stated in the last e-mail, the cause of the infections must be figured out, not just the clearing of the infections. If the cause isn't figured out, Sammy will continue to get her ear infections.

Dog food is made up of a combination of many different ingredients. Here are some of the more common ingredients that can cause problems in a dog include:

beef, dairy, chicken, corn, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, soy, wheat, and whey.

For the food allergy, Sammy will be fed a "hypoallergenic diet" for a period of 12-16 weeks, to monitor her response. What kind of food has your vet recommended?

It is important that during the diet trial nothing else is eaten. No edible chew toys (such as rawhides or bones), no table scrapes, no teats unless they are based on the same food sources as the test diet. NOTHING

Placing Sammy on a commercial lamb and rice formula dog food is not an acceptable way to diagnose or treat food allergies.

Here are some hypoallergenic dog foods for you:

1st Choice Adult Dog Hypollergenic

Eagle Pack Holistic Select® Duck Meal & Oatmeal Formula

Hill's Prescription Diet Canine z/d Ultra Allergen Free

Your vet might recommend Hill's ZD diet, or Purina Veterinary Diets HA or LA diet

Keep me informed Eric. Let me know how the vets medication is doing, what food she goes on, and anything else that happens.

Take care and talk to you soon.

To see a photo of Sammy click: Sammy 6/29/07

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