Many pets come in daily because they are shaking their head, scratching their ears, or having gooey waxy stuff coming out of their red, painful, ears. Pet owners always ask, “What could be wrong?” “Could it be infection?” “Is there something down in there?” “Do they have ear mites?”
Red itchy, gunky, ears are a very common medical problem in both dogs and cats. However, it is a bigger problem in dogs, and especially common in Labradors. Ear problems can be mild. You may only notice an occasional scratch or shake, and the ear won’t look that much different. Moderate to severe ear problems can cause a really red ear filled with gunky wax.
The ear canals should always be checked for mites, ticks, and foxtails. This often takes a bit of cleaning and a look down in the ear canal with an otoscope. Dipping a Q-tip in the black waxy stuff in a cat’s ear and spreading the wax on a slide may show ear mites, a common cause of ear problems in cats. If ear mites or other critters aren’t found, and there isn’t a foxtail or tumor down in the canal, and the ear is red, gunky, and painful…then infection and irritation is the culprit.
The hairy, small canals of toy breeds and other individual pets can cause moisture and wax to build up. Once this wax builds up and becomes soupy, lots of bugs can grow and cause the painful signs we see. Bacteria and yeast will over-grow in a warm, moist, soupy ear and they will cause redness, swelling, and pain. Trimming or pulling the hair from inside the ears and bi-weekly ear cleaning solutions may be necessary to keep the wax from building up, and providing a great home for the bacteria and yeast to grow. Removing hair to allow more air to circulate and dry the ear and cleaning out built up wax may help prevent ear infections.
Allergies are the largest cause of ear infections. Reactions to pollens and molds and food ingredients are the most common cause of red, itchy, goopy ears that never seem to clear up despite repeated treatments with antibiotics and ear cleaners. If your dog scratches their ears and chews at their feet, then they are suffering from hay fever. When the pollen count rises, their ears and feet will itch. Itchy ears produce more wax and can become infected with the bugs we talked about before. Weekly shampoo and conditioner, a daily rinse, or moist wipe of the feet, body, and ears may help remove irritating pollens. During the times the pollen count causes itching, an antihistamine like Benadryl, or a prescription of anti-inflammatory from your vet may help.
One of the most common causes of allergic ear infections are food allergies. Dogs are affected much more than cats, but I’ve seen a few cats with itchy ears that responded to a change of food ingredients. Both ear and skin problems can result from allergies to wheat, beef, or chicken in the food. The best hypoallergenic ingredients are duck or fish, and potato combinations. If you are going to try a limited ingredient food trial to see if food allergies are the cause of ear infections, you have to feed a hypoallergenic diet and avoid wheat in all treats, biscuits, or chews. It usually takes at least a couple months to see if a limited ingredient diet will help those red, itchy ears. The diet usually will really help in at least half of all chronic ear issues. (A hypoallergenic diet may also help with skin, bowel, anal gland, and seizure problems!). If a pet produces lots of wax, regardless of the cause (small or hairy ear canals, allergies to pollens or food ingredients) then ear washes once to twice weekly may be needed to prevent chronic ear infections.
A food trial takes about 2 months to see if it will make a difference with ear or skin problems. That same hypoallergenic, limited ingredient diet is discussed in Dog Dish Diet, and if you want to home cook for your pet, Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet. Feeding your pet better ingredients may help with all allergies, seizures, bladder issues, and other medical problems. Click this link for more info: http://dogdishdiet.com/order-now
If your dog have really painful ears and needs temporary relief, you can use dawn detergent to wash the ears with a vinegar rinse. You can also use aspirin (dogs only) and Benadryl for pain and itching. This is only a temporary treatment until you can see your vet. But these painful episodes always seem to happen night, weekends, and holidays when treatment can be more expensive! You can also download a free PDF, Dr Greg’s 11 Practical Home Remedies, for temporary treatment of common medical issues. You can google it, or find it at http://www.dogdishdiet.com/dr-gregs-11-practical-home-remedies-for-dogs-and-cats/
Here’s a video on what makes dogs itch!
A few nice Mite images I found:
Green Mite Severity – region
Image by IITA Image Library
Green Mite Severity – region
Hibiscus leaf with erinose mites
Image by Scot Nelson
Gall mites, hibiscus | Location: Kurtistown, Hawaii
Today’s race standings: In 1st place, leaving the checkpoint at Shaktoolik at 7:12 this morning: Aliy Zirkle. The rest of the leader board is still in Shaktoolik, with arrival times this morning as noted below: Jeff King: 4:46 Martin Buser: 5:27 Sonny Lindner: 5:53 Dallas Seavey: 7:07 Last year’s winner, Mitch Seavey left Unalakleet at […]
Check out these Dog images:
Dogs never lie about love.
Image by lecercle
Everybody knows that elephants weep and dogs love.
It is funny sometimes how their responses so resemble our own that we are tempted to assume identity – we drop the it and call her she.
Dog skeleton from Weatherlees WTW
Image by Wessex Archaeology
Iron Age dog burial found near large boundary/enclosure ditches.
Examination of the teeth showed that it was a very old dog, while knife marks on its bones showed it had been skinned.
To find out more about the project visit: www.wessexarch.co.uk/projects/kent/margate
People in Maryvale, Arizona were being terrorized by roaming packs of Chihuahuas and there was no room for them at the local shelters. The story, being too bizarre/funny to remain local, spread across the country. It probably wouldn’t have gotten much play if they had been roaming packs of Rottweilers or Pit Bulls, but Chihuahuas… The story probably got more exaggerated every time it was reprinted. The publicity got the attention of shelters in the…
The Poodle (and Dog) Blog
Lehren und Lernen mit Video SoSe 2012 Universität Bremen.
Video Rating: 5 / 5
Veterinary medicine, the happiest field on earth, land of puppy butts and kitty snuggles and Pet Doctor Barbies in hotpants, or so they told me when I was 10.
Or perhaps it is the land of crushing student debt, clients frustrated that they are priced out of affordable care, and the unending mental strain of not being able to make every client happy and whole at the price they want you to provide it for.
Maybe it’s somewhere in between, but to be honest it seems to me like it’s leaning a little more towards the latter than the former. It wasn’t always this way, and yes, there are plenty of vets who still tell you they couldn’t imagine doing anything else, but for many, they can. And do. I was shocked to see how many of my colleagues- good, smart, compassionate veterinarians- have left the field. It happens a LOT.
Burnout rates are high, depression is rampant, and though the world was shocked to learn veterinarians have the highest suicide rates of medical professionals, no actual vets seemed too shocked by the news. The truth is, this is a tough, tough field, and the toll it takes is financial, physical, and mental, each and every day. We are expected by society and each other to buck up and put your own needs on the backburner, day after day after day, and it. wears. you. down.Justine Lee has a great article on the topic: one in four vets have considered suicide.
Last week, a colleague followed through, and our field is all the less for her loss.
It might surprise you to know that while our field tiptoes around the concept of compassion fatigue, it’s not regularly acknowledged as an almost inevitable part of what we do. Those who feel the strain are often left to feel guilty and disappointed in themselves for feeling that way. When the timing is wrong, when the wrong case hits at the same time as a broken water main or someone delivering a court summons, it can be very easy to forget that there is a way through that mess.
Animal lovers are deeply sensitive by nature, and I think both animal care providers and clients may be prone to those intensities of emotion that can veer into unhealthy places. I’ve dedicated my work the last year or so to acknowledging we need to do a better job supporting the emotional needs of our clients, but the truth is we need to so the same for our own.
I sincerely hope our field is able to provide better support for our own in terms of learning to cope with the unique stressors of this career, that those support groups that exist within the veterinary community are not kind of shoved in the corner to be sought out in desperation but held up as a standard for healthy venting and encouraging each other to live well and live outside the clinic.
I bring this up for several reasons, namely because I was very saddened by Dr. Koshi’s death and the circumstances surrounding it. I want my colleagues, especially those of you who are young and still learning how to do this vet thing and do it well, to understand that we all know how hard it can be. The internet has not made this easier. We need to be able to rely on each other and on the profession as a whole.
If any of you are struggling, please reach out, to your friends, to a hotline, to me, I don’t care who you reach out to but just stick your hand out and wave and we will take it. I am happy to hear multiple veterinarians including Dr. Lee, Dr. Myers, and others at NAVC met up to discuss what we can do to be more organized in our support of each other and stop being ashamed of admitting sometimes, this field is HARD.
And for you non-vets, because I know many of you are amazing clients, I want to thank you for being the kind of people who make going to work worthwhile. You are the reason we continue to pull our lab coats on every day.
RIP Dr. Koshi, and know that we will acknowledge and remember the wonderful work you did in this world.
Tickets are on Sale for South Jersey’s 1st Pet Symposium – “Integrative Care and Responsible Pet Parenting”
Saturday, April 5th, 2014, at the Palmyra Community Center, 30 W. Broad Street, Palmyra, NJ 08065
Click for Directions
Everyone shall enjoy a day of live, hands-on demonstrations and lectures, in small groups, and have an opportunity to speak with some of the most respected veterinarians in NJ!!
See Symposium Details for interactive links to read about each veterinarian and pet professional speaking, purchase tickets, and get directions.
There will be free food and drinks, attendees will receive a free giveaway bag with pet products, great prize giveaways, and much more!
100% of the money raised shall be donated to the selected 501(c) 3, Non-Profit, NO-KILL Animal Charities below… to help them continue making miracles happen!!!
Some Exhibitors will be:
Pet Valu Cinnaminson
Certified Pet Therapy Dogs /Canine Good Citizens – Bright and Beautiful Furry Angels
Villa La Paws Resort & Spa
Pet Loss and Grief Counseling: Debra Bjorling, Hamilton Pet Meadow
An assortment of lovely raffle items are being donated… so be sure to get your tickets!!!
Parking is free, and the Community Center is just 1 block from the Palmyra RiverLINE Train Station.
Thank you to our extremely generous sponsor, HousePaws Mobile Veterinary Service for making this informative community outreach day dedicated to animal lovers possible!!!
Additional huge thanks to our talented event photographer, Valerie Bruder Photography, who will be donating her time and excellence to photograph the event, and Networks Plus for their ongoing technical assistance, and Cinnaminson Pet Valu for their incredible sponsorship and giveaway products!!!
If you have any questions, please call me @ (856) 906-7111. I’ll be happy to assist you!
Looking forward to seeing everyone there!!!