July 17, 2013

Dog Ear Infections - Stop Plucking!

I am pleased to see this article “Ears: What Every Groomer Needs to Know” by Dr. Heide Newton, DVM, DACVD.

Contrary to what you may have been previously taught, requested, or commanded, the current advice from veterinary dermatologists is that plucking ear hair can do more harm than good.  Rather than prevent ear infections, this procedure can actually create a greater likelihood of infection by damaging the tender inner ear tissue and allowing a foothold for bacteria to thrive. 

There was probably no worse sign of allergy in my dog than gunky ears. Dark, waxy discharge started when he was a puppy soon after his first round of shots. They never stopped giving him fits.

We tried everything! Oti-Cleans. Otomax. BNT Oitment. Xymox. These were among the vet-endorsed medicines. When these failed, I desperately tried "Blue Powder" a home-made concoction of gentian violet and witch hazel which all the groomers recommended. The less said about that, the better. . Subsequently, I concocted a gentler treatment of my own - a blend of almond oil, lavender oil and neem. It may have soothed his ears. It never healed them. They were sometimes better, sometimes worse, sometimes the left one was inflamed and oozing, then when that one responded to treatment, the right one took up the discharge. Simply, he suffered "poodle ear" made worse by allergies. A long, dark, damp canal covered by long flaps were the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. And they were absolutely at their most troubling to him after the groomer plucked them.

Of all that I learned by caring for Matisse about homeopathy, hygiene, keeping him safe, the one thing I would simply not repeat - plucking hair from the ear canal. 

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