Sentinel   heartgard   AdvantixII   Seresto collar

With all the parasite preventives available both over the counter and through your veterinarian, it’s nearly impossible to pick the right one!  Here is a chart of tthe most common parasite preventives that are sold through veterinarians.  They have the best research behind them and the best customer service if your pet has a reaction!  (Some are available over the counter, too, but your vet probably offers a waaay better $deal through their own office!)

First, Decide what parasites you want to protect against.  For our desert pets, we recommend Heartworm protection for every dog (it’s not common, but it’s here and it’s a devastating disease that is expensive and dangerous to treat– just avoid it!).  If your pet frequents public dog parks or other group dog environments, protect against the intestinal parasites: RW, HKW.  If your pet hunts mammals in the desert or has fleas, pick a TW and FLEA preventive.  If you have seen fleas or ticks, pick a preventive for those.  If you have mosquitoes around your house, travel to places where there are mosquitoes, protecting your pet against these annoying pests also provides one more layer of protection against heartworm disease!

Then, pick your preferred method of administration, if there are choices!

Request the medication from your veterinarian!

HW = HeartWorm, RW= RoundWorm, HKW= HookWorm, TW= TapeWorm, FLEA, TICK, EAR M= Ear Mites, MOSQ= Mosquitoes

 

  HW RW HKW WW TW FLEA TICK EAR M MOSQ
Sentinel Spectrum

Soft Chews

     
Sentinel

Chew Tabs

 

     
Heartgard Plus

Chewable

           
Revolution

Spot On

Vectra 3D for Dogs

Spot On

K9 Advantix II

Spot On

Frontline Plus

Spot On

Seresto

8 mo collar

Comfortis

Chew Tab

Cheristin for Cats

Spot On

Capstar

Immediate Kill Pill

heartworms in heart

 

During the Month of April, Cimarron is Offering:

Heartworm Prevention at $25 off/ 1 year supply!

Heartworm Tests only $35.00!  (Nearly 50% discount !)  

Why do we want to do this?  Because there has been a recent increase in the number of Heartworm Cases on Tucson’s Eastside.  Because HW dz is life threatening.  It is very expensive to treat: $1200 for an uncomplicated case!   Treating the disease can be fatal!  To protect a pet against fatal side effects of treatment, a family has to be  tremendously inconvenienced to maintain exercise restriction and saddened by the hardships of confinement for the pet and lack of fun they could be having with their pet.  All around, it is a devastating disease for both the pet and the family on both a physical and a pshychological level!  Prevention of Heartworm disease is easy, pet’s LIKE the medication (usu), and for most pets, a Lifetime of tests and preventive won’t cost $1200!  And, mostly because we want our patients to stay healthy and their People to stay Happy with their healthy, active pets!  

More on Heartworm Disease  from Pet Health Network

If your pet is overweight, he has a significantly increased risk of Diabetes.

Overweight, middle-aged orange male tabby cats have a 30% increased risk of developing diabetes than any other cat!

Signs to watch for:

  •    Increased water drinking
  •    Water- seeking behavior: drinking out of showers/sinks/ tubs/ glasses around the house (more than they used to…)
  •    Increased urination:  asking to go outside more often/ in the night; accidents in the house; litterbox is wetter (more than 2-4 urinations in a day is a red flag)
  •    Increased/ “ravenous” appetite
  •    Decreased appetite/ vomiting/ lethargy
  •   Sudden development of Cataracts and blindness in dogs

A simple blood test can answer the question.  Blood glucose testing is an easy test that can check evidence of high blood sugar at the moment.  If the blood glucose test is elevated, a Fructosamine test is usually done to assess whether a pet’s blood glucose has been consistently elevated over the last 3 weeks.

Diabetes is managed with diet (usually a prescription low carb, high protein diet– caution in older pets with underlying kidney disease…) and insulin.

** ! Treating pets with insulin is different from treating humans-– please don’t try this at home!  Your veterinarian is an expert at the nuances of how animals (and cats are much different from dogs!) respond to the the different types of insulin available.

** ! Human blood glucose monitors are often INaccurate in testing animal blood.  Before using a human glucometer, have it compared with an animal calibrated glucometer! (Even on animal glucometers, there are different codes entered for different species because they all read a little differently).  (Honest!  Independent studies have been done!  This is not just a gimmick to get people to buy more expensive animal glucometers!)

** ! Different types of insulin work better in different species.  Some insulins are off and on the market, making it difficult to maintain consistency in treatment.  Your veterinarian has the most current information and will help you make the best choice for your pet.

Untreated, Diabetes saps the life out of a pet, reducing quality of life.  Years of happy life are sacrificed.  Treated, pets can now live full, happy , long lives!  Newer diets and insulins make it easier and more rewarding than ever to keep a pet’s diabetes well managed!

Ooohh Nooo, it’s Otitis Externa! again…

Nearly every dog gets at least one in their lifetime!  Ear infections are one of the top 3 most common pet health insurance claim reasons! They’re crazy! They’re everywhere!

Sometimes they are frustrating!  They can be hard to beat! They often recur. They are PAINFUL!

Causes

Outer ear infections in dogs are most often caused by :

  • Bacteria (various kinds, many of which are antibiotic resistant)
  • Yeast.
  • Both

There is almost ALWAYS an Underlying Cause that needs to be treated in order to cure the infection and prevernt recurrence.

ALLERGIES to food products–  Be on the alert for:
    • no other symptoms of allergy such as itchy skin/ persistent licking
    • Maybe Bottom scooting
    • Maybe Periodic loose stools, diarrhea or vomiting
ALLERGIES  to environmental factors ( pollens, dust mites, molds, etc), especially if:
    • Licking, scratching other parts of the body, too
Anything that plugs the ear canal such as
    • Wax accumulations
    • Thick or matted hair in the ear canal
    • Foreign bodies such as a grass awns or insects (ticks love ear canals!)
    • Tumor or polyps
Water in the ear– from swimming or bathing
Hormone problems suppressing the natural immune system
  • Shaking of the head
  • Ear scratching
  • Red and inflamed ears
  • Offensive ear odor
  • Black, Brown, reddish or yellowish discharge (fi you think it’s “dirt”, it’s probably not– see a vet!)
  • Constant tilting head may signal middle ear infection

Because a number of problems can cause an ear infection, it is important that your dog or cat see the veterinarian at the first sign of symptoms. The veterinarian will also make sure the eardrum is intact before prescribing medication because some medications have been known to result in hearing loss if administered to a pet with a ruptured eardrum.  Your veterinarian will prescribe proper medication and treatment.

Examining the ear–Your veterinarian will use an otoscope to look inside your pet’s ear for debris and to check on the condition of the eardrum. If this is painful, your pet may need to be sedated or anesthetized for the exam. If the ear examination reveals a foreign body, tick or heavy debris buildup, sedation may also be required in order for the veterinarian to remove the irritant.

Cytology— Your veterinarian will take a sample of the material in the ear canal and examine it under a microscope (cytology) to determine if an organism caused the infection, and which organisms are involved. This is a critical step of diagnosis and follow up!   Different organisms require different medications and the type of organism involved can change over time, even during treatment!

Cleaning-  Your veterinarian may need to clean your pet’s ear of debris prior to treatment in order for treatment to be most effective.  Some medications are inactivated in the presence of pus. Medication can not treat an infection if there is so much debris in the canal that the medication cannot reach the skin. Cleaning can sometimes be done in the exam room.   But anesthesia is often needed if your pet’s ear is too painful or there is an excessive amount of debris. Ears are suuuper sensitive– there is only 1 nerve between the ear and the brain! Making the investment in cleaning, even if it means anesthesia, early in the treatment process will help cure the infection faster and reduce the number of rechecks needed.

Medication treatment–Medication treatment is typically prescribed for one to two weeks. This can be painful for your pet, so be gentle.  Your veterianrian may be able to instill long-acting medication in your pet’s ears initially to minimize uncomfortable treatments at home. Depending on your pet’s condition, you may have to do daily cleaning at home.  Your veterinary team will show you how.

Prompt diagnosis and proper treatment will speed your pet’s recovery. .Be prepared for recheck examinations with your veterinarian.  Only your vet, using an otoscope, can  ensure that the infection is cleared up all the way to the ear drum.  Ear infections can be frustrating and take some time to treat due to the number of factors that complicate recovery:

  •   The cause of infection can change during the course of treatment-–  from a bacterial to a yeast infection, for instance
  • Resistance to typically used medications.
  • Not cleaning the ear enough so that medication can reach the infection
  • Not treating the ears deeply enough
  • Not treating long enough to clear the whole infection
  • Underlying problems such as allergies or thyroid disease.

 

 

Important warning–

The longer an ear infection goes untreated, the harder it is to get rid of. Your pet will be in pain until you start treatment. Heavy head shaking, a sign of infection, can result in broken blood vessels in the ear flap  (this is commonly called an aural hematoma) that requires surgery. Frequent ear infections can damage the eardrum and close the ear canal, in which case surgical reconstruction may be necessary.

Recurrence of infection may happen for a number of reasons.  Sometimes the infection is persisting rather than recurring because it was not cured the first time.  This happens most often when patients are not rechecked with the veterinarian. An infection may look cleared at the ear opening, but still be brewing deep in the canal, near the ear drum.

Recurrences should always be treated and the underlying cause treated.  Dogs should not “always” have ear problems. They are painful and often a sign of a bigger problem!

  • Prevent water from getting in your dog’s ear during baths– put a cotton ball in ear opening to catch any accidental water that may get in.
  • If your dog is a frequent swimmer, ask your veterinarian for a drying ear wash to use nightly during swimming season.
  • Use any ear flush prescribed for your veterinarian on a regular schedule.
  • Treat the underlying causes!

Q. What is the best way to keep my dog’s ears dry?
A. Cotton balls are an excellent way to dry your dog’s ears if he is regularly exposed to water. Always be gentle and careful not to force build-up down into the ear, which can contribute to an ear infection.
Q. How soon should I take my pet to the veterinarian’s office if I think it has an ear infection?
A. Call and make an appointment immediately. Your pet is in pain. Your vet needs to determine the source of the problem and prescribe a course of treatment as soon as possible.

“Medical” marijuana laws are resulting in more pets getting stoned.  It doesn’t take much to send them on a trip that last hours to days!  Most pets that get seriously stoned have eaten their owner’s marijuana “edibles”.  Canabutter, a THC infused butter, frequently used to make chocolate (and other) baked goods is reportedly more intense and “often lasts 4 times longer than a traditional buzz.” (http://www.cannabutter.co.uk/)   The potent canabis, in conjunction with the chocolate makes for a dangerous combination.

Signs of Marijuana Toxicity

Depression, hypersalivation, enlarged pupils, abnormal gait, vomiting, leaking urine, tremors, depressed body temperature, and slow heart rate

 Higher dosages may additionally cause nystagmus, agitation, inability to walk, hyperexcitability, seizures, coma. *Stoned pets that are vomiting can aspirate the vomit  leading to potentially fatal aspiration pneumonia!

Recovery

Most pets recover from marijuana intoxication.

When to get to the Vet!

Being stoned becomes dangerous when a pet:

  • Can’t walk
  • Can’t sit up without falling over
  • Is vomiting
  • Is hypersalivating and not swallowing the saliva
  • Is hyperactive or agitated
  • Is stuporous, not responsive to stimulation

** As with any poisoning, TELL your vet what your pet got into!  (I promise, even if you don’t live in a state where marijuana has been legalized, they won’t call the cops!)  The faster you solve the mystery for them, the sooner they can start treating your pet!

Treatment

Treatment for marijuana intoxication usually includes at least a day stay in the hospital for IV fluids (by the time these patients come in they are often dehydrated.  If not now, they will become dehydrated during the day because they don’t / can’t/ shouldn’t drink while severely stoned).  Medication for vomiting is often needed to protect them from aspiration.  Patients with more severe signs of hyperexcitability may need sedatives to prevent them from hurting themselves.  (I once watched a dog spin off all 5 walls of his cage for 2 hours – before we found out later what the problem was!)

Prevention

Keep the product: greens, edibles, patches, roaches, pipe water, etc away from pets!

Remember to take the garbage out if there is any marijuana-laced product in the garbage!

Keep canabutter in the ‘fridge and the utensils used to make it/ spread it/ measure it directly in the dish washer or washed (cats LOVE butter!)

ear infection2Infection of the Outer ear, “Otitis Externa”,  is the most common type of ear infection and one of the most common diseases of dogs!

Otitis externa is like “swimmer’s ear” in people.  This condition is actually MORE painful than middle ear infection!

 

Causes

Outer ear infections in dogs are most often caused by :yeast microscopy

  • Bacteria

  • Yeast.

  • Anything that plugs the ear canal such as

    • Wax accumulations

    • Thick or matted hair in the ear canal

    • Foreign bodies such as a grass awns or insects (ticks love ear canals!)

    • Tumor or polyps

  • Water in the ear- from swimming or bathing

 Although any dog can get an ear infection, breeds that have pendulous ears, like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds or those with hairy inner ear flaps, like Miniature Poodles and Schnauzers, have more frequent ear infections.

Symptoms

  • Shaking of the head

  • Ear scratching

  • Red and inflamed ears

  • Offensive ear odor

  • Black, Brown, reddish or yellowish discharge

  • Constant tilting head may signal middle ear infection

Diagnosis

Because a number of problems can cause an ear infection, it is important that your dog or cat see the veterinarian at the first sign of symptoms. The veterinarian will also make sure the eardrum is intact before prescribing medication because some medications have been known to result in hearing loss if administered to a pet with a ruptured eardrum.  Your veterinarian will prescribe proper medication and treatment.

Examining the earYour veterinarian will use an otoscope to look inside your pet’s ear for debris and to check on the condition of the eardrum. If this is painful, your pet may need to be sedated or anesthetized for the exam. If the ear examination reveals a foreign body, tick or heavy debris buildup, sedation may also be required in order for the veterinarian to remove the irritant.

Cytology– Your veterinarian will take a sample of the material in the ear canal and examine it under a microscope (cytology) to determine if an organism caused the infection, and which organisms are involoved. This is a critical step of diagnosis and follow up!   Different organisms require different medications and the type of organism involved can change over time, even during treatment!

Treatment

Cleaning-  Your veterinarian may need to clean your pet’s ear of debris in order for treatment to be most effective.  Some medications are inactivated in the presence of pus.  Medication can not treat an infection if there is so much debris in the canal that the medication can not reach the skin. Cleaning can sometimes be done in the exam room.   But anesthesia is needed if your pet’s ear is too painful or there is an excessive amount of debris. Making the investment in cleaning, even if it means anesthesia, early in the treatment process will help cure the infection faster and reduce the number of rechecks needed.

 Medication treatment–Medication treatment is typically prescribed for one to two weeks. This can be painful for your pet, so be gentle.  Your veterianrian may be able to instill long-acting medication in your pet’s ears initially to minimize uncomfortable treatments at home. Depending on your pet’s condition, you may have to do daily cleaning at home.  Your veterinary team will show you how.

 Recovery

Prompt diagnosis and proper treatment will speed your pet’s recovery. .Be prepared for recheck examinations with your veterinarian.  Only your vet, using an otoscope, can  ensure that the infection is cleared up all the way to the ear drum.  Ear infections can be frustrating and take some time to treat due to the number of factors that complicate recovery:

  • The cause of infection can change during the course of treatment–  from a bacterial to a yeast infection, for instance.

  • Resistance to typically used medications.

  • Not cleaning the ear enough so that medication can reach the infection

  • Not treating the ears deeply enough

  • Not treating long enough to clear the whole infection

  • Underlying problems such as allergies or thyroid disease.

Important warning–The longer an ear infection goes untreated, the harder it is to get rid of. Your pet will be in pain until you start treatment. Heavy head shaking, a sign of infection, can result in broken blood vessels that require surgery (this is commonly called an aural hematoma). Frequent ear infections can damage the eardrum and close the ear canal, in which case surgical reconstruction may be necessary.

Recurrence

Recurrence of infection may happen for a number of reasons.  Sometimes the infection is persisting rather than recurring because it was not cured the first time.  This happens most often when patients are not rechecked with the veterinarian.  An infection may look cleared at the ear opening, but still be brewing deep in the canal, near the ear drum.

Other causes of recurrence:

       #1   Allergies – inhaled allergies (atopy) or Food allergies!  Sometimes recurrent ear infection is the ONLY sign of food allergies.  Ask your vet if this might be an issue with your pet.

  • Hypothyroidism and other hormonal imbalances

Recurrences should always be treated and the underlying cause treated.  Dogs should not “always” have ear problems.  They are painful and often a sign of a bigger problem

Prevention

  • Prevent water from getting in your dog’s ear during baths– put a cotton ball in ear opening to catch any accidental water that may get in.

  • If your dog is a frequent swimmer, ask your veterinarian for a drying ear wash to use nightly during swimming season.

  • Use any ear flush prescribed for your veterinarian on a regular schedule.  Getting lazy and forgetting will often lead to recurrences!

  • Treat the underlying causes!

Presented in part by American Animal Hospital Association and  HealthyPet.com

thunderstormThunderstorm phobia is a state of anxiety in response to a stimulus that is perceived as frightening.  Some dogs think storms are scary while others don’t care at all.  Those dogs that do become anxious may show mild aversive behaviors, like hiding while others may have hysterical panic reactions and try to break through windows or out of doors.  Different strategies work for different dogs, but here are a few to try:

  • AVOID KEEPING STORM PHOBIC DOGS OUTSIDE where they have no escape from the elements!

 

  •  Establish a Safe Place- usually deep in the house, where noises and lights from a storm are most muffled.  Think: closet, inner room without windows.  Set up a bed or the dog’s crate in this area.  This can be where you feed him, where you keep his toys and where he sleeps.  This area should be accessible during storms, even when you are not home.

 

  • Avoid giving a lot of attention to your dog when you are home during storms.  He will learn to become dependent on you to comfort him and may have even worse anxiety if a storm hits while you are not home to help him.

 

  • Get her involved in a Distraction Activity BEFORE she becomes panicky.  A long – lasting food treat like a Kong ® or Twist and Treat® filled
    with her favorite treat can help take the fear out of a storm!kong toy

 

thundershirt cat

  • Try a Thundershirt® or Anxiety Wrap®.  These wrap around your pet, swaddling him.  This technique works great on some pets!Anxiety Wrap dog

 

  • Calming Caps® are another product that quiets some dogs who will tolerate something over their face and eyes.  It’s not a good choice for pets who resist having their heads/ faces controlled.

 

  •  Gentle Leader(R) head collars can be very useful for dogs when owners are home to put the collar on.  The pet should not be left home alone with the Gentle Leader on
  • Desensitize your pet to thunderstorm noises by playing thunderstorm “music” at a very low level while working on obedience behaviors and giving rewards when she is not showing any anxiety.  Gradually increase the volume of your thunderstorm noises, rewarding as long as there is no anxiety.  Back the volume off at the point where early signs of anxiety occur.  This should be done all year long!  Doing this training when there are no storms imminent helps take out at least one of the storm factors that trigger a lot of dogs: unexpected noise.

 

If these tactics don’t work, it’s time to consult a professional.  A trainer may have additional suggestions for your particular home environment or dog’s personality.   Your veterinarian is a fabulous source of suggestions as well.  In addition to environmental and behavioral modifications your veterinarian can also prescribe anxiety medications for your pet.

ferret“Suprelorin(R)” implants, once a year from age 1 year on can prevent adrenal disease!

Now Available at Cimarron Animal Hospital!

Every American Ferret should have the benefit of Suprelorin(R)F!

American ferrets are prone to adrenal disease and cancer by the time they are 3-4 years old.  This is due to two primary factors:  the severe inbreeding of the “farmed” ferrets available to the general public and early spay / neutering practices of these ferret “mills”.

  Adrenal Disease is caused by overactive tissue or tumors of the Adrenal Glands, located in the abdomen, very near the kidneys.

Signs:  

Hair loss, lethargy, enlarged vulva (females), enlarged nipples (both males and females), Itchiness, crusted skin sores, urinary tract obstruction (males).

Cause:  

Early spay and neuter (before 6 months of age) eventually causes the adrenal glands to take over production of hormones- primarily estrogen.  Initially, the glands are just hyperactive, the cells become “hyperplastic”.  Over time, those hyperactive, hyperplastic cells become abnormal cancer cells.

Treatment:  

Once Adrenal tumors develop, the treatment of choice for cure is surgical removal.  Some tumors, depending on where they are and how advanced the cancer is upon diagnosis, can not completely be removed.  In this case surgery will diminish signs of disease for a while, but the remaining cancer cells will continue to proliferate and the cancer will advance. Even if an adrenal tumor is removed, a new tumor on the other adrenal gland will often develop.  Surgery is risky and expensive.

Prevention:

Suprelorin® is a new hormonal implant that interferes with excess estrogen production for at least a year!  Having your ferret receive the implant once a year from the time it is 1 year old, will markedly diminish the possibility of it developing Adrenal disease!

  Ferrets under the age of 3 years will likely also be nearly 90% protected.

  Ferrets older than 3 years can still benefit if their adrenal changes are not yet advanced to the point of cancer.  The Suprelorin® implant can reverse the adrenal hyperplasia.

  Unfortunately, the Implant cannot  stop cancer from progressing once it has occurred.  However, if  a ferret cannot have surgery, the implants can improve the ferret’s quality of life for a while:  help grow back fur, relieve itching, protect males from prostate enlargement that causes urinary tract obstruction.

  The Suprelorin® implant is done under a short anesthetic procedure and sterile technique.  Your ferret should be able to go home within 30 minutes of the procedure!


  CALL US TO SCHEDULE YOUR FERRET’S ANNUAL SUPRELORIN®  IMPLANT TODAY!


  520   886-1125                  www.cimarronah.com

 

 

ear anatomy nose upDog ear infections can be frustrating and tricky to treat. Here are some tips to getting that painful disease under control as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, there are no over-the-counter ear treatments that treat specific infections. Most of the treatments contain alcohol and acids. These may be effective for mild infections, by acidifying and drying the ears. They also physically clean the ear canals of debris and organisms. But, if these are not effective after 7 days, flushing the ears twice daily, it’s time to see the vet.

1) Ear Cytology It’s important to know what your dog’s ear is infected WITH. Dogs can get yeast infections, bacterial infections (different kinds of bacteria), and combinations of both yeast and bacteria. Because yeast and bacteria need to be treated with completely different medications, it’s very helpful to know which you are dealing with. Also, different kinds of bacteria respond better to different antibiotics, while some types of bacteria are developing resistances to the commonly used.

The only way to know what organisms are present is an ear cytology. It is impossible to determine whether an infection is yeast or bacterial by the odor or characteristics of the discharge! The microscopic characteristics of the organisms guide your veterinarian as to the best first choice of medications.

2) Removing debris from the ear canal is very important to success. If the debris is not removed, you will be putting medication on the surface of the debris and it may never get to the skin surface to kill off the organisms causing the infection. Also, some medications are inactivated in the presence of pus! If your dog has a lot of debris in the ear, you r vet should recommend either an out-patient ear cleaning or a Deep Ear Cleaning under anesthesia.

3) Treatment of the infection. Your veterinarian will make a treatment plan depending on the type of infection, amount of discharge present, amount of inflammation and secondary changes deep in your dog’s ear, and possible underlying causes.

Flushing/ Cleaning– Choice of flush sloution recommended depends on the factors above.

** TIP 1: With your dog sitting or standing, point his nose to the ground while instilling the flush solution.

** TIP 2: Use enough soution to Flush the ear canals. It should sound juicy when you massage the base of the ear canal

** TIP 3: Get it down in there!  Insert the nozzle of the flush down into your pet’s ear as far as it will go. (But don’t make an airtight seal!) You can’t come close enough to the ear drum to hurt it! But, if you don’t get the nozzle down in the ear, you won’t get the flush in deep enough to clean the canals! Remember that the dog’s ear canal is “L” shaped. The medication has to go down from the ear opening to the point of the jaw, then dive in toward the middle of the head.

** TIP 4: Do this Outside! After a good massage, let your dog shake his head! It’s messy! Wipe the excess away with a tissue/ towel.

Medicating- The medication may be a Long-Acting gel, in which case you don’t have to anything at home! Or…

If you are applying medication 1-3 times daily:

** TIP 1: While your dog is sitting down or standing, point his nose toward the ground when you instill the medication. This orients the ear canals to allow the medication to run deep into the canals, rather than right back out.

** TIP 2: Like flushing, insert your medication nozzle all the way into the ear.

** TIP 3: Shaking is inevitable! Stand back!

 4) Treat the Underlying Condition in cases of recurrent, persistent or long term conditions. This may mean some additional testing is needed to determine the underlying condition.

5) Rechecking with your vet is critical! Only your vet can look deep into the canals with an otoscope to tell you whether the infection is cleared up all the way to the ear drum. I know it costs money, but the number 1 cause of “recurrent” or “persistent” ear infections is not getting the infections completely resolved. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security just because you don’t see any discharge or smell any odor! That infection could be lurking at the bottom of the canal, taking it’s sweet time crawling it’s way back up to the opening!

Approximately 65% of ear infections need treatment for longer than 2 weeks. Sometimes owners need to treat more deeply than they originally were. Sometimes, there is too much debris in the canal for the medication to be effective so the ears need a Deep Cleaning under anesthesia with a scope to visualize that the canals are, indeed, clean to the ear drum. The infection may have broken through the ear drum into the middle ear, requiring special treatment. Sometimes, the infection changes invaders– one organism is killed off, leaving room for a new one to grow (a repeat cytology reveals story). There be a colony of resistant bacteria that require specialized medications (identified by culturing the ear debris). Often, there is an underlying cause for the ear infection in the first place: inhaled allergies, food allergies, hypothyroidism, etc. These must be addressed or the infection won’t resolve or will recur.

The Bottom-Line

 Have an ear cytology done first. Have the ears cleaned according to your vet’s recommendation. You may have to continue using a cleanser at home during treatment. Use the appropriate medication aimed at your pet’s infection. Hold the nose down. Insert the medication bottles fully into the ear– you can’t hurt your pet’s ear canal! Keep the recheck appointments until the infection is gone. Explore possible underlying causes or additional testing if the infection is not clearing up appropriately.


ear infection2Ear infections in dogs are very common,and  often frustrating.
  Owners find them frustrating because they are difficult to treat: frequently instilling medication into your dog’s painful ears hurts your dog, makes him wary of you and that medicine bottle, undermines the bond of love and trust between you.  It makes you feel bad. Treatment can take 1- 3 weeks, depending on the severity of infection.  Recheck appointments at the vet are expensive and time consuming in our busy lives.  If you try to use over-the-counter or internet-recommended “home cures” you almost always have recurrence or persistence.  Ear infections recur or persist even with professional help.  It seems like your vet can’t them under control!

Owners, know that your veterinarian is right there with you!  It’s such a frustrating condition that there are hundreds of lectures/ articles/ web chats about ear infections every year!

To understand why ear infections are such a pain in the (r)ear, you first have to understand what causes ear infections.

Basically, ear infections of the outer ear canal, “otitis externa”,  are caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast, or both, in the ear canal.   Otitis externa is a painful condition.  It is akin to “swimmer’s ear” pain in people.

What conditions allow for the overgrowth of organisms?

1) Water in the ear.  Bathing and Swimming allow water to get in the ear.  This extra moisture allows the normal bacteria and yeast in the ear canal to overgrow.   PREVENTION : Avoid getting water in your dog’s ears during baths.  Place a cotton ball in the ear to absorb any accidental water drops. Use a drying ear flush after every bath.  If your dog swims, flush his ears with a drying agent every day after swimming.  .

ear anatomy nose up

2) Idiopathic.  Many ear infections don’t have an obvious cause.  These are usually treated fairly easily and are not recurrent problems.

 

3) Foreign Bodies.  Grass awns (“foxtails”) and ticks are the most common “foreign bodies”. Treatment involves removing the foreign material and treating the infection. Pretty straight forward.

4) Inappropriate Treatment.  The most common problem with treating dogs is that the medication doesn’t get deep enough into their long, “L”- shaped ear canals to treat the whole ear canal.  Putting a certain number of drops in the ear is almost never going to get the medicine in deep enough.  Some pets make it very difficult because they don’t like the treatments, so we people are hesitant to put the medication nozzles in the ear deeply

tick in ear

.  Sometimes,. we are just afraid.  Be assured that you can almost never damage the ear drum with a medication nozzle designed for dogs!

5) Not treating the infection to completion.  This is a common client- controlled issue.  It is very tempting to ignore the vet’s (expensive) recommendation for a recheck after a ctaatin amount of time on medication-
especially when the ears look good to the naked eye!  But, unbeknowst to the casual observer (without an otoscope to see into the deepest recesses of the ear canal, all the way to the ear drum), the infection could be lingering!  This is why that vet recheck is so critical to treatment success!

6) Treating the surface of the ear goo and not the “bugs” causing the problem.  This is a common error in treating ear infections.  There is a huge amount of discharge produced by the ear infection organisms.  If you are using topical therapy and there is so much debris filling your dog’s ear that the medication is only treating the surface of the discharge and not the organisms on the skin, you won’t get anywhere- no matter how many times you re-visit the vet!  These ears have to be deep cleaned.  This does mean anesthesia and the vet curetting out the discharge, flushing and collecting samples from DEEP in the ear, at the level of the ear drum, to get resolved.

When those infections just aren’t clearing up…This is where things start getting tricky…

7) Resistant Bacterial Infections. There are more strains of bacteria every year that are becoming resistant to the antibiotics that are commonly used. The only way to know if a particular infection is “resistant” is to culture the discharge and let the lab tell you.

8) Yeast or Bacteria Allergies. Dogs can actually become allergic to the yeast or bacteria that overgrow in their ears!  This contributes to extra inflammation (heat, swelling, moisture) in the ear canals, which of course, contributes to More prolific growth of the organisms!  You have to break the allergy cycle to control the growth!

9) Allergies to pollens and other inhaled allergens (anything people can be allergic to!).  Allergies in dogs usually cause skin problems, rather than the eye/ ear/ nose/ throat symptoms that people get.  The skin of the ear is just skin– it’s just dark, warm, moist skin.  Extra nice for bacterial and yeast overgrowth!  Again, the allergies have to be controlled so the conditions contributing to ideal organism overgrowth are removed and the infection can be cured.

10) Food Allergy.  Believe it or not, FOOD allergies can cause recurrent ear infections!  In the same way that inhaled allergies cause skin disease in dogs, so do food allergies.  Again, ears are just specialized skin….!  In fact, (and this is the crazy thing– but true!)  Food allergies may ONLY cause recurrent ear infections!  With no other symptoms!  The best way to test for this is to place the pet on a Hydrolyzed Protein Diet (some dermatologists will use prescription limited  antigen diets or home cooked diets) for 2-3 months.  If the ear infections resolve with treatment as expected, you have your answer!

11) Metabolic Diseases.  Hypothyroidism is the most common metabolic disease to cause recurrent ear infections.  This is a common condition in middle aged to older dogs. It causes immune suppression, allowing abnormal bacterial/ viral/ yeast growth all over the body.  The ears are just a common location.  Hyperadrenocorticism (“Cushing’s Disease”) also causes recurrent or persistent  ear infections through immune suppression.  Your vet can test your dog for these conditions!

It is niether “normal”,healthy, nor nice, for your dog to have ear infections “all the time”.  This is a painful condition that could be screaming, “There’s something else wrong, Dad! I need you to help me!”  If your dog is showing signs of ear infection: pain in the ear, shaking the head or scratching the ear frequently, please have him or her seen by your vet right away!  Treating infections early gives you the best chance for a full recovery and any underlying conditions can be determined sooner rather than later.