Thursday, November 19, 2009
How to clean dog/cat ears & prevent ear infections
Transcript of personal comment from this episode of The Web-DVM:
Welcome back to the studio, where in my personal comment tonight, I will break down the root causes and effective prevention of ear infections, discussing the most appropriate ear cleansers for your pet.
So why is one dog or cat plagued by recurring ear infections, when the majority are not? You just were acquainted with my lab, Bernie, who tends to get yeasty wax build up in his ears that will lead to infection if left unaddressed. Yet in the same household, there are two other dogs, as well as one cat, whose ears I never have the need to even clean.
The answer to this oddity is that micro-organism overgrowth and waxy build up occurs most commonly due to underlying skin allergy. The sensitive skin that lines the ear canals is prone to inflammatory changes in the allergic patient that increase glandular secretions and irritate the tissue. Allergens that affect the ears are the same as those that affect people with allergic sensitivity, airborne allergens such as: pollens, mold spores, and dessicated grasses. This resultant allergy stimulated inflammation within a region that tends to be warm and poorly ventilated, creates an environment of tissue that is ripe for overgrowth of yeast and/or bacteria.
However, this situation does not necessarily have to spiral into a severe raging ear infection where a visit to the veterinarian is the only alternative. If you put the time and effort into keeping the ears clean, dry, and fresh, you can often prevent full blown infections, saving your doggy or kitty a lot of discomfort, while saving yourself a lot of money.
So let us start with good ear cleanser selection. Good ear cleansers should do three basic things: degrease, dry, and acidify the ears. This creates an environment less hospitable for infectious micro-organisms to grow and reproduce, and is accomplished effectively with cleansers that have a small percentage of acetic acid and alcohol. However, we do not want to make the ear canal tissue more irritated, so the inclusion of these agents needs to be well balanced with soothing ingredients such as aloe and omega-3-fatty acids. Vet Solutions ear cleanser fits these criteria well, and for years has been one of my favorite choices for regular ear cleanings. If the discharge that builds up in the ears of your dog or cat is yellow to yellowish light brown in nature, this indicates that it is primarily wax and perhaps some bacterial overgrowth, making Vet Solutions an ideal choice.
If like my dog Bernie, your dog or cat tends to get a dark brown waxy discharge in the ears, then the build up is likely the result of yeast overgrowth in the ears, making Vet Solutions still a decent choice, but you can likely do better with a cleanser that has an additional ingredient that kills yeast. As you saw in the video, I used T8 Keto on Bernie, which combines many of the ingredients that make Vet Solutions effective, with the addition of ketoconozole, an antifungal that has powerful yeast killing properties. Since we recorded this video earlier this morning, however, the company that makes T8 Keto has announced an indefinite back order on this line of product, making it increasingly difficult to find. A good alternative product has the identical ingredients as T8 Keto, called Triz Ultra (EDTA)with Keto, making it an ideal alternative. Again, that product is called Triz Ultra (EDTA) with Keto. Both Vet Solutions ear flush and Triz Ultra (EDTA) with Keto can be purchased from your vet, or through online pet medication retailers.
Whether Vet Solutions or Triz Ultra (EDTA) with Keto are the appropriate choice for your pet based on the criteria I discussed, you should flush the ears just like I showed you in the instructional portion of this program, once daily for 7 days, then maintain with flushes1-3 times weekly as needed. If you follow this and remain consistent with the care of your pet’s ears, you have a good chance of preventing full blown infections, making for a happier pet and a happier bank account.
That is our show for this Friday, November 19, 2009. We will see you again in 2 weeks, as we will be taking next week off for the Thanksgiving Holiday. I wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website Web-DVM.net.