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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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First medical issue- ear infection

Well sure enough Archer's shaking his head and increasing sensitivity about his ears indicated he has an ear infection. I couldn't see much when I would lift the flap but he was yelping when I did. So the vet said he has a "moderate" ear infection. I am supposed to put Otomax ointment in it twice a day for ten days. He struggles like crazy! Ack. The vet tech showed us a good technique for restraining him but of course I want everything in his life to be positive and done with cooperation. Well I hope it will clear up soon. The med is supposed to help the inflammation too.

The vet said usually these things only show up if there is an underlying reason, and that is usually food allergies. He does seem to nibble his paws and tail pretty fervently sometimes, but he doesn't have any red marks on his skin that I can see. I like this vet hospital as they provided a handout about food allergies but did not try to suggest I should buy something special from them.

He's been on the Acana small breed puppy which has chicken, eggs, and flounder in it. Of course he has also gotten a lot of treats of all kinds, so he has also had veal, beef, bison, lamb, salmon, herring...

As far as kibble goes the Acana seems to be the best. I'm not ruling out switching to raw or something else but was hoping to be able to stick with the Acana of at least one of their blends. Their small breed adult blend is also based on chicken.

He is a little over 6 months now, and just over 10 lbs. He is supposed to be 12 or 13 lbs ultimately. When can I switch him from puppy food onto some other kind of food to try and figure out if he has allergies?

The other thing, though the vet didn't think it was too important, is though at first I was using alcohol based cleaner in his ears after every bath, I haven't lately since he hated it so much and some people say it is better not to use anything. Also I was trying to pull out his ear hairs but again he hates it so much and another person locally who owns his half brother says she never pulls the ear hair and he has no problems. So I stopped doing both because why do it if it's unnecessary and he hates it... so I think that could have contributed too.

So either it's an ear-cleaning/hygiene issue I need to resolve, or a food allergy issue, or both.

Any advice from the experts here?


Last edited by Naturelover; 06-27-2014 at 11:20 AM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 11:26 AM
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The first thing I wanted to mention is there is nothing sacred about "puppy food" It is a marketing ploy for manufacturers to get more space on store counters (therefore more visibility) by having more different varieties of food. So you can switch him to any "all stages" food at any time.

That said, I wouldn't IMMEDIATELY jump on the allergy band wagon. Although it is absolutely possible for food allergies to cause ear infections, it is also true that puppies, because of their size, have smaller ear canals than adult dogs do, just like with human children. (and the reason so MANY young children need ear tubes, while adults hardly ever do)

Kodi had ONE ear infection when he was a puppy, and has never had another one. The vet told me that chronic ear infections are bad, but a single ear infection can be nothing more than a single ear infection. So maybe it would make sense to deal with this one, and just see what happens for a while?


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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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So maybe it would make sense to deal with this one, and just see what happens for a while?
Cool, that's what I was thinking- I could just increase the ear hygiene aspect of things for now. That is just good practice in general, right? And I got some ear cleaner from the vet- I have been struggling to feel confident about how to select one from the pet store and regularly use it in his wee ears. The type the breeder recommended isn't available over here, but it was something she recommended from the vet.

I don't want to be negligent but I was thinking I wouldn't switch the food for a little while. He is doing well on it, though like I said he does scratch and chew himself at times, but no red marks yet. After some google searches (sometimes googling isn't the best idea!) I started to get the idea that all ear infections turn into horrible chronic things if you don't address the underlying issues. So yeah I think I will get this cleared up, then take him for his first grooming and get the pros to pull his ear hair since I seem to be unable to! Then keep up with a more regular ear cleaning regime.

I have been trying to use positive reinforcement to get him used to having his ears handled but I was having real problems. Well the sensitivity he had was for good cause, so maybe it will be easier after this. Just starting simple with the bottle goes near your head, touches your ear, then click/treat.

I got the idea from one of the kikopup videos to create a "calm" marker. So I have been experimenting with using "Yes" when we do grooming activities or densensitization instead of the click. It also helps for me to have one more hand since most of those activities require both hands. Otherwise he seems to think he has to do _something_ to earn the click/treat. When the idea is for him to do _nothing_!

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 11:59 AM
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I don't do anything with Emmie's ears, no hair plucking or ear cleaners, and she's never had an ear infection. Ever since she was a puppy I've made a point to play with her ears, pet them, flip over the flaps, touch the inside, etc. I think it's important for our Havs to get comfortable with their ears being handled, and it helps you monitor their health. Plus they have the cutest ears so I can't resist playing with them.

Regarding allergies, Emmie used to lick her paws and scratch occasionally. It was never bad but I decided to order NutriScan, which is W. Jean Dodds, DVM's allergy test, to rule out any food sensitivities.

http://www.nutriscan.org/

Results - Emmie is sensitive to peanut, salmon, rice, rabbit, sweet potato, white fish, plus some other stuff (lentil, oatmeal, barley, corn). I had been feeding her dog food and treats containing some of these ingredients so I stopped doing it and the problem subsided.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 12:56 PM
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Cool, that's what I was thinking- I could just increase the ear hygiene aspect of things for now. That is just good practice in general, right? And I got some ear cleaner from the vet- I have been struggling to feel confident about how to select one from the pet store and regularly use it in his wee ears. The type the breeder recommended isn't available over here, but it was something she recommended from the vet.

I don't want to be negligent but I was thinking I wouldn't switch the food for a little while. He is doing well on it, though like I said he does scratch and chew himself at times, but no red marks yet. After some google searches (sometimes googling isn't the best idea!) I started to get the idea that all ear infections turn into horrible chronic things if you don't address the underlying issues. So yeah I think I will get this cleared up, then take him for his first grooming and get the pros to pull his ear hair since I seem to be unable to! Then keep up with a more regular ear cleaning regime.

I have been trying to use positive reinforcement to get him used to having his ears handled but I was having real problems. Well the sensitivity he had was for good cause, so maybe it will be easier after this. Just starting simple with the bottle goes near your head, touches your ear, then click/treat.

I got the idea from one of the kikopup videos to create a "calm" marker. So I have been experimenting with using "Yes" when we do grooming activities or densensitization instead of the click. It also helps for me to have one more hand since most of those activities require both hands. Otherwise he seems to think he has to do _something_ to earn the click/treat. When the idea is for him to do _nothing_!
Chronic ear infections ARE a bad thing. But one doesn't make for "chronic", and honestly, Havanese aren't known for chronic ear problems. That tends to be water breeds like the retrievers and REALLY long eared breeds like the spaniels.

As far as the chewing is concerned, it MIGHT be food related, but in Kodi's case, it is clearly related to something in wet grass. It ONLY happens at the times of year when the grass is really wet for prolonged periods. Because of this, I'm guessing it might be a mildew issue. In his case, it can't be a food allergy, because it is very obviously seasonal, even though he eats the same food year round.

Just remember that the experience with plucking ears is all over the place too. I have seen as many people say their dogs got ear infections AFTER plucking as I have seen people say that they think their dogs got ear infections because they WEREN'T plucking. I think, unless you have a dog with really REALLY hairy ears that are blocking all air flow, you really have to play that one by ear. (no pun intended) Kodi doesn't have a ton of ear hair, and I don't pluck his ears at all. I do have ear drops taht the vet suggested I use after swimming. But Kodi decided after adolescence that he was a "wading only" dog, so that became a non-issue. He never gets his ears wet except by me in the bath! (and then I'm careful not to get water inside his ears, of course)

I also do think that at least some of Archer's resistance to ear handling was because his ear was so uncomfortable. Hopefully, when that is resolved, you can get him to accept normal care more easily.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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So being new to this breed and to dog ear care I don't really know what constitutes a very hairy ear or not. I actually took a picture of his ears not too long ago. I forget why, but here it is. Is this a hairy ear or not?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 04:39 PM
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I don't think that looks excessively hairy. Tyler's look similar and I don't remove the hair from his. Bailey, on the other hand, who was a black and white, had black, thick hair in his ears and I did remove it periodically.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Naturelover View Post
So being new to this breed and to dog ear care I don't really know what constitutes a very hairy ear or not. I actually took a picture of his ears not too long ago. I forget why, but here it is. Is this a hairy ear or not?
I agree with Mary. This is about the amount of hair Kodi has too, and I don't remove it. Some have such thick ear hair that you can't even see into their ear.


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 04:47 PM
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My breeder showed me how to pluck and use an ear drop product from the vets when we picked Ollie up. At our first vet visit I went to purchase the ear drops and the vet said don't use anything in their ears unless a problem occurs, he also said not to pluck the ears unless a problem occurs. I decided to take his advice and leave Ollies ears alone. The only thing I do is give them a gentle wipe with puppy wipes about once a week.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 05:27 PM
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Riley has had one ear infection, last winter. Our vet said the most common cause is non-food allergies. I thought "that's weird, it's February". It was a one time thing that never recurred, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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