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Chronic Ear Infections

by Susan
(St. Charles, Illinois, USA)



It seems that ever since he has been about 5 or 6 months old, my Cocker Spaniel has had chronic ear infections. He is 1 1/2 years old (I adopted him when he was 8 weeks old), he has had all of his vaccinations, and he was neutered when he was 6 months old.

He has had many antibiotic ointments, oral antibiotics, oral cortisone, and oral antihistamines. It seems that the treatments will work at first, then when I am finished with the medicine, the ear infections just come right back. I have tried to avoid corn and wheat in his diet. Do you have any suggestions that might help? I do not want him to suffer the rest of his life with ear infections.

Comments for Chronic Ear Infections

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Jul 14, 2009
My Online Vet Response
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Dear Susan,
Cocker Spaniels and other breeds of dogs with the long floppy ears are commonly plagued with ear infections. A dog's ear canal is twice as long as a human ear canal. It's in the shape of an 'L'. The vertical portion is the part you see first to clean out, the horizontal portion is the part that extends inward toward the ear drum. Since the ear canal is cartilage, it is rigid, and you will not 'poke' the ear drum even if you use gauze and your finger to go down the vertical ear canal to clean it. The rigidity will prevent your finger or Q-Tip from going around the bend into the horizontal section.

Since the ear canal is so long, dark and warm, when the ear is 'closed' with a long hairy ear flap and any moisture gets into the ear canal, then it is the perfect environment for yeast and/or bacteria. Remember that in nature, wolves, coyotes, foxes, and wild canids all have upright ears that will serve to make it easier to air out any moisture. It has been us humans that bred dogs to have long floppy ears to make them look 'cute'. See dog ear cleaning solution for more on ear cleaning.

There are also many long eared dogs that never have a problem with ear infections. If a dog has a healthy constitution, on a healthy diet to support a strong immune system, and only minimal vaccinations you can avoid a lifetime of chronic ear problems.

With the history that you have described with Drake, I am very suspicious that vaccinations may be the underlying culprit that triggered the 'susceptibility' for ear infections. Drake may have a mild food allergy, or sensitivity, so your insight into avoiding some of the allergenic components of commercial dog food is very good. With the appropriate holistic treatments, homeopathic remedies, and natural ear cleaners and avoidance of vaccinations, Drake should lead a healthy life, pain free from ear infections.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area.

Take care,

Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
Dog Ear Infection & Dog Ear Problems,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Ear Problems Section

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