Cocker Ear Maintenance

KLADCkrs

Well-Known Member
Owned by
3 cockers
Cocker Ear Maintenance

Please note that I am not a veterinarian and my advice does not replace medical advice. Please ensure that anything you try, you do with the knowledge and agreement of a trusted veterinarian.

There are several reasons that a Cocker’s ears can get inflamed and infected. If it is only once in a while, then I would suggest that the ears just need a really good cleaning. I always recommend checking your dogs’ ears every 2-3 days, even if it is just taking a quick peek inside. Inflamed ears are very easy to spot – they are dark pink or red, they have a distinct “yeast” smell (sickly sweet) and if you look closely at the skin, it looks similar to elephant skin (thickened, with a sort of hexagonal pattern). This is a classic Cocker ear infection. Typical treatment, as given by a vet, is twice daily ear cleaning and treatment with a prescribed ointment (Canaural is the one I am most familiar with). This treatment tends to be effective, however there is usually an underlying problem. As long as the underlying problem is left unresolved, the ear infections will continue. Long term ear infections can lead to hearing loss, and sometimes the dog’s ear canal becomes so thickened that ear ablation is required (extensive surgery that effectively sews the ear canal shut to prevent further infections).

When I see a Cocker with regularly inflamed ears, I always look at the diet first. American Cockers are very prone to food allergies, especially wheat, corn, chicken and beef. Most dog foods are chicken-based, so the first challenge is finding a food without chicken (and that is not preserved with chicken fat). Once you find a good food without chicken (try duck, venison, salmon or lamb to start), you then need to ensure that there is no wheat or corn in the food. Most premium brand dog foods now have anti-allergy formulas, which use a novel protein (such as the ones listed above) and limit the typical allergenic ingredients. Typically you need to shop at a pet supply place in order to find these premium foods, they are not available at the grocery store. Some vet clinics carry hypoallergenic foods as well, but I find that often the ingredients are not as high quality as some of the private food brands.

When you are changing a diet due to allergies, you need to keep in mind that it takes between 10 and 12 weeks for the old diet to completely clear the system and stop affecting the dog’s body. You may continue to see symptoms of allergic reactions throughout those 10 to 12 weeks. While you are switching from one food to another, it is VERY important to discontinue use of all treats and extras. The only thing the dog should be getting is the new kibble. If your dog is used to getting a treat for something, use pieces of the kibble as a treat. This is important, so that you can judge the effect of the new food on your dog’s health, without other factors coming into play. After 12 weeks, if the dog is doing well on the new food, then you can introduce some fruits and vegetables, one at a time. Introduce something one week, and wait about a week or so to see if the dog reacts. If not, introduce something else the next week. Continue on in this method until you have re-introduced the dog’s favorite snacks. If you purchase commercial treats, be sure to avoid cookies with wheat, corn, chicken or beef. It can be very difficult to find healthy treats with limited ingredients, which is why I recommend using fruits and vegetables as treats.

Hopefully, with the change in diet, the dog’s ear infections will start to decrease, and you will notice an improvement in the dog’s body odor overall. I find that most dogs with allergies tend to have a “sweet” smell, as their body has trouble fighting off yeast overgrowth.

Another factor in Cocker ear infections is ear cleaning. First of all, are you cleaning the ears often enough, and second of all, are you using the right cleaning solution? It seems like all ear cleaners should be made the same, but this is not the case. Many commercial ear cleaners contain alcohol, which acts as a drying agent in the ear canal. Since yeast thrives on a moist environment, the alcohol is thought to prevent yeast growth. In most cases, when ear cleaner is used infrequently, this works. However, if you are cleaning a dog’s ears every day, or even every few days, the alcohol can stimulate over production of wax, in response to being dry all the time. I prefer to use an ear cleaner that is made with natural ingredients, such as witch hazel (also a drying agent, but more gentle than alcohol), peppermint and eucalyptus. Because Cockers commonly have trouble with their ears, some years ago a special ear cleaner recipe was developed. It is called the “Blue Power Ear Treatment.”

Spaniel Ear Cleaner Recipe
__________________________

Ingredients:

White vinegar
Powdered boric acid
Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
Betadine antiseptic (or the generic version, known as Povidone-Iodine Solution)
Please note: do not use "Betadine Scrub", use "Betadine Solution"

Directions for mixing the solution together:

Pour 6 ounces of isopropyl alcohol in to a plastic applicator bottle. Add 1/2 tablespoon of boric acid powder. Be careful not to get any boric acid on your skin or clothes. If you do, wash it off immediately.

Shake the solution extremely well, until the boric acid powder is dissolved, or for five minutes, whichever comes first.

Add 2 ounces of white vinegar. Shake the solution some more, until the boric acid powder is dissolved, or for another five minutes, whichever comes first.

Add one teaspoon of the Betadine antiseptic, and shake it up some more. Be careful not to get any Betadine on your skin or clothes. If you do, wash it off immediately.

The ear cleaning solution is now ready to use.

To use the ear cleaning solution:

It is recommended that you use the ear cleaning solution in your garage or outdoors, as the dog will shake it out of his ears and it will fly in to the air and stain things.

Squirt the solution inside your dog's ear until the ear canal is completely full. Massage the outside of the ear to help slosh the cleaning solution around inside. Release the dog and let him shake out the ear cleaning solution from his ears.

If you get any of the ear cleaning solution on your skin, wash it off as soon as possible.

Be sure to shake the solution up really well before each and every time you use it. The boric acid has a tendency to settle at the bottom of the bottle. Store at room temperature.

Use the cleaning solution daily until you start to see some improvement. Gradually cut back to once per week when you are happy with the condition of the ear. When the ear seems completely free of infection, you can go two weeks between treatments.

Warning: Do not use this ear cleaning solution on dogs with ruptured ear drums, or on dogs with open sores or wounds in the ear area. An ear exam by a veterinarian is recommended
prior to beginning treatment with this ear cleaning solution.

This recipe came to you from Jim & Kellyn Zimmerlin
www.zimfamilycockers.com

Something else that I find helps relieve some ear itchiness in Cockers is to shave the entire inner ear flap when the dog is being groomed. Most groomers shave around the ear canal, with a circumference of about ½” in most cases. When I groom a pet Cocker, I shave the entire inner ear flap, which reduces the amount of warmth and moisture retained in the ear. This is not a scientific finding, just something that I have found to work for me.

This is my method of treating recurring ear infections in American Cocker Spaniels. I hope it is of use and benefit to you and your dog!
 
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Newmommie

Member
Owned by
1 cocker
Thank you for this information!

Since I'm new to having a cocker this is good info for me to have. In the past I've used a large dropper with white vinegar/warm water solution on my big dog,he has floppy ears but not long like my spaniel. My vet approved my method.

Wondering if you have a comment to make about this?

I now realize the odor I noticed the first day we got her is coming from her ears. No idea what the shelter did for her ears,(except shave them down to the skin!) I'm not allowing her to go into tall grass/weeds at all.

I'll look forward to some comments. Thanks
 

KLADCkrs

Well-Known Member
Owned by
3 cockers
There is another website called Zim Family Cockers - http://www.zimfamilycockers.com that has an ear solution that is white vinegar mixed with Betadine rinse, alcohol and Boric Acid powder. I know it also works well, so I'm sure the vinegar/water solution is okay. I personally don't like the smell of vinegar, which is why I don't use it.

If her ears are red and inflamed, you may need to take her to the vet for some medicated ear solution, just to get them cleared up. The change you've made in her diet should go a long way to helping her ears clear up too.
 

Newmommie

Member
Owned by
1 cocker
Update & change: Button's went to the vet yesterday & she has an ear infection. Vet made it very clear to never use vinegar/water solution! Not on cocker's anyways. She said vinegar/alcohol is OK.

I have a tube of Gentizol to use twice per day for next 7 days. I feel badly cause I used the water & made the ear more moist. This is all new to me & I just hope I can prevent anymore ear infections.

Also, I read all the ingredients in the VF food & big dog will finish that off & Buttons wil be getting new food today. Chicken fat is an ingredient! Luckily neither dog tries to eat the other's food so I see no issue with using different types. In fact I feel blessed they get along so well sharing toys,etc.

I truly do feel like a newmommie,lots of info to learn & store in my brain.
 

KLADCkrs

Well-Known Member
Owned by
3 cockers
None of us knew everything when we started Patti . . . we all had to learn this stuff too. I'm glad you had Buttons to the vet, and found the ear infection before it was too bad.

You can print off some of these posts and put them in a folder, so that you can refer to them later. That's what I did with information I got when I first started out.
 

Polly

Super Moderator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
Pati
What Kelly says is so true. Our cockers wouldn't be in the great health they are in now if not for knowing each other and sharing information. That's what this group is all about. Sharing, the joys, problems and, of course pictures!
 

sab3mmom

Well-Known Member
Owned by
2 cockers
Pati
What Kelly says is so true. Our cockers wouldn't be in the great health they are in now if not for knowing each other and sharing information. That's what this group is all about. Sharing, the joys, problems and, of course pictures!

I have used the Blue Power solution on my pooches ever since getting it off the AOL board right after I adopted Maxwell. He came to me with an ear infection that didn't respond to ANY of the vet's expensive meds. Tried the gentian violet solution and he never had another ear infection! I use it once per month just for maintenance and always when I bathe them. Saved me a bundle on vet bills! Last vet told me mine had the cleanest Cocker ears she had ever seen.
 

smh

Member
Owned by
2 cockers
I have to agree the Blue Power is wonderful stuff and cost efficient!!! But it sure does stain. If the weather permits I clean my girls ears withit outside.
 

Fostermom

Senior Member
Owned by
Over 10 cockers
Don't beat yourself up about the ear infection. BIG chance she had it when she came in.

Blue Power is good stuff, but always check with vet to make sure the ear drum is not punctured FIRST, before using anything in the dogs ear.

Now depending on what the problem is -- there are a few different things to consider.

If your dog came to you with fleas (or picked up a few), there could be ear mites. It looks like coffee grinds in the ear.. brown, flaky, sort of icky and stanky. You would need a special med from your vet.

If it's yeast, you can also try some lotrimin cream in the ear.

Just remember to keep them as clean as you can. There are all sorts of really good ear cleaners on the market. Food does play a huge role (on a cocker) and we've never had any issues from Chicken, but sometimes beet pulp or some of the foods with chemicals in there can. Heck, it could even be from rice. They can be allergic to almost anything. Even topical or seasonal can cause a problem.

Skin (ears) are the largest organ on the body, so that is the first place a problem will show up.

Some like to do a slow change on food, I prefer to get them on to the new stuff ASAP, and put up with a little bit of runs or whatever, compared to them suffering longer.

It's all trial and error unless you do the serum test, which is expensive.

If you are going to introduce a new item to your dog (while doing the food trial), only add ONE NEW THING at a time. For instance, only add a certain treat if that's what you're trying.

Most of the time though, a simple food change from one that has icky stuff in there, to one that has limited ingredients does the trick.

That's one of the reasons I like to use California Natural in the beginning. It is simple, comes in several variaties, but only 4-5 main ingredients.

For vet meds for ears, we use Tresaderm (for mites), mometamaxx for simple yeast infections and Neo-predif powder.
 

Joe

New Member
Ears a Vets Evergreen Program

Good input all around on the ears issue, We have discoverd over the past 54 years of ownng Cocker Spaniels.. The problesm ears are simple to avoid as the base problem is poor hygene and pest control...

I had a rescue Cocker come in a few months ago where Dr Dake spent three hours I spent 6 hours and Dr Trokey spent another three hours cleaning magots and puss and dirt out his ears. I felt like crying for him, he was a such brave boy and never once cried or snapped through the entire ordeal..

I don't think I could have done so well myself...

I do not ever want to see a dog with ears bad again and I am a tough cookie with my employees when it comes to ears.

I will write an entire ear program in another post.. I am falling asleep, at the keyboard.. SO I will be back soon to complete this very important post.

Joe Overlease
C&J Cocker's
 

manuel

Administrator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
How terrible! We welcome any experience you have to share managing this difficult problem. Looking forward to your post.
 

KLADCkrs

Well-Known Member
Owned by
3 cockers
I would disagree that the base problem is always poor hygiene and pest control . . . I'll be very interested in seeing your post. I feel that LOTS of ear issues are due to underlying allergies, which are a major issue in Cockers.
 

Polly

Super Moderator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
I have to agree with Kelly. I have only had one cocker come to my home from a breeder/friend. That's my Stormy. The rest are all rescues, most from our local pounds. All my rescues had terrible ears when I first brought them home. My dogs all eat homecooked, puppy stew which is an oatmeal baised food. In my years as a cocker owner, I have had only one with cronic ear problems, which I manage using the blue power, collodial silver, and zymox.
 

Joe

New Member
Ears Continued... LOL With some it may seem that way

Thank you for being patient with us. Just ran out of gas last night...

The ear issue has plagued all scent hunting dogs for a seemingly long time.
Being prone to ear, infections as a child I have always seemed a little more sensitive to the issue than others. And because of this we have always placed a lot of focus on the why oppose to fixing the symptoms.

It was down in Houston about 30 years ago when I took my Cocker Spaniels
to our quarterly vet visit to fix the ears again! I was getting tired with forking over all the money to a vet for antibiotics office call, etc., his pleasant smile did not seem so comforting this time.. He just laughed at what he called "my Evergreen" Cockers... I failed to see the humor... But I did understand.

He was not concerned with fixing the problem he was happy to cure the symptom which he did about every four months for a nice fee. (Evergreen is a Salesman Term for automatic reoccurring sales)

Armed with this I went to work to find how to fix our problem and not the symptom.

The Blue Power recipe is a good one and I have used it for years to fight infections. I have lots of purple dots on the walls of my garage on several of my shirts and pants to prove it. (My wife long ago stopped buying my explanation that it was a fashion statement)

In my search for the "Problem" I had to climb over a lot of well established wives tales.. (Not wives tails, although I have noticed there are some that seemed to be well established too.)

One of the funny things about a lot of individual breeders is they usually have very strong convictions and like most people are used to doing the same thing they have been doing and do not like to admit what they were doing was wrong, or even consider a change just because this is the way, "we have always done it." Thank God we have lots of new people becoming interested in the dogs and are not all set in bad habits yet...

Ok... back to the basics of "the Problem", understanding how the problem occurs requires you to "Know" the Where it comes from...

Dogs are all animals of the ground and because of this they live in an environment full of feces, urine, blood, bacteria, virus, insects, other contaminated animals and microbes. (Parasites)

The Cocker's enhance the opportunity of these things to migrate and enter their body simply as a result of doing what comes naturally to them... hunt and follow scent trails. (Before someone says hey my dogs live in the house so this does not pertain to me.. all of these items listed above live in your house too., I am not saying anyone is dirty, but it is the world of nature, our world we live in that has all of this stuff in it. We can't escape it.)

Our dogs live on the ground... and because of this stuff gets in their ears, dirt, parasites, bacteria, etc. and most of it is carried in by one critter... microscopic mites..

The initial mite invasion does not cause much if any damage; actually it is never even noticed..

Before I go on to what happens next we need to discuss the structure of the ear and the other area where people, when attending to their dogs fail in the proper care and cleaning.

Understanding the structure is very important as many Cockers have ear problems resulting from lack of knowledge and understanding that if you clean the ear improperly you can and will just make matters worse,

I am sure every one knows what an "Allen Wrench" is, but to make sure an "Allen Wrench' is a tool that is shaped like a capital "L", and so is the ear cannel in a Cocker Spaniel. The Cannel goes straight down the side of the face to roughly the end of your dogs jaw and turns at 90.0 degrees and goes straight into the dogs head to his ear drum etc.

I hope everyone has that picture in their minds eye as it is very important.

The area from the dogs jaw bone of the 90 degree turning position and the actual ear drum is the area where the problem occurs. In other words the base of the "L" is where the problems are and if you have not already thought of it this area is out of reach for cleaning.

When cleaning the ears never use anything except paper stick Q-tips, never use the Q-tip like a crow bar trying to get around the corners all you will do is case and ear injury and possible loss of hearing in your dog.

The proper technique for cleaning a Cocker Spaniel ear is to place your index finger on the end of your dogs jaw bone and with the other hand insert the Q-Tip "straight" down until you feel it against your index finger. roll the Q-tip gently ever so gently as the skin in ear cannel is delicate, you may cause an ear abrasion inside the ear and eventually cause a condition what we call cauliflower ear in the ear cannel... abusive cleaning will cause the ear to actually scar and close, major surgery is needed to remove the ear cannel scar tissue... This is caused by people not allergies.. Well I guess it could be an allergy,, being allergic to ear abuse not corn or wheat.

Always use a product that is a ear cleaning and drying solution, IE: Vet Solutions makes a good one, we have used several products over the years, all seem to be about the same liquid for a solvent and alcohol to dry it up quickly Now back to the problem and how it happens, the Cockers use their ears to enhance scent when they are trailing... the ears actually fluff the air and ground to enhance the scent so they will know where the animal has gone..

Sadly this is where the mites live...and they are everywhere...if you had microscopic eyes you would never eat a salad.. or eat with a fork or even your hands... it's a dirty, dirty world Another "Monk: in the world we do not need so I will stop at this..

So the mites go in the ear and they go down the shaft and make the turn at the bottom.. It is "Mite Heaven" its warm its dry there is plenty to eat
and they start building a "little mite city" and sooner or later the founding mites start to die off... (They don't live very long) and the dead mites start to decay which increases the bacteria level and the dogs immune system becomes aware of the problem and send antibodies to fight the bacteria.. And now you have the beginning of an ear infection or a yeast infection. or both.

Ahh... so we simply need to kill the mites right?... Not so fast I wish it were that simple... With the initial creation of the increased level of bacteria we normally will see a yeast culture form.. We must get rid of it or it will simply re occur and start a cycle independent of the mites.. this would not be good.

So at this point we have identified the two enemies or actually three, mites, yeast and abrasive ear cleaning techniques.

The treatment for the two are both different and require the use of these products:

1. Vet Solutions "Ear Cleaning and Drying Solution", or a product you like that does the same.
2. Paper Stick Q-Tips
3. Monistat 7, about $ 8.00 dollars
4. Fish Mox which is Amoxicillin this product can be purchased for about $ 10.00 dollars at most good pet or fish stores. If you can't find it call me I will help. Do not buy the Fish Mox Forte., it is 500 MG the regular Fish Mox is 250. mg ( by Thomas Laboratories of Tolleson, AZ)
These people provide a complete line of antibiotics, check them out. .This is much better than paying Walgreens.
Ask your vet what the dose amount would be by weight for each product.
I know but I cannot tell you, as I am not a vet.
You may already know, look at the pill bottles from your vet in your meds box.
5. Eridamite or Mitaclear.. Both are excellent, or if you want to save money buy a bottle of Ivermectin, inject able and use it in the same manner as the Mite products a couple of drops.. will do. Look on the label to see what is actually in the product. Most have a mystery ingredient that is 98.0% of the product. If you want to know .. (it is water.) LOL


Ear Mant. Program
Use Vet Solutions and clean the ears with your q-tips gently keep cleaning the ears until the q-tip comes out white.. (Brown means EAR MITES are present)

One you have clean Q-tips coming our o the ears.. Place two drops if the mite meds in each ear.

Revisit once a week

Ear Infection treatment

1. Clean as normal ear cleaning above using the mite killer meds
2. Apply Monistat as instructed on the package.
3. Give the puppy an antibiotic for ten days.

Repeat every other day for three weeks (re occurring ears infection result from not staying with the program the full ten days for antibiotics and three weeks of yeast treatment every other day

Problem should go away with any luck at all.

Once the ears have healed up continue the normal cleaning once per week for the rest of your pups life. You will have a happy puppy and a fat pocket book. And your vet, well he will just have to get used to driving his old car as you are not going to be paying for a new one anymore.
 

manuel

Administrator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
One thing I would not recommend is using Q-tips inside the ear canal as you suggest. It is possible to perforate the ear drum with a Q-tip. You're an experienced breeder who can safely use this technique. I'm sure you could teach someone hands-on your method although I wouldn't trust myself or the average cocker owner to attempt it on their own. You have a knack for writing and capturing your reader's attention. Thanks for sharing. :)
 

Polly

Super Moderator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
Oops! I'm with Manuel on this one.. I would be very careful using a q-tip inside the dogs ear canal. I did buy one of those lighted ear thingies.. (Manuel, correct name please) that the vet uses to look inside the ear. It's neat to look inside the ear! I have heard of using monastat, some of our great breeder friends will mix monastat with polysporin and put that in the ear. Works every time.

EDIT: It's an otoscope :)
 
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karenwalksthedogs

Moderator
Staff member
Owned by
2 cockers
Hmmm. The specialist Dylan and I visited said NO Qtips and that many cocker ear infections, in dogs whose ears are cleaned regularly, are cuased by allergies.
 

Joe

New Member
Q-Tips

Gosh I am sorry I was not really clear on the Q-tip thing.. too much information going our and when I re read the document I failed to see that. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

I must not have made it clear to use only the paper stick Q-tips, Never use plastic, or the wooden stick type you would be fool hardy to even think of using something that may harm the ear..

I spend time with each owner teaching them the mechanics of this and for those we ship .. we ask the vet to instruct the method. It is very important that you remove the build up in the base of the ear.

Now remember when a vet finds a customer has been coached they normally don't like it as they know the gigs up and "the ear health" of the dog has become the priority and not his pocketbook.

It is the responsibility of each owner to garner as much education about his /her breed and the medical conditions and the treatment for those conditions. Often we forget when you go to a vet it is not the same as the relationship you may have with your personal doctor.

Your doctor has taken an oath to be accountable for his action, decisions, and or lack of action for each and every patient.

Your vet on the other hand asks you to sign a release before he will even see your animal, the release says he is not responsible for anything he may or may not do. On you signing of this release, you have entered into an employee employer relationship, in other words he cannot do anything without your approval, which implies you as the owner has the education to know when someone is blowing smoke up your skirt...

We maintain a list of bad vet clinics and Vets not to use nationwide for our owners. I had a vet kill one of my puppies several years ago due to his total lack of knowledge and professionalism, and then on top of that he want the grieving owner to pay him $1,500.00 for his murderous deed. He is selling cars in Columbus Ohio, these days.

Our policy is if you have a question or concern, call me before you give any one approval to do anything, I have three vets on twenty-four hour call to deal with these kinds of situations.

Joe
 

sab3mmom

Well-Known Member
Owned by
2 cockers
I actually had a vet show me how to use a Q-tip and I have been using them regularly but only when needed. The biggest thing I'm thinking is to shave the inside of the ear (and around the opening of the ear) and treat after a bath or a swim, etc. Charlie had nasty ears and I reverted back to the gauze rolled to get into the ear canal and his ears improved greatly while he was here. Some dogs just have nasty ears I think. It's not food, it's not how clean you keep them, it's not how low to the ground they are. It's just a fact of life. Just as some people are prone to every disease that's out there and then some of us go all our lives with nothing more than the flu once in a great while. Some immune systems are better than others I'm guessing.

Mendi was my *evergreen* dog. She was in the vets every three months or so with crappy ears UNTIL I started using the Blue Power stuff. Maxwell was adopted to me with crappy ears and I immediately put him on Blue Power and never had another problem. Here's the kicker. BOTH of those babies were eventually found to have autoimmune problems.
 

Mark J

Senior Member
Owned by
Over 10 cockers
Some immune systems are better than others I'm guessing.

Here's the kicker. BOTH of those babies were eventually found to have autoimmune problems.

Your experience and assumption are rather close to what many are realizing now through research, Sharon.

"The Rising Storm" autoimmune problems are resulting from excessive inbreeding

Too much of a "good thing" or short-sighted breeding practices of those popping puppies out left and right from dogs too closely related for generations. Without knowledge of "relatedness" through studying reliable pedigrees (AKC) ignorant breeders are generating dogs of inferior quality.
 
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