Cocker Ear Maintenance

manuel

Administrator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
Hi folks.

I'm very new to Cocker ownership and want to make sure our little Maddie's ears stay clean. Is the recipe at the top of this thread ok for weekly/every few day use? And where does one get Boric Acid?

We just got her yesterday and her ears look and smell fine (yes, my husband did raise an eyebrow when I sniffed her ears, but that's ok), but I want to stay on top of it.

TIA for your info!

I've had 2 cockers and neither with any serious ear problems :knocks on wood: If yours doesn't have any problem do a light cleaning or just a wipe off with a clean dry rag. There's a possibility of infection any time you put something wet down the ear.
 

Laura

I've adopted
Owned by
1 cocker
Hello all! I recently adopted a new girl named Bella. She came with an ear infection with the vet’s help it got taken care of. I switched to the White vinegar,Powdered boric acid, Isopropyl alcohol, Betadine antiseptic solution for cleaning her ears. I also witched her to grain free food with salmon as the main ingredient. The vet also recommended Benadryl. Bella went to the vet to check her ears among other things and he said that her ears did look better. But he said that we would never be able to get her ears cleaned all the way because she had "L" shaped ear canals. While her ears aren’t bothering her now, I would like to get her ears in better shape. Any suggestions on how to get "L" shaped ear canals clean? Has anyone heard of this? Thanks for any suggestions! -Laura and Bella
2012.10.28 Bella.jpg
 

Polly

Super Moderator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
Hello all! I recently adopted a new girl named Bella. She came with an ear infection with the vet’s help it got taken care of. I switched to the White vinegar,Powdered boric acid, Isopropyl alcohol, Betadine antiseptic solution for cleaning her ears. I also witched her to grain free food with salmon as the main ingredient. The vet also recommended Benadryl. Bella went to the vet to check her ears among other things and he said that her ears did look better. But he said that we would never be able to get her ears cleaned all the way because she had "L" shaped ear canals. While her ears aren’t bothering her now, I would like to get her ears in better shape. Any suggestions on how to get "L" shaped ear canals clean? Has anyone heard of this? Thanks for any suggestions! -Laura and Bella
View attachment 7211
I would continue with what you are doing. Using the blue power on her ears and grain free.
 

Hersh'sMom

Senior Member
Owned by
5 cockers
Actually all digs have L shaped canals. Keep doing what you are doing is best. Perhaps an allergy test if allergies are causing the infection.
 

karenwalksthedogs

Moderator
Staff member
Owned by
2 cockers
Just a suggestion, when Dylan saw the vetinary allergist one thing she mentioned is that more and more dogs are showing allergies to chicken. Chicken shows up in places you never expect it to. You might check and see if there is any in the food you are using.
 

Stone

New Member
Greetings. My 12-year old has had chronic ear infections for years. She's had her ears cultured and the vets say she has a variety of bacteria, all fairly resistant. We've tried various drops (sorry, can't remember any names). The stuff that seemed to work the best was minocyclin in conjunctiion with an iodine based drop. Unfortunuately, the minocyclin really affected her stomach so we took her off of it for a bit.

I'm curious about this blue power/gentian violet. I've read a bit about it. How do you apply it? How often?
 

Polly

Super Moderator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
Greetings. My 12-year old has had chronic ear infections for years. She's had her ears cultured and the vets say she has a variety of bacteria, all fairly resistant. We've tried various drops (sorry, can't remember any names). The stuff that seemed to work the best was minocyclin in conjunctiion with an iodine based drop. Unfortunuately, the minocyclin really affected her stomach so we took her off of it for a bit.

I'm curious about this blue power/gentian violet. I've read a bit about it. How do you apply it? How often?

Lots use a bottle that you can get at the beauty supply with a long tip cap. I use an old bottle that came with some commercial ear wash in it that has the tipped cap but the cap closes.

In your case, since your little one has such bad ear problems, I'm not sure the Blue Power would be enough..

I have a FB friend who does cocker rescue, she just picked up a little male with terrible terrible ears, so bad that the ear canals were completely shut.. he may have to have the complete ablation. Her vet packed each ear canal with an antibiotic right inside the ear canal. It's been a couple days now and she can see a difference. Maybe your vet can do
something like that for your little girl. Or maybe the ear ablation will be the last option. Good luck.
 

deborah

Biped
Staff member
Owned by
2 cockers
Greetings. My 12-year old has had chronic ear infections for years. She's had her ears cultured and the vets say she has a variety of bacteria, all fairly resistant. We've tried various drops (sorry, can't remember any names). The stuff that seemed to work the best was minocyclin in conjunctiion with an iodine based drop. Unfortunuately, the minocyclin really affected her stomach so we took her off of it for a bit.

I'm curious about this blue power/gentian violet. I've read a bit about it. How do you apply it? How often?

I'm a big fan of the Blue Power solution. But I'm not sure if it will be enough, either, but use it every other day, without fail. I like to do before playtime or a walk, so all the movement really gets the solution down in there. Most drugstores sell the empty squeeze tip bottles, for travel, but recycling an old ear solution bottle works, too. Genetian violet will stain, so don't use the good bath towels!
 

Mel Blacke

Well-Known Member
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!
I am new to spaniels and read this post with great interest. I noticed my puppy was messing with her ears so I took her to the vet immediately and she had a small (but undoubtedly growing) yeast infection in both ears with the right ear being worse than the left. We treated with a couple of ointments and medicated ear cleaners. The result was that it reduced but did not eradicate it. Finally I wised up and asked the vet for a demonstration in ear cleaning. Turns out that what I thought I was doing was not what the vet thought I was doing. I am a first time spaniel owner and have never even heard of chronic ear infections in dogs. I also INSISTED on coming back and having the ear retested to see if the new procedure worked. Finally after doing a lot of reading online (thank God for other spaniel owners!!!)we have it under control. I have heard of the Zim's cocker formula but was hesitant to try it because I couldn't find posts of people who used it until I came here. Right now we are using TrizUlta w/ Keto flush and doing ears twice a week. The vet told me (but only because I asked) that an acceptable level of counts of yeast is 0-5 per slide. Her left ear was at zero and her right ear was at two. Also, yeast infections are more common in puppies than adults as I understand and may not necessarily follow them into adulthood. The yeast thrives more in the summer months because of the heat. It can be a symptom of an underlying problem but doesn't have to necessarily be systemic or allergy related. If anyone has any feedback about this I am all ears---pardon the pun.
 

Polly

Super Moderator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
I am new to spaniels and read this post with great interest. I noticed my puppy was messing with her ears so I took her to the vet immediately and she had a small (but undoubtedly growing) yeast infection in both ears with the right ear being worse than the left. We treated with a couple of ointments and medicated ear cleaners. The result was that it reduced but did not eradicate it. Finally I wised up and asked the vet for a demonstration in ear cleaning. Turns out that what I thought I was doing was not what the vet thought I was doing. I am a first time spaniel owner and have never even heard of chronic ear infections in dogs. I also INSISTED on coming back and having the ear retested to see if the new procedure worked. Finally after doing a lot of reading online (thank God for other spaniel owners!!!)we have it under control. I have heard of the Zim's cocker formula but was hesitant to try it because I couldn't find posts of people who used it until I came here. Right now we are using TrizUlta w/ Keto flush and doing ears twice a week. The vet told me (but only because I asked) that an acceptable level of counts of yeast is 0-5 per slide. Her left ear was at zero and her right ear was at two. Also, yeast infections are more common in puppies than adults as I understand and may not necessarily follow them into adulthood. The yeast thrives more in the summer months because of the heat. It can be a symptom of an underlying problem but doesn't have to necessarily be systemic or allergy related. If anyone has any feedback about this I am all ears---pardon the pun.
Mel you are doing great, yes, caring for some breeds involves a real learning curve. One other thing that a lot of us spaniel owners have learned thru the years is that it's best to have your babies on as close to grain free food as possible. Grains turn into sugar which feeds yeast.
 

manuel

Administrator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
Chronic ear infections isn't always true for cockers. I've cared for them 22 years without much problem. I don't know what I'm doing different. I don't clean the ears. I do trim the inside with a #10 blade.
 

Mel Blacke

Well-Known Member
Chronic ear infections isn't always true for cockers. I've cared for them 22 years without much problem. I don't know what I'm doing different. I don't clean the ears. I do trim the inside with a #10 blade.
The breeder told me that she only wipes the outside of her dogs' ears out once a week (which apparently means that she doesn't flush the ears at all) and has zero problems. Maybe she does the same thing: She does at least some of her own grooming too because I noticed that there was a grooming table and a stand dryer there. Not all of her dogs come from the same line, so it is apparently not just a function of genetics either. I had read that keeping the ears shaved promotes good air circulation so we ordered the clippers that my sister wanted with 3 blades (she spent a lot of time reading up on it and watching videos on YouTube and she contacted the breeder to find out what blades to buy (there were 3 to start and think one of them was #10). I will probably continue to flush 2 x a week through at least her puppyhood (bathing, ears and teeth are my responsibility)and maybe beyond that because she will be spending a lot of time outside in the summer months with me and my beagle. Right now we shave her face and ears about every two weeks although we didn't start this until she was about 4 months old. Her flashy coat, as pretty as it is will, out of necessity be kept rather short. I also tie back her ears for a couple of hours at least twice a week and after every cleaning too.
 

manuel

Administrator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
It's good to have clippers at home with an American cocker. You can do the basics like the face, paw pads, and butt. You should get an idea over time how often to flush the ears. I wouldn't do it routinely. You might cause an infection.
 

Mel Blacke

Well-Known Member
It's good to have clippers at home with an American cocker. You can do the basics like the face, paw pads, and butt. You should get an idea over time how often to flush the ears. I wouldn't do it routinely. You might cause an infection.
Oh boy, so flushing the ears can cause an infection, too? How come the vet didn't tell me that? I have been scaling back the flushing (the vet suggested every other day---which I did at first)because she didn't seem to need it but kept an eye out for digging or scratching. I had them culture her ears the last time we were in for her heartworm test and then tell me the counts per slide so I know where we stand. She had zero in her left ear and 2 in her right (which always seems higher, oddly enough). When we get through the wet season, maybe I will go to once a week and a wipe out for the second time, and after a month. run her back into the vet and have them do another culture and get the counts. I was afraid that if I was lax about this, that it would setting my puppy up for chronic problems. That seems like the best course of action under the circumstance. Her ears have never been red or inflamed and the vet reported that even with the initial high counts of yeast, there was little or no debris in her ears---her puppy fur was rather heavy however. She has a black head which means that it grows faster and thicker than the white fur. I know that I sound like an obsessive nut about this but am concerned that if left to chance, it could be setting my girl up for chronic problems and pain and discomfort which I will avoid if I can.
 

manuel

Administrator
Staff member
Owned by
1 cocker
Anytime you place water inside the ear there's a chance of infection. You're treating a yeast infection so continue with the medication until your next appointment. Once the infection is gone, you can clean the inside of the ear with a clean damp cloth as needed.
 

Cockers4Ever

Well-Known Member
Owned by
2 cockers
Personally, I think that sometimes, less is more. I too have had cockers for 20yrs (yikes!!) and knock wood, we've only had a couple of ear infections during that time in my personal dogs. Now, I do feed raw and nearly no grains which I believe lowers the chances for yeast problems. I also shave the insides of their ears with a 10 or 30 blade. And I use spaniel bowls and they always eat with snoods on. ALWAYS.

But, I can literally go months w/o cleaning their ears. If they look dirty, I clean them. If they are scratching at all, then I clean them. But other than that, I leave well enough alone.

When I do clean them, I use the blue powder ear treatment
http://www.castoffcockers.org/documents/pdf/Blue Power Ear Treatment.pdf

I think that messing with them too much could be just as bad as doing nothing. If I had a dog with more than the very occasional ear infection, I'd look first to their diet.

btw, anytime I have had a dog w/yeast in the ears, I treat both ears AND paws. Otherwise, they pass the yeast back and forth via scratching. The feet I soak in plain dilute listerine (brown)
 
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