Important Points in Treatment
1. The longer the infection has been present, the more difficult it is to clear up. In severe long-standing infections, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem. We will continue treatment until the whole ear canal is healthy and an infection is unlikely to recur. This usually requires a minimum of 4 weeks treatment. In some cases, therapy will continue for several months. You can reduce the time necessary by following the recommended method and schedule for cleaning and medication of the ear. If you are not sure how to best handle your animal for treatment, please ask for help. The ears are very tender at the start of therapy, and your pet may not be use to this kind of handling, but with a soft reassuring touch, and firm commitment, your task will become easier and more effective as treatment continues.
2. To be effective, the medication must contact microorganisms or mites deep in the ear canal. To achieve this contact, the canal must be kept clear of debris, and the medication must be placed deep within the canal. Please call the doctor if you are having trouble treating your pet's ear.
3. All animals that have had a yeast, or bacterial infection cleared, should regularly have their ears cleaned to prevent the reoccurrence of this disease. The doctor will instruct you based on your pets individual needs as to how often regular cleaning should occur. Proper grooming is a necessity for pets. Long eared dogs should have the hair under the flap and around the outer canal kept shaved and clean at all times. Dogs that swim should have ears flushed or cleaned and flushed within 12 hours of swimming. Dogs that have canal hair must have the hair regularly removed by plucking (shaving is not possible inside the canal). If the pet is taken to the groomer, the animal should not go home until you inspect the ears and insure the hair was plucked. If plucking was not done, find out why not. If pain is the reason, please visit the Veterinarian. Regular plucking is a discomfort that these breeds come to accept, but is a necessity to prevent infections and pain. Regular plucking and ear hygiene is less painful than neglect.
4. Sedation or general anesthesia may be necessary initially to allow thorough cleansing and inspection of the ear canal and to obtain specimens for bacterial cultures.
5. Cleaning the ear:
Hold the ear up, to slightly straighten the canal and allow your fingers to feel the funnel shaped cartilage of the outer ear. Fill the canal with the cleanser. While still holding the ear up with one hand, massage the lowest portion of the canal to gently squeeze the funnel shaped area repeatedly until the cleanser foams up and lifts the debris of the lower canal to the outer part of the ear. Please try several positions on the canal to perform the massage. You will find the canal is accessible around about 90% of its diameter. The healthier the ear is, the more vigorous the massage. Once the foam is no longer changing color (from blue or clear to brownish), it is time to take a clean tissue and wipe away the lather at the top of the ear. Please use one finger swathed in tissue to gently clean as far down the canal as your finger can reach. If the debris is thickening the foam, please repeat the procedure right away.
6. Flush the ear:
We do not recommend flushing the ear with most flushes until the ear is significantly improved. Most flushes have alcohol in them, and an infected ear is basically an open wound. The pet will experience severe pain if alcohol is put on an open wound. You should flush the ear when it is healthier, and Dr. Bennett has given the okay to use a flush, this is usually 5-7 days after starting treatment. If your pet reacts to the flush, contact us. To flush: Apply ample amount to rinse the remaining cleanser and loose debris from the ear canal.
7. Apply medication as deeply as possible, then massage canal to help spread/distribute the medication to the deepest parts.
8. Be sure to continue on this routine until the scheduled recheck visit, and the doctor changes the instructions.
9. Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur:
* You cannot medicate your pet's ear(s).
* Your pet's ears turn bright red after cleaning or medication.
* Your pet continually rubs, paws or scratches its ear(s).
* Your pet shows other signs of illness during treatment.
* Your pet's infection recurs after apparent recovery.
Clean the ears the night before the recheck appointment, but do not apply medication.