All posts by Amy

Ear Infections

Ear infections. Yuck.

It was in 1996 that Misiu entered and immediately enriched my life.  He was a golden retriever with the temperment of a God. He brought years of love, kindness, devotion and compassion to my life. Misiu died in 2008 and left me floating in a great abyss. He left an emptiness in my heart that took years to heal. I still get misty-eyed thinking of his great brown eyes staring at me with love while he rested his large square head on my thigh. He would sit quietly with me while I cried and would snore gently while I suffered with insomnia.

Misiu taught me so much and this next bit of information is something that might help save a few trips to the vet and many battles with ear infections.

Floppy eared dogs tend to have ear problems due to air flow constrictions, add a warm environment and you have the perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth. The golden’s love of water and pre-disposition to allergies and you have a recipe for chronic ear infections. Allergies in dogs present with ear infections, paw chewing and hot spots.

Misiu was four and we’d been battling ear infections his whole life. We’d just returned from the vet and they’d done a swab to determine what type of bacterial was growing in his ears. We’d been fighting this particular ear infection for two months with different solutions and nothing was working, so the did a swab and create a special formula to battle the specific bacteria growing in Misiu’s ears.

The swab came back over three plus (three is the worst infection) for three different bacteria, one was ecoli. For two hundred dollars the vet mixed up a special solution that caused Misiu to cringe as I massaged his raw infected ears. Three weeks later there was no improvement and I was reading information on the internet about ear infections invading the brain causing meningitis and how dogs shook their heads so hard they caused aneurysms from ear infections.

Misiu was only four years old.

One day I got an email from a friend who breeds water loving springer spaniels in England and he gave me a recipe for an ear treatment. There were only three affordable ingredients, but the first one made me cringe: seventy percent isopropyl alcohol. I was suppose to pour alcohol into his red, raw ears? Really?

Boric acid and gentian violet make up the other two ingredients. Boric acid is an astringent and it soothes the pain, while gentian violet battles the yeast and bacteria that has made the ear it’s warm damp home. The alcohol dries it all out creating an uninhabitable environment for the bacteria.

I was able to purchase the necessary materials from Shopper’s Drug Mart for less than $10 and headed home with my squeeze bottle to try out the new ear treatment. I mixed up 750 ml of 70% isopropyl alcohol + 4 tablepoons of boric acid + 10 drops of gentian violet = Blue Powder Ear Treatment

Since Misiu’s ears where so horribly infected I was told to flood the ears with solution (don’t massage) and leave the dog alone. DO THIS OUTSIDE. The gentian violet dyes everything purple. Your dog’s ears will be purple as well as anything else that the solution touches. Your skin, furniture, concrete, floor and I mean everything.

After only three days of flooding his ears twice a day I noticed they looked less angry. Less red and much less stinky. On the fourth day I flooded his ears and then used a paper towel to gently wipe out some of the gook.

After a week his ears looked a healthy pink (and purple!). I used Q-tips dipped in solution to clean out the bottom of his ears. I continued the treatment for another week to make sure the infection was gone. For the first time in months my boy was finally comfortable.

I used the Blue Powder Ear Treatment once a month as preventative therapy and would give him a squirt whenever he spent a day in the water or if I smelled a hint of infection.

After the first few days Misiu didn’t seem to mind the solution. He cried with the vet solution, but the blue solution was soothing.

Misiu doesn’t realize it, but he has helped so many dogs with this experience. Thanks to Misiu (his mini-me) Gizmo gets quick treatment for his chronic ear infections. Misiu and Gizmo share many traits: the love of food, napping, cuddling, allergies and chronic ear infections.

I’m sure Gizmo would give Misiu a big cuddle of thanks for finding the cure to any ear infection.