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Any vets on line please?

(31 Posts)
mckenzie Sun 12-Jul-15 09:04:26

Our Tibetan terrier first went to the vets at about 4 months as he was shaking his head and scratching his ear. Vet looked inside, said it was very sore, puppy howled in pain; the vet said he couldn't see if anything was inside but because of the puppy being in so much distress he'd sedate him, check inside and clean the ears. Nothing was found, we had drops to give and it cleared up.
In the last five months we'd had two more incidents of excessive scratching, more ear drops and a puppy who will not tolerate anyone going near his ears without him getting distressed.
We now have another incidence of very excessive scratching, some crying at night so back to the vet, different vet, different approach and this vet was able to calm him enough to look inside with just his hands but couldn't risk putting an implement in the ear as he was too distressed and fighting us.
More sedation, nothing found but the dog is still scratching.

I've been putting aloe Vera gel around the inside of the ear.
Suggestions from here have been coconut oil and apple cider vinegar.
Vet suggested it might be habitual or perhaps we need a referral. (I didn't think to ask to who blush)

At the time of the first incidence, we were still undecided what type of pet insurance to take out. We do now have insurance but of course we are not covered for ear issues or skin conditions for 2 years so if we can self treat that would be preferable.
Our current vet us lovely but he is very young so I'm wondering if someone on here with more experience might be able to make a suggestion.

In between the vet appointments, I've spent time daily building up his acceptance of his ears being touched and I can now wipe them with a cloth and just about get drops in but he does still get worked up.
They don't look red inside to me.

I'd really appreciate any advice.

mckenzie Sun 12-Jul-15 09:10:46

I've just taken photos of his ears and I was wrong. The left one is pink but the right one is red and sore. sad

negrilbaby Sun 12-Jul-15 09:55:01

This is supposed to work - Thornit ear powder.
The reviews on Amazon seem very positive.

dotdotdot3 Sun 12-Jul-15 10:39:39

Before buying Thornit, I'd read the one star reviews if I were you. It doesn't sound like a product for an animal with severe problems and you risk making the problem much worse. I wouldn't use it.

I think you're going to have to go down the veterinary route - your dog sounds like he is really suffering and while home remedies can occasionally work, they are no substitute for proper care when the dog is in pain and distressed.

mckenzie Sun 12-Jul-15 14:55:13

Thanks for both the replies.
The vet didn't really have any other treatment ideas though dotdotdot3. His suggestions were both made with a real "I don't know what else to suggest so maybe try this" attitude.
The aloe Vera gel does seem to be working. They are less red already and the dog has happily eaten, played in the garden, been to training and slept.
I'm not putting the gel right in the ear canal, just on the outer ear that I can see is red.

villainousbroodmare Sun 12-Jul-15 17:02:44

If you dog still has any of the following:
persistent head-shaking
persistent scratching
red/ sore/ smelly ear, then he needs a referral to another more specialist veterinary surgeon, possibly to a dermatologist. I would suggest examining the ears under sedation or general anaesthetic is the only way forward.
Applying aloe vera to the ear flap may have soem local soothing effect at best but will certainly not sort out anything serious.
Strict adherence to follow-up treatment is imperative and since so many dogs find having their ears medicated almost unbearable, hospitalising an animal for a few days in order to get treatment off to a good start is not unheard of.

villainousbroodmare Sun 12-Jul-15 17:03:52

Do not under any circumstances put coconut oil or vinegar into your dog's ears.

schloss Sun 12-Jul-15 17:17:47

Thornit is a very good product which is used widely within the dog world, it is even suggested by many vets to use. Access the original thornit website rather than Amazon.

Your vet should stop doing the same thing over and over again if they cannot find anything, not surprising the poor dog will not allow anyone near its ears.

As it is only a single ear it tends to suggest it is not an allergy caused by food etc. it is the middle of grass seed season at the moment which can go down into a dogs ears and cause the problems you are experiencing however I sometimes see it with one of my dogs, after a walk they scratch one ear,normally having rolled in grass and stinging nettles. Just like us the nettles itch, hence they shake their head and scratch. Thornit has a mild anaesthetic affect of the ear and I find once used the dog stops scratching and shaking its head.

As to the insurance, the vet has found nothing wrong with the dogs ears so this should not stop insurance covering any ear conditions in the future.

A referral maybe a good idea but personally I would get through the summer and see if things improv over the winter. If the ears smell or have a discharge them do not ignore it. If just red try thornit, and as other posters have said not aloe Vera or cider vinegar.


mckenzie Sun 12-Jul-15 20:14:59

Thanks very much for the extra replies.
Because he's my first dog I don't really know anymore what a normal amount of scratching would be confused
He's not shaking his head from side to side and he's much more relaxed about me touching it now. I'm not sure he'd let the vet anywhere near it though.
I'll order the Thornit and keep a close eye on it. If, like today, he ran in the long grass, should I wipe his ears with a dry or damp cloth when we get home, to check nothing has gone into the ear?

SunshineAndShadows Sun 12-Jul-15 20:28:20

Please please do not put random stuff in your dogs inflamed ears. If the eardrum is ruptured you could cause serious damage. No idea what the active ingredient in Thornit is but 'canker' is not a diagnosis and ear mites are rare in dogs.

The skin in the ear canal is incredibly sensitive snd Tibetans are hairy little beasts so debris/wax is likely to build up in the canal. First of all you need to counter condition him to having his ears handled by giving him a delicious treat (hotdog, bit of cheese etc) and touching his ear gently. Gradually build this up so he associates ear handling with a reward.

His extreme response to having his ears handled suggests they are painful. Common causes include skin allergies (to pollen/dust mites or food) or a build up of ear wax. Skin allergies often affect the ear canals more severely than the 'outside' skin.

As a first course of action I'd start him in a hypoallergenic diet (duck and rice, or fish and potato) several brands are available.

Once you've desensitised him to having his ears handled you can start regular cleaning to remove wax build up. I'd recommend CleanAural an excellent and very gentle cleaner that is safe and removes wax brilliantly. Use it once or twice a week.

Ear problems usually require lifelong management rather than an easy fix but keeping the ears clean and reducing alkergens are likely to help

SunshineAndShadows Sun 12-Jul-15 20:39:46

Cross post OP. Thorn it contains zinc oxide and talcum powder - it's potentially dangerous if your dogs ear drum is perforated and useless against the majority of ear issues.

Tibetan terriers are very susceptible to allergic skin disease so please try the things I've suggested above and ask your vet about immunotherapy. A blood test will give info as to which alkergens may be triggering the problem and the appropriate medication/vaccine will help its a great opportunity to sort this whilst he's still young as chronic eat disease can become very difficult to manage.

These sites will give you further info

mckenzie Sun 12-Jul-15 21:19:42

Thank you SandS.
He is fed Salters for breakfast and raw food for dinner (Salters is hypoallergenic).
I've been doing as you say re building up to him being more relaxed around his ears. (Small and quick lift of the ear and fingers gently touching in exchange for treats). We had made great steps then he got this problem and now I feel like we've taken a huge leap backwards.
I'm going back to square on and hopefully will get back to him letting me do drops etc without stressing.

mckenzie Sun 12-Jul-15 21:21:07

Sorry, I meant to say I also have CleanAural but since he has got this poorly ear I've not been able to get any drops in.
I will try again now.

VetNurse Mon 13-Jul-15 08:35:45

The cause of a lot of ear problems is allergies. My dog had one sore ear and was seen my a dermatologist. I was advised to put her on a salmon and potato diet and was given ear cleaner. It soon cleared up and she is now fine. I doubt insurance would cover it as although they haven't got a diagnosis, there has been a ear issue. Hope you get it sorted and please don't put random stuff down your dogs ear.

SunshineAndShadows Mon 13-Jul-15 10:10:57

Hi OP it looks like Saters is a chicken and rice based food, both of which whikst easily digestible are common alkergens in dogs. It would be better to switch to a novel protein source like a salmon, venison or duck based diet. You also need to rule out external allergens like pollen, dust mites etc and allergy testing via a blood sample can help with this

mckenzie Mon 13-Jul-15 11:05:35

I will switch to Fish4Dogs (salmon and potato) but keep with the raw food yes?
The raw is a selection of chicken, lamb, beef and pork (mixed with veg). Should they be ok?

I've called the Vets and they are going to call back re blood tests.

VetNurse Mon 13-Jul-15 11:49:52

A lot of dogs are allergic to chicken. You are probably better off just sticking to one protein source and seeing if it makes a difference.

mckenzie Mon 13-Jul-15 12:00:27

I've just realised how daft my question must have sounded! Chicken is chicken isn't it?
So, I'll put him just on the salmon and see what happens yes?

The vets just called back. He's advised against the blood test as it's expensive (£400) and he thinks the results can sometimes be misleading. Better to just change the diet and see what happens and then if the ear problem clears up reintroduce one protein at a time.
Fingers crossed.

horseygeorgie Mon 13-Jul-15 12:09:23

Vet. You need to get this sorted properly and it is NOT normal. I'm surprised they don't want to do an endoscope. TBH I think this sounds like a problem with a medical reason and would think that while changing diet MAY make a difference, it needs to be done in conjunction with proper vet care, not instead of because you can't afford it.

SunshineAndShadows Mon 13-Jul-15 13:09:04

OP Your dogis likely to have a lifetime of pain from ear problems if this is not sorted - What is your vets recommended treatment plan? Because from your posts they've performed two ear flushes under sedation which have achieved precisely nothing. What do they suggest now? Allergy testing is accurate. Intradermal skin testing is the gold standard but serum allergy testing works for many dogs.

Hypoallergenic food will only work if your dog has a food allergy. If he has a dust mite or pollen allergy it won't You need to find out what is triggering the problem. 400 quid is quite a bit of money but it's not a lot in terms of your dogs quality of life.

What is your vets alternative plan for managing this?

SistersofPercy Mon 13-Jul-15 14:29:44

I had a westie with duff ears, because of a combination of this and food intolerances he had frequent ear infections. I found the best way of keeping on top of it was the following:

Change to a hypoallergenic food. As has been said here it could make a heck of a difference. Bob went on to Canagan Salmon and that seemed to improve things within a month.
First signs of irritation I gave half a piriton to ease the itching.
I'd use a little cotton wool soaked with olive oil to gently clean the ear.
If Bob was lying on my knee at night I'd keep a pair of tweezers close by and pluck the hairs (he LOVED it). This also seemed to help.
The vet prescribed drops as well.

Fingers crossed you find the answer.

SunshineAndShadows Mon 13-Jul-15 14:35:25

Plucking hair is usually not recommended as it can open the skin up to infection. Regular cleaning should be enough

T1Inker Mon 13-Jul-15 14:48:42

Have a hairy beast with long furry ears also, my first thought is yeast infection. The ears are long and hairy and any moisture in the air, rain etc, gets trapped for a long time. Only way is a microscobic swab which my vet would do immediately without giving ad hoc opinions or medications without knowing the cause.

tabulahrasa Mon 13-Jul-15 14:49:21

The thing is that if it is a food allergy, switching foods randomly may not get rid of the allergen because it could be anything.

Really you'd want to do a proper exclusion diet...which is not exactly hassle free.

And, as already mentioned allergies don't limit themselves to food...and the vet hasn't actually ruled out other causes yet either.

I'd be hassling the vet for further investigation/referral to a specialist if it was me.

SistersofPercy Mon 13-Jul-15 15:01:12

Plucking hair is usually not recommended as it can open the skin up to infection
Really? My vet always recommended that and infections did lesson when we started the routine.
Not something I do now though as current DDog has lovely ears.

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