This is only an occasional
problem in dogs, but if your pet has this problem, they'll be miserable
Fly Strike is simply where biting flies have targeted your pet's ear
flaps. Perhaps because of a minor cut, wound, sunburn damage, or the
attracting smell of an ear infection. Once the flies start biting the
problem becomes a vicious cycle with the irritation, ooze, and dried
blood from the fly bite wounds attracting more flies. The pet then scratches
the ear flap causing further irritation and bleeding.
The Solution is also fairly simple:
Clean and treat the ear flaps. Your vet will prescribe a soothing and medicated ointment or cream or suggest using a "human" product that you may already have at home.
Stop the irritation and itch cycle. This usually means using antihistamines, short term prednisone (steroid), and maybe some pain medication (but not aspirin (prevents clotting) or
Tylenol (toxic to cats and not all that safe in dogs either))
Treat the underlying problem of ear mites, infection, etc if present.
AND GET RID OF THE FLIES. The best way is to move your pet inside or to a different area if possible. If not, then clean up the yard, the garbage, and the stools that attract fly populations. If that's not easily done, such as around barn yards, then use fly repellents twice daily on the ear flaps until they are well healed. Avon Skin So Soft Lotion or Oil works fairly well as do most of the pyrethrin based fly repellents made for horses.
If you don't know about Avon Skin So Soft, it's a brand of women's skin moisturizer that just happens to be a fairly good insect repellent for humans and pets. It seems to work well diluted about 1 part Avon SSS oil to 9 parts water or any brand of water based skin lotion. Or you can apply it full
strength, but then it's a little greasy. Or you can simply buy the Avon SSS Lotion ready to go.
At any rate, it's gentle, soothing, and effective on dog ears for repelling flies and other biting insects.
EAR WAX REMOVER
Try this home remedy to get the WAX out of your pet’s ears.
1/8 teaspoon lavender essential
¾ cup witch hazel
1 tablespoon powdered boric acid
¼ cup Aloe Vera juice.
Wet the ear canal with the mixture and massage the ear at the base.
Remove the excess liquid with a cotton ball.
Stand back while your pet shakes.
Clean both ears every other week or as needed when wax builds up.
HOME MADE EAR POWDER
Caroline Hair has been using this formula since she got her first Standard Poodle in 1959. It was given to her by a breeder of Cocker Spaniels - and she can honestly say she has NEVER had an ear infection in one of
her dogs. It is especially good at drying up the black gunk.
4 oz. zinc oxide powder
4 oz. boric acid powder
½ oz. Iodoform powder
Mix well. Keep in a sealed jar in a cool dry place.
Instructions on use
Place a large pinch of powder in each ear, and use your finger to work it down. Wait five or ten minutes (I cut toenails) then pluck the hair out of the ears, being sure to get all the way down. Allow the dog to shake, but leave the excess powder in the ears. Repeat monthly.
Treatment of an existing infection
Use as described for maintenance, then apply a fresh pinch of powder to each ear. Wait twenty-four hours, then use a dry q-tip to remove all the powder and the balls of dried gunk. Put a fresh pinch of powder in each ear. Repeat daily until the ears are no longer runny. At this point, repeat every other day, until there is no more runniness, then three times a week, then twice, then weekly, then every other week, etc. When the ears remain dry for three weeks, go to the monthly maintenance routine.
How it works
The reason this works so well is that the iodoform powder kills anaerobic bacteria and fungi which flourish in warm, moist, airless places, like the inside of a poodle's ear. The zinc oxide and boric acid keep the ear dry, which prevents further infections. In the days before antibiotics, Iodoform was frequently used in human medicine to pack puncture wounds where anaerobic bacteria also grow. It may be hard to find because it isn't used much any more.
(Swollen Ear Flaps)
This is a fairly common problem, especially in Retrievers. For reasons that aren't exactly clear (much like nose bleeds in humans), the blood vessels in the ear flaps rupture. This causes the space between the skin and the cartilage to fill up with clotted blood or serum.
Often, but not always, there are underlying ear infections, ear mites, excessive wax, foxtails, porcupine quills, or chronic allergies that help explain why there is more than normal vascular pressure and irritation. Frequent head shaking (due to itchy or painful ears) seems to be an underlying cause.
If left untreated, the ear will be painful and to different degrees is likely to scar up in what is referred to as a "cauliflower ear" or sometimes as a "boxer's ear" This refers to human boxers (fighters), not the K-9 type of Boxer.
Medical or Conservative Treatment
Medical Treatment often fails but there's not much harm in trying before going to surgery. Possible treatments your vet might try include:
Topical solvents like diluted DMSO that help draw out the fluid from under the skin. The DMSO is often mixed with antibiotics (gentocin) and steroids (dexamethasone). We vets are used to using this unapproved treatment quite successfully for snake bite swellings, but it doesn't seem to work all that great for ear hematomas.
Injecting cortisone directly into the ear flap works in a percentage of cases. The injection is usually repeated weekly for 1- 3 times til better. If not much improved
within a few weeks, then surgery is recommended. This treatment is often combined with oral prednisone for about 10 days.
Underlying ear infections, mites, etc, if present are treated at the same time. Also expect your vet to send home medications to ease the pain and irritation. Your vet may also consider putting your pet on acepromazine (tranquillisers) for a short period for two reasons: to stop your pet from shaking his head so violently giving the ears a rest...and because one of the mild side effects of this particular tranquillizer is to lower the blood pressure to the extremities (in this case the ear flaps) which helps the problem to resolve.
Exotic Treatments. There are some off beat treatments for ear hematomas out there they just might be legitimate, but I'm dubious. These include high tech and low tech stuff such as laser therapy and message therapy which share in common the goal of improving circulation health to the region and thereby allowing the clot and problem to resolve.
If medical treatment fails...or if the hematoma is too large to expect medical treatment to work well, your pet will need surgery.
There are quite a few different, and sometimes creative, techniques for this surgery, but all involve getting the clot out through slits or perforations, devising some sort of drainage, and suturing or tacking the ear flap skin down to the underlying cartilage until healing takes place. I usually leave the drains in place for 2-4 days and remove the sutures 10 days after that. I also treat these patients medically post surgery with antihistamines, short term prednisone, and Rimadyl in addition to treating any underlying ear infections etc.
Expect at least some scarring of the ear flap. but at least your pet will be comfortable again.
Also, don't be surprised if the other ear flap gets a hematoma within a year or so. This occurs about 5-10% of the time (I made this "statistic" up as an honest
guess so don't quote this as scientific fact).
By Roger Ross, DVM
LINKS TO OTHER ARTICLES
Treating them in a natural way, rather than with chemicals.
OF THE CANINE EAR CANAL
The ear has two main functions, that of hearing and of balance.....
THE DEAF DOG
This web page is intended to act as a resource for people living with deaf dogs.
EAR FULL OF AUDITORY ADVICE
reading by Dennis W. Thomas, DVM.
Canine peripheral vestibular syndrome.
A new approach to ear disease in dogs!
Excellent articles here from DermaPet!
IN DOGS & CATS
An extremely interesting article by Philip D. Mansfield.
NEW TREATMENT OF MALASSEZIA OTITIS EXTERNA IN DOGS
Complete with photos, by Louis N. Gotthelf, DVM and Steven E. Young, DVM
Well written, by Steven A Melman, VMD
A lesson about ear problems in dogs.
EAR PROBLEMS IN DOGS
From the Animal Pet Doctor site. Full of
TREATMENT FOR EAR MITES (PDF)
Fully explained, by William Pollak, DVM
Causes, symptoms, diagnosis,
treatment and prevention advice.
EAR DISEASES IN DOGS & CATS
In two parts, this is excellent reading! By David Holt BVSc, Diplomate ACVS
EXAMINING AND MEDICATING THE EARS OF A DOG
article complete with photographs & references.
EAR INFECTIONS & CONDITIONS
of Veterinary Questions & Answers.
CARE OF THE
DROP-EARED HAIRY DOG EAR
This is written for the Poodle, but is
excellent for all drop-eared breeds!
- SKIN ALLERGIES
Allergies, Fleas & Ticks, Mites (Mange), Causes of Skin Lesions, Ears,
Other External (outside the body), Parasites, Nails, Skin & Coat Disorders
DISEASES IN DOGS & CATS
Very informative & well
TO TAKE YOUR DOG'S EAR TEMPERATURE
The ear drum is considered to be a good indicator of body temperature
as it measures brain blood temperature
Causes, treatments etc.
LOUD AND CLEAR: HEARING AIDS FOR DOGS
Veterinarians and audiologist put their heads together and came up with a design.
EAR INFECTIONS: A COMMON PROBLEM WITH MANY CAUSES
What’s causing your dog’s ears to itch and swell? Everything from a dip in the pool
to flea infestation can lead to those pesky ear infections.
Did you know the most common cause of recurrent ear infections is allergic skin disease?
What do you do to keep the ear scratching and head shaking from becoming chronic?
Don't fall into the trap of looking at all of the symptoms...
links to view on our Diseases page.
INDICATIONS OF EAR PROBLEMS
From Wax, Hematoma, Otorrhea, Otitis Media & Mites
Great article from "Vet Talk"
TOTAL EAR CANAL ABLATION AND BULLA OSTEOTOMY
For dogs that have had long-standing ear infections and develop
irreversible damage to the ear canal.
INFECTIONS AND YOUR PETS
Battle Bacteria and Other Germs Before They Cause Infection
SURGICAL EAR DISEASES IN SMALL ANIMALS
Most often the problem begins in the portion of the ear outside the ear drum
THE AMAZING TRUTH ABOUT EARS
Ears infections cause great frustration for owners and pain or discomfort for animals.
Experts describe approaches using two DermaPet products,
TrizEDTA and the Ear/Skin cleanser
CULTURE & SENSITIVITY FOR EAR INFECTIONS
For diagnosing the organism/yeast & the best medications to fight it
THE CANINE EAR: A FOREIGN LAND
Unfamiliar with the anatomy or normal environment inside the ear,
dog owners often miss the signs of ear disease.
EXTERNAL RADICAL EAR SURGERY IN A DOG
Ear problems in dogs rank as the most frequent of all the “routine”
health problems seen by veterinarians on a daily basis
DOG EAR PROBLEMS: CANINE PERIPHERAL VESTIBULAR SYNDROME
The symptoms are dramatic and sudden and are often confused with stroke
or poisoning, even by some vets who may have had little experience with the illness.
NATURAL TREATMENT FOR EAR MITES
Homemade, natural, Ear mite treatment suggestions
A lesson about ear problems in dogs and cats from Companion Animal Dermatology
EAR'S TO YOU!
Head shaking, ear rubbing, pain, and an unpleasant odor —
your dog has all the symptoms of otitis externa
TUMORS OF THE EAR CANAL
Relatively uncommon compared with cutaneous tumors elsewhere on the body
EXAMINING AND MEDICATING THE EARS OF A DOG
Making it easy!
STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF THE EAR
Each ear is divided anatomically and functionally into regions called the
external (outside) ear, the middle ear and the inner ear.
OF THE CANINE EAR
There are a variety of causes of ear dermatitis, ranging from infections
to parasites to trauma.
EVALUATION CRITICAL IN CHOOSING OTITIS TREATMENT
When initial treatment fails
EAR DISEASE MYRIAD CAUSES
What causes ear disease in dogs and cats, and what are the best
approaches to diagnosis and treatment
NEW CONCEPTS IN EAR CLEANING TRIZEDTA (EDTA
Unique amongst the ear cleaning products currently available to veterinary surgeons.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF PRURITIC OTITIS
The differential diagnosis for pruritus is extensive and is dealt within
textbooks on dermatology.
SEVEN STEPS TO EAR THERAPY
The 7 steps to treating ear disease is a practical, clinical method to plug
into one of the most common clinical problems veterinarians face every day.
ROLE OF PSEUDOMONAS IN CANINE EAR DISEASE
Pseudomonas bacteria are an important cause of chronic otitis
externa and media in dogs.
HOW TO CLEAN A DOG'S EARS
Ear infections can be serious, and can begin easily if an animal's ears are not kept clean.
FOOD ALLERGIES: EAR PROBLEMS
Most (approx.80%) ear infections are caused by allergies, even if only one ear is involved.
HERBAL HELP FOR EAR INFECTIONS
Written by Randy Kidd, D.V.M.
OTITIS EXTERNA AND MEDIA
Diagnosis and management in the age of antibiotic resistance
Hematomas within the ear flaps (aural hematomas) occur when head shaking
breaks a blood vessel.
HEMATOMA OF THE EAR IN DOGS (AURAL HEMATOMA)
Read and learn before you need the information
HEARING PROBLEMS IN CATS AND DOGS
Why do cats and dogs ears so commonly encounter difficulties?
DISEASES OF THE EAR
Pictures to give you an up-close-and-personal look at the ear and diseases
DOGS EYE, EAR, AND THROAT
Identifying the problem
EAR DISORDERS IN DOGS AND CATS
From ear mites, hematoma, and middle & inner ear infections
EAR CARE & CLEANING
Ear cleaning basics procedures, tools & supplies ear and steps to go through
A number one problem among pets
EAR PROBLEMS IN DOGS
How do you know if your dog has an ear infection? What can you do at home to treat it
and when should you visit your vet?
HOW WELL DO DOGS AND OTHER ANIMALS HEAR?
Frequency hearing ranges in dogs and other species
ANATOMY OF THE CANINE EAR
Excellent details of the erect or floppy ear
EAR DISEASE IN DOGS AND CATS
We now have a better understanding of the causes and factors involved with ear disease.
Animals do not develop ear disease without an underlying cause.
HELPFUL TIPS FOR SKIN AND EARS
An article well worth reading for all drop-eared breeds
TREATING EAR PROBLEMS IN CATS, DOGS, AND OTHER PETS
From a treatment and frustration view point, there are 3 types of ear problems ...
CANINE VESTIBULAR DISEASE
Our on-line page of information
NATURAL TREATMENTS FOR EAR MITES
Some good information
ON DEAF EARS
Deaf pets can be difficult to manage. With the inability to hear their owners or to detect dangers
such as approaching motor vehicles, deaf dogs and cats need dedicated and caring owners.
ABNORMAL EAR DISCHARGE IN CATS AND DOGS
The ear canals are lined with glands that produce a greasy, waxy substance called ear wax or cerumen.
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