Monday, July 30, 2012

Ear Infections

Hot summer weather seems to contribute to ear problems in many canine breeds.  Dogs with long hanging ears seem to have the most problems.  Mastiffs can get chronic ear infections from mites (they start scratching and it gets infected), swimming in ponds, rivers, or lakes, or sometimes just old age.

First step--get them to a vet--a good exam is key for treatment.  If they have mites--treat them for Mites. In order for the ears to heal--you have to treat the underlying problem.  If they are infected, antibiotics is also a good start.

Get a good ear bulb syringe and mix up some warm soapy water and flush out the ears at least every other day. You need to get the old  debris out of the ear.   Peroxide will destroy new skin and healing tissue--so do not use per oxide. If they are badly infected, your dog may not be able to tolerate this step--if not, wait for the ears to heal some (usually about 2 days),  and then begin the flushing.

If the ears remain moist and "yeasty" smelling--they may need a drying agent to help them heal.  I use the "blue power ear wash"--a home remedy used by lots of dog breeders.  Other than the temporary blue discoloration ( and it will stain your clothes  and furniture--(so, keep your dog outside for a few minutes and crate him inside to keep him off the furniture!!) it will help heal  and resolve the worst of ear infections in most dogs.

 Mix it up and keep some on hand--use it as soon as you notice any ear infection  problems.  The recipe is very simple--all the ingredients can be bought at any drug store.

Blue Power Ear Wash


16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol 
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder 
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1% 

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well. 

Please shake this solution every time you use it to mix the Boric Acid Powder. Either a baby ear syringe or a plastic squirt bottle work well for putting the solution in the ear. 


Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if the are inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Just flush and then wait until inflammation is gone, which will be about two days. Warm the solution and shake the bottle each time before using. The dogs will accept the treatment much better if you warm it up for them. 

Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle). 

Massage gently, wipe with 100% cotton pad. 

On first treatment: flood the ear twice, wipe with a pad, and leave alone without massage. 

The dog will shake out the excess, which can be wiped with a tissue. (Note: the Gentian Violet does stain fabrics so you're best to do this outdoors.) 

Treat 2x per day for the first week to two weeks, depending upon severity of ears. 

After the 2nd or 3rd day you can clean out the ear with a tissue or cotton pad. 

Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks. 
Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog).

I gave this "recipe" to my vet who uses it in office, and dispenses it to his clients.  It also works well to use as a "after swimming treatment" when your dogs go into the lake , river or pond--helps prevent  ear problems.

It's not very expensive, and is easy to mix, store and use. If you have a dog with a chronic ear problem--try it.

Catie C. Arney  KioKee  Mastiffs Hickory, NC