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Ear Infections Treatable at Home


Dr Goldberg:We have a nine-year-old, 75-pound lab/border collie cross which has a history of ear infections caused by yeast and bacteria from food allergies.

Dr Goldberg:We have a nine-year-old, 75-pound lab/border collie cross which has a history of ear infections caused by yeast and bacteria from food allergies. The vet told us to put her on a lamb and rice diet which seemed to cure the problem for many years.

In December she developed a stinky, itchy, red, dry, scabby ear with some discharge. The vet prescribed 14 days of Gentamicin and told us to change the food to venison. The ear is better now. A couple of months ago I started giving her one or two garlic pills a day hoping to prevent another infection and we have since changed her diet back to lamb and rice.

What can we do to prevent and treat her ear infections? Will a vinegar-water rinse help with this too?

There are many natural treatments for ear infections. You mentioned that your dog had an ear infection caused by a food allergy. Many of these infections disappear when an animal stops eating processed foods. In alive #219, I made recommendations for approximating a dog's natural diet.

Another cause of ear infections is airborne allergens. Bee pollen and propolis are natural remedies to help prevent and clear ear infections. For animals weighing up to 35 pounds, give them 250 milligrams twice daily (cut a 500 mg capsule in half), for an 85 pound animal give 500 milligrams twice a day. Giant breeds can tolerate 1,000 milligrams twice daily. Administer for 10 days and then give the propolis once daily for two weeks. This should help clear the infection. Adding grapefruit seed extract (a known yeast fighter), stinging nettle, echinacea tincture or other infection fighting herbs to food for five to seven days will help your dog build tolerance to any allergens.

Herbal Helpers
The following six herbs will help treat ear infections. All can be used in the 6C dosage and applied topically.

  • Hepar sulph--use if your dog's ear is very inflamed and sensitive to the touch.

  • Chamomila--when pain is extreme and the animal yelps on touching the ear.

  • Merc sol--used when the earflap and top of the ear canal have a red sore appearance.

  • Rhus tox--used primarily for chronic ear infections.

  • Arsenicum--good for watery discharges and restlessness, especially if the animal cannot sleep.

  • Kali bich--use when the surface of the ears are scabby.

  • Arnica--good for blood blisters on the earflap.

In answer to your question about a vinegar/water rinse, yes it will help. It's best to use cotton balls soaked in apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.

A herbal ear wash will also provide relief while treating an ear infection. To prepare an ear wash add tea tree oil and 10 drops of liquid grapefruit seed extract to one cup of brewed camomile, comfrey, plantain or calendula tea. Put the solution in an eye dropper or squeeze bottle and warm to body temperature. Gently squirt a drop of liquid into your dog's ear and hold flap shut before she can shake it out. Massage the skin and fur around the ear while holding ear up. Release her ear and let her shake out any excess solution. Use a cotton ball to gently wipe out the ear. Wipe excess from her head and neck.

Other essential oils that help treat ear infections are garlic, lavender and rosemary.

Address letters to The Pet Vet, 7436 Fraser Park Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5J 5B9.



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