Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Caring for sensitive ears

Last year, our 13-year-old dog developed an ear infection from ear mites, poor thing. So our vet prescribed two kinds of ear drops for him, applied two times a day.

Dexoryl is a broad-spectrum anti-bacterial and anti-fungal preparation which can kill ear mites too. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which helped relieve his pain. I don't remember now how long we had to apply it, but we were instructed to stop as soon as the vet gave the all-clear.

The second item, Epi-Otic, is a general skin and ear cleanser. Its active ingredients are only lactic acid and salicylic acid. It's good for cleaning moist, waxy and stinky ears (watch out for stink—it's always a sign that something's wrong), and the literature says it also helps remove dead tissue from the skin. This one, we have not stopped using, but since it's for care and maintenance rather than treatment, we only have to apply it twice a week. I also put a few drops on a cotton swab for cleaning his ears.

Our vet says that pet cats and dogs are really prone to ear infections so we have to pay special attention to them. One instruction she gave to help avoid future infections, and which I follow religiously, is very simple: put cotton balls inside his ears when bathing him. As much as possible, water should not be allowed to get inside the ears. Bacteria and fungi thrive in moist environments, which is what happens when water gets in.

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