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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28554
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a german shepherd that is 4 years old. her right ear

Customer Question

I have a german shepherd that is 4 years old. her right ear is always drooping and she has been to the Vet a number of times. they give her an injection and some drops. The dog lets me clean her ears out and it comes out black. Is there a fluid that can clean this muck out?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Yes, there are a number of ear cleansers you can find over the counter in pet/agricultural merchant stores near you. It's important to have a diagnosis for her otitis externa (outer ear infection); in other words, is the infection due to parasites, hypersensitivities, endocrine disorders, keratinization disorders, autoimmune diseases, or conformation? Are the infectious agents primarily bacteria or yeast (Malassezia)?

For example "swimmers ear" can be irrigated with products containing astringents/alcohol. Allergic otitis ears containing black wax can be irrigated with products containing ceruminolytic (wax dissolving) products. Badly infected ears can be irrigated with water, saline, DSS diluted in warm water or saline and nontoxic ear cleaning products containing povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine (not if the ear drum is broken).

Considering the type of exudate you've mentioned, a ceruminolytic cleanser should be considered. Look for one containing calcium or sodium dioctyl sulfosuccinate (also called docusate calcium and docusate sodium). Triethanolamine polypeptide oleate condensate is another potent ceruminolytic. Carbamide peroxide is a slightly less potent ceruminolytic. Sodium lauryl ether sulfate is a detergent and surfactant that has foaming properties as well. Squalene is one of the few ceruminolytic ingredients that's safe to leave in the ear. Interestingly, it appears that in studies, once flushing or irritation is added, none of the ceruminolytics are significantly superior to saline. The studies of ceruminolytics included Physiological Ear Cleanser (Virbac) and Otoclean (Merck Animal Health). In other words, a bulb syringe and normal saline may be all you need to safely irrigate your dog's ear. If you prefer, however, take a look at the many dog ear cleaners available on Amazon: Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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