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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16715
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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We just got a rescue dog ( ) and found she has a bad ear, it

Customer Question

We just got a rescue dog ( King Charles ) and found she has a bad ear, it is brown goopy inside and has a bad odor. WE have a vet apt in a week to get her checked out and shots, what can we do for her ears now. Can I use a weak solution of viniger and water to clean her ears, should I be putting anything in the canal?
Thanks so much for your help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that your new pup Dustee may have an ear infection.

Of course the ideal situation is to see her veterinarian and have her ear debris tested to see what sort of infection she has to get her on the right medication, but I understand that may not be possible for a few days.

In the meantime there are some things that we can do to help her feel more comfortable.

Since most ear infections are secondary to allergies and the inflammation they cause you can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with those. In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone.

You can try:

1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with decongestants or acetaminophen as they can be toxic) at a dose of 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight or one 25mg capsule per 15 to 25 pounds of body weight orally every 8 hours.

OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at a dose of 5mg per 25 pounds of body weight once or twice daily.

OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 1mg per pound of body weight orally every 8 hours.

OR 4) Chlorpheniramine at a dose of 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.

OR 5) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at a dose of 1/2 mg per pound of body weight orally every 24 hours. That would be one 10mg tablet per 20 pounds of body weight. Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because dogs cannot tolerate decongestants.

Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another. Give the one you pick 5 days and if it isn't working try another. Be aware that antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some dogs. These side effects do wear off with repeated use.

Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil products. 3V by DVM or Derm Caps ES are good brand name products. Use the high end of the dosing schedule for your pup's weight. I recommend an omega 3 fatty acid dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give her 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 18 pound dog could take 360mg of EPA per day.

I also recommend using a gentle ear cleaner like Oticlens, available at many pet stores, daily now to remove as much of the waxy debris as possible. This removes excess wax and keeps the ear pH at levels that discourage infections. When the ear is sore many dogs won't let you squirt things in their ear but if you soak a cotton ball with the cleaner, then place it at the top of the ear canal and massage the ear from the outside, putting pressure on the soaked cotton ball, the cleaner will be instilled easily. Wipe out excess cleaner and waxy debris with dry cotton balls.

Once you have her infection treated and cleared use the cleaner twice a week as that helps prevent infections and also allows you to know what a normal ear looks like and catch ear infections very early.

Sometimes with an early infection simply cleaning the ear daily and using antihistamines to reduce itchiness/irritation is enough to stop it in its tracks.

If her ear skin surface is very red after cleaning you can apply a light coat of cortisone cream (like cortaid) to the ear skin with a cotton ball.

Do not clean her ear the day of her veterinary appointment so they can gather a sample of the wax for testing.

Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.