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Hello, this is Dr. Jess. I am sorry to hear about your dogs! Where is the infection that they are being treated for? Has your vet sent out a culture yet?
I am very sorry to hear about that... ear infections can become very frustrating. A few more questions for you:
Did they identify the actual bacteria? Rods is just a shape of bacteria but there are many different rods- just trying to determine if they just did cytology (a swab done in house that identifies if bacteria/yeast are present and the shape) versus a culture which is sent out to the lab, normally more expensive (usually $150 plus) and identifies the exact bacterial organism as well as the different antibiotics that it is sensitive to and the degree of sensitivity.
Have they been put on prednisone to help with the pain?
Sure, you can do that. Depending on the time I may or may not be online right then, but the result will come through to me and I can reply when I am next online!
The thing I wonder is if your dogs could have a bacteria called pseudomonas, which can be very difficult to treat. Usually requires an oral antibiotic like baytril or zeniquin if those are susceptible on the culture, as well as special ear washes. I am attaching a link to an article on ear disease in dogs FYI which includes a section on pseudomonas: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=632
Ok, thank you for the information.
Unfortunately, since the cultures were done 4 months ago, truly they will need to be repeated before starting therapy, but it does look like pseudomonas was part of the problem. You can read a little more about that in the article I linked earlier. Since this has been such an ongoing issue and you have already spent significant money on this, I would consider asking your vet if a referral to a dermatologist would be appropriate. Often a specialist such as this has much more experience with this more resistant infections and can more quickly determine the best test and medicine to treat it (and may have access to more medicines than your regular vet carries), so it may seem like more money upfront (a visit with a specialist is more expensive than a visit at a regular vet), but in the long run you may spend less money because the problem may be solved faster. unfortunately some dogs have chronic ear infections because we can't every get hte infection completely gone, or there can be an underlying allergy issue that is causing it.
Often in pseudomonas, we need to treat long term (months) and we often use an oral antibiotic (like baytril if the culture says it is sensitive) along with a special ear flush. I have used one we make up called Triz EDTA with Baytril added to the solution. Your vet may be able to mix this up for you, or order what they need to make it up. I am attaching a link to an article (Actually for vets) that talks about ear disease that includes the recipe for this flush: https://ams.aaha.org/eweb/images/AAHAnet/phoenix2009proceedings/pdfs/01_scientific/038_TEN%20WAYS%20TO%20MAXIMIZE%20TH.pdf.
Steroids can also be useful to decrease the pain and inflammation for these dogs. And in severe cases, where the canal has been inflammed for so long that it can't really be cleaned or medicated, sometimes the kindest thing is to do surgery to remove the ear canal (called a TECA or total ear canal ablation).
Please let me know if my response came through to you yesterday and if you have additional questions.