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Dr. KB
Dr. KB, Dog Veterinarian
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How to treat or cure ruptured eardrum in dogs

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Black Lab has two ruptured ear drum and inner ear infection would like to know best way or other treatment options.

you need to go to the vet and get an ear swab and determine if it's bacteria, yeast. then they can give the appropriate medicines. if the ear drum is truly punctured, then there is a limited amount of things you can put into the ear without harming the inner ear.

also, if the infection goes into the inner ear you can get neurological signs such as falling over, head tilt, etc.

I'd get it checked as soon as possible.

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
I have already done this. The vet gave me an ointment for bacterial and yeast infections. But my vet told me there is no cure and some dogs just have this problem their whole lives. What I want to know is, is there anything else I can do. I would like to try a natural approach but I'm not sure what is safe to put in her ears. I don't want to harm the inner ear. I know of three things that will kill and cure the infection but I'm unsure if you can use them when the ear drum in ruptured. They are called cell power, ear oil, and colloidal silver. I guess my main question is does a ruptured ear drum heal, and what else beside putting ointment in the dogs ear can be done???

some dogs do have chronic ear infections and oftentimes this is a food sensitivity so you may want to do a hypoallergenic diet. for a ruptured drum i would not put anything down in the ear unless the vet recommended it. the drum should heal over time. if you put anything down into the ear and the drum is ruptured you risk causing the dog to go deaf.

if you want a holistic approach i'd try and find a holistic vet. you can also ask to be referred to a dermatologist as they handle ear infections. Below is a list of holistic vets:

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Relist: I prefer a second opinion.
I've taken my black lab to the vet for chronic ear problems. The vet now thinks she has an inner ear infection and two ruptured eardrums. I have taken corn out of her diet. The vet gave me an ointment to put in her ears to help with swelling, and bacteria. I want to know what else can be done to help her heal completely. And if the ointment doesn't work what would the next step be to solving her chronic ear infection?

Is your dog exhibiting any neurological problems such as head tilt or are his eyes oscillating back and forth, loss of balance, etc? these are typical signs of inner ear infection.

I usually treat these dogs with steroids, systemic antibiotics such as antirobe (clindamycin), and anti inflammatory in the ear along with antibacterials/antifungals as appropriate.

eliminating corn is not a hypoallergenic diet unless your dog has been shown to be allergic to it. they can be allergic to chicken, beef, etc. I'd try Hill's ZD ultra or Royal Canin HP. there is also IVD venison and potato or fish and potato and feed the diet exclusively for 4-6 weeks before a challenge is done. Dogs usually are sensitive to the protein in the diet and not necessarily the carbohydrate source.

As before, you can always ask to be referred to a dermatologist in your area by your regular vet.

Your vet can also submit a sample of ear contents for a culture and sensitivity to see if the antibiotic youre using is appropriate for that bacteria seen on smear.
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.
My dog does tilt her head and shake it alot. The vet said that was normal with an inner ear infection or ear infection in general. I haven't seen her eyes oscillating back and forth and she doesn't have any loss of balance. As for the food I have her on a Lamb, rice and veg. diet. Before I started her on this she used to itch her toes alot. Now that she is on this diet, I've only had problems with her ears. But she does have low thyroid and just in the last 3 months started taking medication for this. The current medication the vet gave me to put in her ear is Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution with Hydrocortisone. The vet said this should get rid of the infection but that she will probably always have ear problems and that there is no real cure except for expensive surgery. I want to know if this is true or not? I want to know if the vet should have put her to sleep and done a medicated ear wash on her? All my vet did was look in her ear with one of those magnified scope things and then clean them with a q-tip and give her a shot of antibiotics. I live in a very rural area and taking your animal to another vet for a second opion involves driving 40 to 200 miles. I just want to know from another vet if my vet is really doing all she can to help cure my dog.

I am not familiar with that medication but I did look it up and it seems to have all the ingredients most ear medications have. What did the vet say was exactly in the ear canal? If a swab was not done and the causative agent identified then I would have that done. Additionally, a culture sent off would be a good idea, albeit more expense for you.

Usually otitis can be allergy mediated as I've stated before. It is good that she is no longer itching and biting her feet, but she is still exhibiting otitis which may certainly be linked to allergies and/or her diet. I would definitely do a food trial with Z/D ultra from hill's or the royal canin or IVD restricted protein diet (kangaroo, venison, duck, etc.) Be aware that if you do this trial, that you can feed the dog NOTHING ELSE as the diet is designed to restrict proteins to see if the dog is sensitive to them.

I have not examined your dog's ears as your vet has but can tell you that usually you can see the ear drum unless there is extreme swelling which sometimes is present. Head tilt from itchy ears is not what I was referring to with an inner ear infection. Usually you have loss of balance, falling to the affected side, and oscillation of the eyes from the balance problems. What you describe does not sound like inner ear to me.

I cannot speak on sedation and flushing but we routinelly do it where I practice. We have an auriflush which I like; not sure if your vet is set up to do this.

Surgery is an option with chronic non-responsive otitis. The dog is deaf but free of the pain and inflammation that comes with ear infections.

Did the vet give a steroid shot or antibiotic shot?

To recap, I'd do an ear swab if not already done and +/- a culture of ear contents, and definitely do a 4-6 week food trial with the diets listed (organic is NOT hypoallergenic).

**I did not examine your dog and am not second guessing his/her treatment plan, just letting you know how I would treat what you describe**

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Could you tell me more information on the foods that you recommended. Well mainly the IVD restricted protein diet, I've never heard of this. Do you have to buy these from a vet?   If she does have allergies with her food would this clear up her ear problems? I was thought that her ear problems were mainly from her low thyroid problem. The vet gave her and antibiotic shot. And no the vet did not find the causative agent or send off a culture. The vet did look at a sample on a slid to rule out mites, which she didn't think was the problem. I would like to do all I can to keep my dog from having surgery but I don't want her to sufer and be in pain either.

The IVD restricted protein diet just provides a new source of protein like duck or venison or kangaroo that the animal has not seen before, and thus, won't make a reaction against. The Z/D ultra just processes the protein molecule down so far that the body doesn't react against it. All dogs but one I have put on Z/D have done great on it. Royal Canin is usually at petsmart and you can get it with a script. Some vets carry IVD. I'd check around and see if anyone in your area or your vet carries it.

I'd ask her when she was doing a mite check if she smeared out and looked for yeast and bacteria; most likely she did. A culture would be something to do if the ear meds you are on did not work.

Ear infections can certainly be more frequent if the thyroid is low. You may see improvement after the thyroid is regulated and not need a diet. I always try and do the diet if I have chronic otitis that does not clear with treatment (after I have fixed or rule out endocrine problems such as hypothyroidism).

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Customer: replied 10 years ago.
What else besides the ear infection would I look for to tell if my dog is not doing good on the new diet? Also wondering if chewing is a sign of pain do to the ear infection. My lab chews on everything.
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Just wanted to let fixnpets know that I thank you for all the information. I'm sorry I have not responded I've been out of town. I took my dog back to the vet. She is doing better. Vet did a culture, we changed her diet to the Z/D allergy free dog food. Again sorry it took me so long to accept your answer and thank you.