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Common Complaints

Dog Sore Ear

Pet Ear Care

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Of all the reasons a cat or dog requires a visit to the Veterinary Surgery, an ear problem is among the most common. Their deep, curved ear canalsNormal Canine ear make it difficult for air to get in and moisture to get out and moisture retained in the ear after swimming or bathing can often lead to infections. Spring and summer when it is hot and particularly when it is humid is the worst time of the year for ear infections. Not only are ear infections likely to occur but quite often they are difficult to cure. Bacterial infections, fungal infections, ear mites and foreign bodies such as grass seeds are the most common causes of ear infections.

Ten Important signs of Ear problems

It is important to know what early signs might indicate an infection so treatment can be started.

  1. Odour – bad odour coming from the ears
  2. Scratching at the ears
  3. Excessive discharge (usually yellow, brown or black)
  4. Inflammation – redness of the ear flap or canal
  5. Shaking the head or ears
  6. Obvious pain when touched around the head or ears
  7. Head tilted to one side or held down
  8. Stumbling or circling to one side
  9. Lethargy or depression
  10. Marked swelling of the ear flaps

If your dog or cat is showing any of these signs then a visit to the veterinarian is necessary, as there is a high likelihood an ear problem is present.

WHAT CAN YOU DO

The best way to prevent ear problems is to establish a regular ear care program aimed at preventing such problems from developing.

  1. Keep ears dry.  Ears should be dried thoroughly after bathing or swimming.
  2. Cleaning. A regular ear clean following your dog’s bath using an alcohol-based ear cleaning solution such as Epi-Otic or Bayer Ear Cleaning solution will remove any dirt or wax buildup that may encourage infections. All of these cleaners are readily available over the counter at the surgery without consultation.
  3. Clipping/Plucking. It is important to clip or pluck the hair from around the ear canal. Dogs that do not shed hair such as Poodles, Schnauzers, Bichons, Labradoodles, Spoodles etc. often need to have hair plucked from the canals. This allows better air flow into the canal and prevents wax from being trapped thus reducing the chance an infection will develop.
  4. Controlling skin disease. Many ear infections are simply a continuation of a generalized skin condition such as bacterial or fungal infection. When this happens it is impossible to treat the ear infection without controlling the skin disease.

Wandering Jew and Canine Allergic Dermatitis (Dogs)

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Tradescantia sp, commonly known as the Spiderworts, and even more frequently called “Wandering Jew”. Is an extremely common cause of contact allergies in our doggy friends. This plant is extremely common in the Queensland backyard, often accepted as a ground cover plant in some gardens. Here is a range of pictures of various subspecies and their flowers. As you can see the species can have many forms.

Wandering Jew is a common cause of contact allergies in dogs. The problem normally affects the underbelly, armpits and groin of the dog, as well as ears and face. Starting as pustules surrounded by red skin which the dog will self-traumatize – occassionally leading the bleeding and raw skin.

In the past few weeks I have seen at least 6 cases of confirmed allergy to this plant. The best recommendation I can give is to remove the plant from the garden. Failing that prevent their dog accessing the plant.

From the DPI QLD website. http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/dpi/hs.xsl/4790_7385_ENA_HTML.htm

In a recent review of this article I was able to identify another species of plant that may be incorrectly identified as Wandering Jew and is probably more common in south east Queensland.   This plant is not considered a noxious weed however does seem very good at proliferating in sunny areas.

I am still unsure as to whether this species is also allergenic but I suspect it might be. The plant has small hairs on the main stems that could plausibly cause allergic reaction in dogs.

General information

A native of South America, wandering jew (Tradescantia fluminernsis), also called Trad, is a fleshy-leaved creeping plant that grows as a ground cover.

A good, non-invasive native alternative to wandering jew is scurvy grass (Commelina diffusa).

Wandering jew is not a declared plant under Queensland legislation, however its control is recommended.

Scientific name Tradescantia fluminernsis
Impacts
  • out-competes native vegetation along streams and gullies
  • smothers ground by sending out roots at each nodal point
Description
  • green shiny leaves with parallel veins covered with small hairs
  • small white three-petalled flowers produced mainly in spring
  • stems and leaves are weak and easily broken
Habitat and distribution
  • establishes as thick carpet-like groundcover in moist, shady areas
  • considered a major environmental weed in subtropical and temperate rainforests
Control
  • hand weeding to remove whole plant including roots and nodes is effective but labour intensive
  • herbicides effective
  • see the wandering jew fact sheet for more information
Declaration details
  • not a declared plant under Queensland legislation but may be declared under local government law

 

Based on this information and the fact that it causes problems for our canine companions I think it should be removed from gardens. To remove it your best bet is a good metal rake. “Rinse and repeat fortnightly as they say” Herbicides are not effective not to mention unhealthy.


Treatment

Treatments depends on the severity of the case. Mild cases may just need a bath to wash away the allergens. Moderate cases may need an injection of cortisone to relieve the allergic reaction. Severe ongoing cases may need more intestive therapy with antibiotics, pain relief and anti- inflammatories.

Call us on 33571588 for more information