News for Pets Prone to Ear Infections
'old-fashioned' treatment for common problem
be less likely to
prescribe antibiotics and surgery to treat chronic ear infections,
thanks to pioneering work carried out at the Ontario Veterinary College
with support from OVC Pet Trust.
Otis externa — the
infection of the outer ear canal — is a very common problem in dogs
that can make up 15 to 20% of the caseload at a typical veterinary
“It is a huge
problem,” said Dr. Jan
Hall, a professor in the Department of Clinical Studies and dermatology
specialist at the OVC Teaching Hospital. “It causes a lot of pain and
discomfort for the patient and can be a source of tremendous
frustration for owners and veterinarians because it is sometimes very
difficult to treat.”
pet owners and
veterinarians will opt for a “quick fix” of antibiotics without first
determining the underlying cause. Trouble is, the drugs don’t always
work and in stubborn cases, the veterinarian may try a variety of
topical and oral antibiotics that in the end only make matters worse,
by encouraging the growth of antibiotic-resistant organisms.
“We went back to
basics and discovered that the basics work very well,” said Hall.
The “basics” are a
variety of simple
medical treatments including treating the ears with a mixture of 2%
Burow’s solution and 1% hydrocortisone in propylene glycol (BHC) drops.
was invented in the
mid-1800s and used quite effectively in treating ear problems before
falling out of favour in the age of modern pharmaceuticals.
Over the past two
years, OVC Pet
Trust has supported a series of studies to re-evaluate the efficacy of
Burow’s solution and compare it to commonly used antibiotics.
Hall is also
nearing completion of a
study evaluating new treatments for Cocker spaniels with “end stage”
ear disease: the point where surgery — involving removal of the
infected ear canal — has traditionally been the only option.
“Our philosophy has
been to encourage the ear to look after itself and we’ve been very
encouraged by the results,” said Hall.
Investing in Discovery
OVC Pet Trust funds vital programs that enhance the health and
well-being of companion animals, such as:
- Exploring common health problems
- Developing new therapeutic,
diagnostic and surgical techniques
- Studying the human-animal bond
and animal behaviour
Trust funds are distributed annually through two-stage scientific
review process. Faculty members from OVC submit proposals for projects
with direct relation to companion animal health. CLICK HERE for a summary of
some of their current projects.
FOR MORE INFO:
519.824.4120 ext. 54431
OVC Pet Trust
c/o Alumni House
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
Prick Up Your Ears
ear canal is great for hearing but bad for trapping moisture, parasites
and wax that can trigger ear infections.
breeds of dogs such as
spaniels and hounds are the most prone to ear problems. The thickness
of the wall of the ear canal is also thought to be a factor in other
breeds such as the Sharpei and bulldogs, whose thicker ears seem to
make them more susceptible.
yeast and bacterial
infections are the most common causes of ear problems in dogs while ear
mites are the most likely source of infection in cats.
Signs of infection: the pet is
repeatedly scratching or rubbing its ears; shaking or holding its head
to one side; yellow, brown or black discharge from one or both ears;
ears smell bad or are red and tender.