Diagnosing and Treating Ear Infections in Labradors

Ear infections are very common in large dogs, especially in Labradors due to the size and shapes of their ears. The lab’s long ears fold over to protect their ear canal causing a warm, moist climate, perfect for any organism to flourish in, and therefore, leading to infection. Because hearing is crucial for labs for survival and security it is important to be diligent when it comes to recognizing a potential ear infection.

Ear infections are easy to detect. It is a good idea to visit your vet the first time you suspect a problem. Your dog may continually attempt to scratch their ear, or shake their heads violently in an attempt to ease the discomfort an infection can cause. There may be a foul odor, wax build up or a brown or yellowish discharge coming from the ear. The normal pink coloration of the ear may look red and irritated. Any of these signs are good indications of infection, and if left untreated, an ear infection can cause serious damage.

Yeast infections, mites, allergies, excess moisture and foreign substances can all contribute to infections. Labs also love water, and when water seeps into their ears, it causes a breeding ground for germs. You should routinely check and clean your labs ears. Your vet can demonstrate the proper way to clean and maintain healthy ears, and suggest a good cleanser that is safe for your lab.

Although you can purchase medication from your vet or pet store, you can also make your own cleanser using a few common ingredients. This formula is from “Woodhaven Labs”, and the “We Love our Labs” website.

Purple Power Ear Solution

16 oz. bottle of Isopropyl alcohol

4 tablespoons Boric Acid Powder

16 drops Gentian Violet Solution

Just combine all ingredients in the alcohol bottle and shake well.

At the first sign of an infection:

Treat 2X daily for the first 2 weeks, then treat 1X daily for the next 1-2 weeks, and as a preventative use once a month. Just fill your dog’s ear with the solution and gently massage the medicine in the ear. Use cotton balls to clean out any dirt, or discharge from the inner ear. Make sure that the cotton ball doesn’t go any further than the part of the ear canal that you can see. Fill ear with this solution a second time without massaging it in. This solution will stain your carpet, so make sure to use it in a tiled bathroom or outside to minimize any damage. You may also need a helping hand with this task. This is probably not going to be very comfortable for your pet who may already have some pain and discomfort due to the infection.

Remember if you have any questions, or your lab does not seem to be improving, call you veterinarian. The health and well-being of your dog may depend on it.

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