Four Steps to Keep Your Dog’s Ears Healthy

Whether your dog is genetically prone to ear infections or just loves getting in the water, it never hurts to monitor his ears for signs of inflammation. Prevention is the best approach to total ear health. With that in mind, it is important that we know what to look out for and how to care for the ears properly. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your dog’s ears clean and itch-free.

Ear examine by the veterinarian


1. Know the Basics

Anatomy – A dog’s ears are quite different than our human ears. Their ear canals form a shape that resembles an upside down horn. This makes it more difficult for debris to get out as it must work its way upward.

Risk Factors – Anatomy alone leaves all breeds at some risk of developing ear inflammation. However, some breeds are more susceptible to ear infections. This can be due to more wax producing cells in the breed, such as in the Labrador Retriever, or a narrower ear canal, as in the case of Chow Chows. Allergies, hypothyroidism, living in a humid environment, parasites, and frequently swimming or bathing can also contribute to ear problems. The best policy is to include ear care as part of your dog’s weekly grooming and watch for signs of trouble so it can be treated right away before it become more serious.


2. Watch for Warning Signs

A dog might not be able to talk, but you will know if their ears are bothering them. Ear problems can crop up literally overnight, so don’t delay getting care for your dog if you notice any signs of ear trouble. If you see any of the following symptoms, it is time for a trip to the vet:

  • Frequent scratching or pawing at ears, head shaking or rubbing of ears against a hard surface.
  • Discharge
  • Odor
  • Constant tilting of the head or drooping of the ear downwards.
  • Redness or swelling
  • Crusty skin inside or around the ears.
  • Hair loss around the ears.
  • Excessive dark earwax.


3. Talk to Your Vet

When in doubt, your veterinarian is the person you want to talk to. Give them a complete history and then allow a full examination. The vet can take a sample of wax from your dog’s ear to determine if something is wrong and what the proper course of treatment will be. Sometimes minor inflammation just requires a cleaning or two, while full infections may require a prescribed medication to get rid of the issue entirely. Ear infections are quite painful for your dog, and getting relief quickly is the key to treating them successfully.


4. Make Ear Cleaning Part of the Grooming Routine

Taking a look inside of your dog’s ears every now and again is a good idea. A gentle ear cleaning whenever they have a bath can be helpful and assist in keeping future problems at bay. Consult with your vet for a mild cleaning solution that would be ideal for your pet. You want a very gentle solution made specifically for ear cleaning and without any alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or other potentially irritating ingredients. Some cleaning solutions dry the ear canal, some break down ear wax, and others even do both. For a routine cleaning, follow these steps:

  • Have your dog lie down on his side on a comfortable surface, such as his bed, where you can reach him easily.
  • Now open his ear flap (if he has drop ears) and gently insert a few drops of the cleaning solution into the ear canal.
  • Massage the base of your dog’s ear to let the solution move in. If he shows any signs of pain at this point, stop immediately and consult your vet.
  • After a minute or two of massaging let your dog get up to shake it off.
  • Use a large cotton ball (**never use a Q-tip as they could potentially cause damage**) to clean any excess solution or debris out of the ear.
  • Switch sides and repeat.
  • Give him a treat for being such a good dog.
  • Just by knowing what to look out for and by taking a few steps to prevent inflammation you can help your dog spend less time itching and more time enjoying the things they love most.


Note: This is a repost written by Lindy Callahan, and published by Divinity’s friends at the Grey Muzzle Organization.

This is a Hold-Up, Leave all of the Treats on the Floor…

This was posted on Twitter by the Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network and I thought readers of Divinity’s blog would enjoy it themselves.

This is a Hold-Up


Note: It was from Col. Potter that I adopted Divinity in May, 2009. Since that day, Col. Potter has rescued many Cairn Terriers, and Cairn Terrier mixes.


Col. Potter - Rescue Number


* Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network – Webpage

* Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network Facebook

* Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network Twitter

* Col. Potter Cairn Rescue Network All Available Cairn Terriers for Adoption

Four Month Old Black Bear cubs – playtime before breakfast

I thought it would be nice to start this day with a light-hearted post.

Rollo Bear & Otto Bear are two four month old orphaned Black Bear cubs currently residing at the Appalachian Bear Rescue in Townsend, TN. Later this year, when Rollo & Otto get big and strong, they will be released back into the wild.

Here is a photo of Rollo Bear & Otto Bear enjoying some playtime before eating their breakfast.

Rollo Bear & Otto Bear

I previously featured Appalachian Bear Rescue in a post on the rescue of Noli Bear from the Nolichucky River in September 2015.

Noli Bear during rescue

Drug increases survival in dogs with cancer

University of Minnesota has announced the breakthrough trial of a new drug that improves survival rates in dogs diagnosed with a cancer called hemangiosarcoma (HSA). The research and results were published recently published in the journal of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

“This is likely the most significant advance in the treatment of canine HSA in the last three decades,” said study co-author Jaime Modiano, V.M.D., Ph.D. professor in the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and member of the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.

Antonella Borgatti, D.V.M., M.S. and Copper

Lead study author, Antonella Borgatti, D.V.M., M.S. and Copper


Canine HSA is a common, aggressive, incurable sarcoma, and is remarkably similar to angiosarcoma, which affects humans. Both cancers typically spread before diagnosis and the survival time for affected patients is extremely short, even with aggressive treatment. Only 50 percent of humans diagnosed with angiosarcoma live longer than 16 months; the prognosis for dogs with HSA is similarly dire. Less than 50 percent of dogs will survive 4 to 6 months and only about 10 percent will be alive one year after their diagnosis.

The study tested a drug called eBAT, invented by study senior author Daniel Vallera, Ph.D., professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Masonic Cancer Center.

“eBAT was created to specifically target tumors while causing minimal damage to the immune system. HSA is a vascular cancer, meaning it forms from blood vessels. eBAT was selected for this trial because it can simultaneously target the tumor and its vascular system,” Vallera said.

Traditional cancer treatments have side effects that can be very hard on patients. “In this trial we aimed for a sweet spot by identifying a dose of eBAT that was effective to treat the cancer, but caused no appreciable harm to the patient. Essentially we’re treating the cancer in a safer and more effective way, improving quality of life and providing a better chance at survival,” lead study author Antonella Borgatti, D.V.M., M.S., associate professor with the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine said.

eBAT was tested on 23 dogs of various breeds, both large and small, with HSA of the spleen. Dogs received three treatments of eBAT after surgery to remove the tumor and before conventional chemotherapy. The drug treatment improved the 6-month survival rate to approximately 70 percent Furthermore, five of the 23 dogs that received eBAT treatment lived more than 450 days.

Not only is that good news for dogs, it’s good news for people too. The similarities between this cancer and angiosarcoma in humans, and the fact that many other tumor types can be targeted by eBAT, make a strong case for translating this drug into clinical trials for human cancer patients. The researchers want these results to bring hope to those touched by this disease.

“This drug was invented here at the University of Minnesota, developed here, manufactured here, tested here and showed positive results here. We would also like this drug to achieve positive outcomes for humans here,” Modiano said.

“The ultimate goal for all of us is to create a world in which we no longer fear cancer,” he added.

H/T: Veterinary Practice News