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Old 12-30-2008, 02:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Witch hazel for ears?

The inside of Karloff's right ear has been bothering him for a couple days. He shakes his head, digs with his paw, and sometimes rubs it against the carpet. His ears are incredibly fuzzy, both inside and out, and he won't hold still when I try to examine with a flashlight, so all I can see is a small bit of earwax. It's too cold here in Ohio for ticks, so I suspect earwax or a stray hair is the culprit. Is it safe to clean this out with a paper towel soaked with witch hazel? (That's what I use to clean my own ears.)
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Witch hazel for ears?

If it doesn't sting, I don't see why not -- maybe use a cotton ball or cotton pad. There is always a concern that you may push whatever it is deeper into the ear.

I'm told that GSDs' ear canals are very long and that you very well may not be able to see what is really causing the problems. Somewhere there is a thread with ear info -- I wonder if anyone knows where it is?
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Witch hazel for ears?

Nissa has fuzzy ear insides, too. One day I noticed the same symptoms but not quite so severe and they had come on suddenly. I called the vet, they thought perhaps a yeast infection. Dogs with fuzzy ears can get water (rain, melting snow) dribbles in there and the longer, fuzzier hair keeps it warm and damp so perfect for "bugs" to grow. They couldn't see her that day when I could make it so we set an appt for the following morn. Vet suggested to trim some of the hair out of the ear to allow things to dry easier.

By later that day she was absolutely fine, so in our case it was some water in the ear that Nissa was bothered by.
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Witch hazel for ears?

I find witch hazel very drying and stingy, I swab with hydrogen peroxide once in a while.
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Witch hazel for ears?

I like Halo Herbal Ear Wash - it is gentle and smells nice. Usually only available in health stores though...... (or Internet)

I wouldn't use witch hazel myself, it can sting. I did read somewhere that some people use Apple Cider Vinegar - I haven't tried this myself, so have no opinion on it.....

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Old 12-30-2008, 02:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Witch hazel for ears?

I found a container of Malacetic wipes, which are made for cleaning the insides of dogs' ears and other sensitive areas. I bought them a couple years ago for my previous dog, but they're still fresh and moist. I cleaned the ear and found faint traces of blood as well as what could be tiny scabs or maybe just bits of wax. I wonder if he could have some flea bites in there? Maybe Frontline doesn't offer any protection inside the ears? I think I'll clean several more times today, and if the ear still bothers him tomorrow I'll see if I can get a vet appointment.
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Old 12-30-2008, 07:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Witch hazel for ears?

Karloff probably has an ear infection. A swab by the vet will tell whether it is bacteria or fungal...you have to treat accordingly. Onyx had both so I had to do one med, wait a bit and administer the other. Hers give her problems alot, due to allergies. I have the blue powder ear treatment, but it doesn't help her. This link is the recipe:
http://www.k911.biz/Petsafety/EarInfection.htm

If you are seeing dried blood, it is more than moisture in the ears, and I doubt it is from fleas.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Witch hazel for ears?

Time for a vet visit. Dogs have an ear canal that bends sharply, you really can not and should not be poking very far into it. I would not be using any home remedies until she is looked at by the vet.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Witch hazel for ears?

Thanks for the link, onyx'girl. I have bookmarked it, but it looks as if the blue powder may not be needed this time, nor a vet visit, because after two good cleanings with these Malacetic wipes the ear doesn't seem to be bothering him. They contain boric acid and acetic acid, so they probably have some anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. I got them from the vet a couple years ago to clean a puffy, infected elbow callous on my previous Shepherd, but the label says they are also meant for cleaning ears. I'll probably do another good cleaning tomorrow if I notice him shaking his head or scratching his ear at all. The little bit of blood I found may have been caused by his scratching inside the ear, or it's possible he was nipped in there because he has been engaged in some very vigorous dog play in the park the past few days.

dogs_dolls, it seems the sore/itchy spot was just above that bend in the ear canal. I was careful not to poke down in there.

Many thanks to all for your advice. Wish I had discovered this site when Tuco was still alive
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Kyra, female GSD, whelped 6/15/10
Karloff, male sable GSD, whelped 6/30/08
Tuco, male black GSD, 7/17/97--8/13/08, RIP
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Old 12-31-2008, 08:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Witch hazel for ears?

i use witch hazel to wipe out ears. its alot milder than alcohol, and peroxide. as a general ear cleaner used on a cotton ball sparingly its always worked for me. if you have ear infections or irritations it would probably sting, but fine otherwise.

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