I have had to clean maggies ears pretty consistantly, the vet told me either she would have no ear infections or chronic because thats with GSD.. have you found this to be true?
It depends on the dog. I clean my dogs' maybe once a month. Mostly we're just getting dust out. Some of our dogs almost never have gunk in them. Some of them are consistently very gunky. Gunky ears all the time are sometimes a sign of a low grade infection. It's not "normal" for a GSD to have lots of black gunk! If you're finding it, it's a sign of a problem. I don't believe chronic ear infections need to be chronic. I've treated so many of them in rescue successfully that I get a little mad when vets just give up on fixing them, repeating the same thing that hasn't worked before -- they hurt
. When you see a dog with gunky ears trying to rub their paws on them, they're saying, "Ow, it's uncomfortable!" It's work to fix them, but they're fixable -- and once you treat them successfully, most of the time getting the dog on a limited ingredient or non-kibble diet makes them stop recurring. Sometimes, though, environmental allergies are extremely difficult to control (as in IllinoisNative's dog's case), and then it can be much harder. I really do think that there's an allergic component to many of the recurrent dogs based on what I've seen -- just as with skin, an allergic reaction triggers inflammation, and opportunistic microbes all around us love setting up house where there's inflammation because it's a vulnerability that's attractive to them. When you get the allergy under control, you treat the current infection, and then you stop having a welcome mat out for those bad microbes.
This is the best ear cleaner I've ever found -- it's the cleanser companion product to the Zymox solution linked above, but instead of treating
, it just cleans:
I love this product because it's painless for the dog -- it's honestly the most humane cleaner I've found. Many dog ear cleaners are quite painful for dogs with low grade infections, and once an ear cleaning hurts, you'll always have a dog who resists allowing it! (Some vets also use a vinegar/water solution, and that was common in the sheltering world because it's cheap -- I stopped using it because I think can be painful for dogs with problems).
For dogs that are consistently producing black gunk though, I'd really look at one of the Zymox solution products (not just cleaner--but also the one that's a treatment) to clear them up. Simply cleaning them isn't going to make a low grade infection go away.
I've had good enough results with Zymox products that I'm not switching, but if I were going to try a new product, it would be this one -- I really like Vetericyn's other products, and the active ingredient (hypochlorous acid) is a proven winner in hospital research on preventing infection in wound care: