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Recurring ear infections in Golden.

Species: Dog
Breed: Golden Retriever
Age: 5-8 years
My dog is a 90 pound Golden Retriever. He has had a lot of problems with ear infections and we can't seem to clear it up. It goes away when we use Otomax that was prescribed by the vet, but it always seems to come back again.

Can you give us any advice?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi John and thanks for your question!

I see a lot of Golden Retrievers in my practice and I can tell you that chronic ear infections can be unfortunately a common problem.

One reason for an ear infection to keep coming back is if it was not cleared up completely the first time that it was treated. I will usually treat the ear for 10-14 days and then I will have the dog come back in to repeat a cytology. This is where we put a swab in the ear and look under the microscope to see if there is an unusual number of bacteria or yeast present.

If there still are an unusual number of bacteria or yeast then we will usually continue for longer with treatment. Often, the ears will *look* better after one course of treatment, but sometimes even though it looks better there is still a lot of underlying bacteria or yeast there.

Another possibility is that there is a resistant infection present. If, on my second recheck of the ear I am still seeing an unusual amount of bacteria I will do a culture. This is where we send a sample to the lab to find out exactly what type of bacteria is growing and exactly which medication will be the most effective.

There may also be an underlying cause for the ear infections. Some Goldens can have hypothyroidism which is a condition that can cause them to be more susceptible to ear infections. You can read more about hypothyroidism at

http://www.askavetquestion.com/hypothyroidism.php

Your vet can test for hypothyroidism by doing a simple blood test. If they give you an option between a single T4 test and a thyroid panel, the panel is always the best way to go. The panel is a little more expensive, but will give us more accurate results. Sometimes a single T4 test can look artificially low in the presence of an infection (such as an ear infection). But, a thyroid profile will not be affected by an infection.

Another thought to consider is allergies. Dogs with allergies can have recurrent ear infections. These dogs often have itchy feet as well. Some dogs can have seasonal allergies and some can have food allergies. Often dogs with food allergies will have anal gland problems or an itchy anus as well. It is worthwhile to talk to your vet about this as well.

I have also had decent success with having my clients use something called Burrow's Solution during the periods of time in between ear infections. I mostly use this in dogs where I suspect the chronic problems are due to underlying allergies. The clients use this in the ears a few times a week and it helps to cut down on the inflammation. If we can reduce the inflammation then we can usually reduce the infections.

I hope this helps with Fluffy's infections! Let me know if you have any more concerns!

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.