Kimba’s flappy things

The Tribune (NZ) - - PAWS, CLAWS, WINGS & THINGS -

Those flappy things on the side of our furry friend’s head can be the fo­cus of abuse when they are not ap­par­ently work­ing, but they are also a fre­quent cause for a visit to see us at the hos­pi­tal. Kimba is a good ex­am­ple of many of my prob­lem ear pa­tients. She is a very friendly seven-yearold hairy Ger­man shep­herd that comes to see me on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to mon­i­tor her main un­der­ly­ing prob­lem, which is her skin. Kimba first came to see me sev­eral months ago when Ju­lia, her owner, no­ticed a strong and un­pleas­ant smell com­ing from Kimba’s ears. Now some of my pa­tients take a par­tic­u­lar dis­like to sev­eral ar­eas of their anatomy be­ing played around with. Th­ese are usu­ally their feet, their bums and their ears. But with a bit of se­da­tion, which is fully re­versible, we were able to have a good look in­side those big ear flaps of hers. Seda­tives nowa­days are great and we use them fre­quently to re­lax our furry pa­tients to make the whole visit or pro­ce­dure a re­laxed and pleas­ant one. A com­plete ex­am­i­na­tion of Kimba showed her to have a gen­eral musty odour, oily thick­ened black skin on her belly, ob­vi­ous ar­eas of itchy skin and both ears were thick­ened and dis­charg­ing a yel­lowy oily ma­te­rial. So, like many oth­ers, her ears were only part of the prob­lem. The ear lin­ing is just an ex­ten­sion of the skin and there­fore many pa­tients with skin diseases, like al­ler­gies, will of­ten have ear prob­lems as well. And this was Kimba’s prob­lem. So it was really im­por­tant to treat Kimba’s whole skin prob­lem and not just her ears. We put Kimba on sev­eral dif­fer­ent oral med­i­ca­tions as well as ear drops ini­tially and af­ter two weeks she was a nicer smelling dog to be around. Sub­se­quently she has con­tin­ued to im­prove on her lower dose and her ears are look­ing al­most nor­mal again. Other pa­tients like Jan­dal (great name!) have ma­jor ear prob­lems. Jan­dal is a small 12-year-old spaniel who used to spend most of his days sleep­ing on his mum’s bed. But that had changed lately be­cause of the dis­gust­ing smelly green dis­charge com­ing from his left ear. This coloured dis­charge is a real worry and sure enough a swab re­sult came back as a nasty lit­tle bug named Psue­domonas. This guy is a very ag­gres­sive bac­te­ria that can be re­sis­tant to a lot of com­mon an­tibi­otics and is dif­fi­cult to get rid of. Luck­ily Jan­dal’s ear re­sponded well to a spe­cial for­mula which we made up for him and within days his ear dis­charge was clear­ing up. He will be on med­i­ca­tion for six weeks and we will need to mon­i­tor his ear closely for any sign of re-oc­cur­rence. The lit­tle soft footed hun­ters are not ex­empt from ear prob­lems and in the sum­mer we see sev­eral ev­ery year with changes to their ear tips and noses as a re­sult of the sun. Some of th­ese ear tips and noses, par­tic­u­larly in white cats can be­come can­cer­ous, but we are able to per­form surgery on their ears (and noses in some cases) to re­move the af­fected ar­eas and make life com­fort­able for them again.

• Start han­dling their ears from the puppy or

kit­ten stage • Check your furry friend’s ears ev­ery week

es­pe­cially in the warmer months • If they go swim­ming, con­sider us­ing an ear wash

once a week • Check their ears ev­ery day in the sum­mer for

grass seeds around the open­ing • Be es­pe­cially vig­i­lant if your friend has itchy skin

prob­lems Have a re­lax­ing start to D month and take time to go for a walk – have fun from all the crew at AN­DER­SONS.

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