Kimba’s flappy 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.