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10 year old cocker with ear problems - need solutions!

August 1st, 2011, 07:32 PM
I have a 10 year old female cocker spaniel that has had ear problems for most of her life. Very bad currently and need to find a solution. She's been on Prednisone (steroid) for 9 years to keep her ear canals opened, mild dosage of 1/2 pill every 2nd day, just upped to 3/4 tab every 2nd day. Realize this effects her liver adversely, but seems least of the evils. She's on an expensive hard kibble dog food (Canadian vet purchase) Hills Prescription Diet (TM), Z/D Canine Ultra Allergen-free. Tried to change this to another brand but ear problems increased, so went back. We're careful about treats, used only Medi-Treats regularly or few grain-free treats rarely, and raw veggies & fruits. I have been cleaning her ears with various solutions, VET brand most recent, and trying to clean ears out using q-tips and cotton swabs after filling canals and massaging the solution in. She cries, especially left ear. I feel like I'm pushing the gunk IN, not OUT. What to do? She's in pain and vet cleaning doesn't help. So expensive, too. A month ago, she went through a series of 'blood tests' and antibiotic she was put on was recalled within the week!!! Why can't dogs get ears syringed out like humans? May try home solution, and found one online, but... HELP!

August 1st, 2011, 09:11 PM
You might want to consider a high quality holistic food, or raw/home made. Typically the vet foods are full of corns and fillers which are not good for allergic dogs even when they are marketed as so. I am sure some members with allergy prone dogs can share their insight but commonly ear issues and allergies are linked.

August 2nd, 2011, 07:11 AM
I am sure it's a food allergy, try one protein food like buffalo, venison, and sweet potato. Or even try home cooking, and introduce only one protein at a time for 12 wks. Keep up the ear cleaner from the vets, not pet store. Just swab the ear with a cloth and finger (do not put anything deeper in there) and keep the area clean. If it smells real bad and antibiotic in needed. No treats made from kibble. I use carrot sticks and apples myself. The vet food has a lot of fillers in it. My golden was like this, I never found out what he was allergic too, but it could have been environmental, however I was able to keep his ears clean with routine cleaning and occasional antibiotics.

August 2nd, 2011, 08:04 AM
a friends sheltie (12 yrs old) had ear problems all her life, they had her on Purina, I had them switch to Performatrin, all natural, no preservatives and within 2 months the problem cleared up, its been 18 months almost and not an infection since.

January 1st, 2012, 03:26 PM
Hi, I just joined today however I'm very familiar with ear problems in Cocker Spaniels since I have been involved with Cocker Rescue for 12 years.

I agree with Marty, this sounds like an allergy to the ingredients in the Z/D.
Most Hills food is great for long term feeding of Cocker Spaniels.

Most Cockers need a grain free food. She should be fed one with a protein that she has never had before. We feed most of our rescue dogs Dick Van Pattens.
Some are on the Bison, Fish and one is on the Venison.
Has cleared up ears within a month or so.

Give no vegetables. Use the kibble as treats or if you feed Dick VanP's food, they have a matching treat for each type..pretty much.

Dog's ear canals are an L shape unlike humans where ours are pretty straight.
Vets can do flushing to clear out the ears which will make it easier for you to continue with the cleaning.
We use a ProConcepts solution called Pro Otic to clean ears.
It is more tolerable than the Blue Power...and less messy.

Your original post was last August so I hope you have found something suitable for your dog by now.