Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ear Hair, It's Not Attractive On Anyone

Now those are ears!
My Jekyll as a baby.
If anyone asked me why I spend so much time and energy writing this blog, I would simply say that it is my hope that I can help people in every little corner of the globe. That these words and these picture along with my time spent nose buried in a 3 inch thick veterinary book for years and years on end will help some pet somewhere be better cared for.

It's really that simple.

And, on that note, I thought I would keep this post super simple.

This blog is dedicated to ears.

Ears: Veterinarians see a lot of pets for a lot of people who come in complaining about their pet digging at their ears. We also see the most foul smelling ear contents, the red inflamed ear canals, and the ear pinna pillow hematomas. We see pets that hide and cower at the mere slight indication that you want to peer into their ears, and we see pets who will growl, bite, beg, bow, bury, and break your heart at the amount of discomfort and fear they have about their ears.

No one should ever be as afraid and anxious about anything as some of our patients are about their ears. I often feel as I am the sadist about to flail an already raw, painful ear with a mace.

Here's the big problem with ears. All of those complaining people, who undoubtedly, undeniably, do care about their pets ears, want a quick fix. Well, life gives you chronic recurrent problems and you are probably not going to get a quick fix.

Here are the dogs that have ear problems. 
  • Dogs with allergies, 
  • Dogs with heavy long pendulous ear flaps, like cocker spaniels and my beloved beagle pup.
  • Dogs that get water in their ears often, 
  • Dogs that have bad skin, 
  • or infections, 
  • or bugs, 
  • or stuff that doesn't belong there.
I tell my clients, "I can't change the shape of your pets ears, and I can't change their genetics which cause them to be susceptible to allergies. But we can change the environment that allows the soup to start to simmer.

There are many reasons that ears are a problem. The key is to identify what is causing your pets issues, monitor for them, thwart them before your simmering problem boils over into a hot, infected, painful mess.

My job, to get my little at home detectives to start keeping notes, watching, waiting, and be armed to fight off the first signs of the ear inflammation and detour off of the highway straight to infection-ville.

My grown up Jekyll.
He doesn't have hair, but those ears are maintenance!
Like any at the ready reserve army I train my troops.
  1. We prepare, 
  2. We stock up, 
  3. We identify the enemy, 
  4. We study the enemy, 
  5. And stand post awaiting their attack.

First step in ear warfare;

1. Prepare the battle ground to optimize success. 

Hair. Hair is the blind that bacteria, yeast, moisture, dirt, debris, and food for infection lives in. Remove excess hair with clippers (never scissors, you can cut your pet. I know you think it won't happen to you, but it happens to everyone else who thinks it won't happen to them either).

Hair in the ear and around the ear 

Hair growing out of the ear canal.
Preparing the battle ground also includes removing dirt, debris, bugs, wax, etc..

Hair growing around the ear canal.

Hair! Hair! Hair!
2. Stock up on clippers, cleaners, and hemostats (the stainless steel curved tip instruments we use to carefully and painlessly pluck the ear hairs).

3. Know your enemy. Be it allergies, bugs, etc. Learn from your previous

4. Study your enemy. If your pet starts to itch, scratch, rub , moan and groan in the first week of the month of May every year, then mount your defenses in the end of April and perhaps the other side will forget to show up?

5. Wait and watch. A prepared professional is a sure fire winner when it comes to the age old battle of the Gladiator versus the beasts that lurk in the dark.

There are so many things that parents can do at home to avoid ear infections.

Keep the ears hair free, clean like crazy! (how much is dependent on your pet, my Jekyll is a twice a month dog), and look in those ears everyday! Get help, advice, and be proactive, prepared, and you too can win the war on ears!

If you have any questions you can find me @pawbly, or ask me a question on pawbly.,com

Related blogs: Ear Blogs


  1. This is useful information. I didn't know if clipping the hair in the ear was good or bad. Zombie gets nasty ears and ear infections all the time. He has allergies, bad skin, floppy-ish ears, and constant infections.

    1. Thank you for reading,and for appreciating the blog..that's what it is here for. To help everyone understand what vets look at, do, and how we think about disease..take care Sarah, kisses to Zombie (LOVE that name!!!)