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The Dreaded (but common) Ear Infection

Unfortunately, ear infections can be a common occurrence for this breed.  It's the nature of how their ears lay flat against their head that contributes to an environment where yeast and bacteria can thrive.  Moisture is the problem!  And you have to keep the ears dry to prevent fungal infections and yeast infections.  

There are a few things you can do to help prevent and treat ear infections at home.

1. Make sure your groomer is trimming/clippering the top 1/3rd of the ear flap - INSIDE and OUTSIDE.  This will help improve air flow which helps keep the ear dry.  I use a 10-blade on my clipper and remove all the hair around the ear canal.  I clipper at least a 3" area down the inside of the ear flap (no one sees the inside of the ear flap so don't worry how it will make your dog look!).  I then look at the outside of the ear flap and trim the top 1/3rd of the ear, starting where the ear meets the skull and coming down approximately 2 - 3 inches.  Explain how you want the ear done to your groomer so they can accomplish this while the dog is getting trimmed.

2.  Be careful to avoid getting water in the ear during bathing.  You can put a cotton ball in the ear to stop any water from getting into the canal.  You can also use a product called LiquidHealth K9 Ear Solution prophylactically after each bath or after swimming.  It's available on Amazon.  K9 Ear Solution contains alcohol to help dry up any water that did get in the ear, Gentian Violet, an anti-fungal and Boric Acid.  It's a good habit to do this when your dog comes home from the groomer.  Fill the ear canal. Let them shake their head, just be careful to do it where the purple liquid doesn't stain your clothes or carpet.  Wipe away any excess with a paper towel.

3.  If the ears smell sweet or yeasty, or if you see black/rusty colored discharge, your dog may have a fungal infection.  You can easily make an over-the-counter mixture to treat the ears.  Take two teaspoons of Clotrimazol (Lotrimin or Monistat 7) and mix with 2 teaspoons of Cortizone 10 (1% hydrocortisone cream).  Apply a small dollop of the mixture into the ear and massage down into the canal.  Do this 2X a day for 7 days.

Your cocker's ears should normally be a light pink.  Know the color of what a healthy ear looks like.  If you see dark pink and inflammation, you have a problem.  Learn what healthy, clean ears smell like too.  This way you can distinguish if something is brewing and start treatment right away.  And of course, there is the tell-tail sign that something is not right when you notice your dog scratching its ears.

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