Archive for March, 2009

New York Times Ad Condemns Humane Society of the United States for Terror Fundraising

Consumer Group: HSUS Vice President Will Keynote Benefit For Animal-rights Terrorism Group

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Ear Cleaning Basics
written by: MeShell~PLP Administrator

Regular ear check-ups and cleaning contributes to healthy ears, free of painful infections. Between grooming appointments pet owners should practice ear health maintenance and check their dog’s ears at least once a week. When pet owners request grooming services, professional groomers include an ear inspection and cleaning. Whether the groomer is giving the dog a bath-only service or a complete styling, ear cleaning and deodorizing is typically be included as part of the basic grooming service fee. A few pet owners may ask for ear cleaning only services.

Many pet owners do not realize that dogs can grow hair in the ear canal, even large amounts common to some Poodles and Terriers, as well as other breeds. For this reason, many owners never check their dog ears unless the dog is shaking or scratching its ear(s). By that time there is usually an ear health problem requiring veterinary medical inspection.
Keeping your dog’s ears clean is very important to maintain good health. Many dog insurance plans do cover ear infections for breeds who are known to have problems, such as Cocker Spaniels. Pet health insurance is very useful if you have a breed that is prone to health issues. Compare pet insurance plans to see which is the best choice for you and your dog.

Ear infections “Otitis Externa” may arise from water trapped in the ear canal. The damp environment creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, often leading to painful sensitivity, redness, swelling and infection. Dogs with ear flaps are the most affected since the flaps cut air circulation and trap moisture.

Ear mites may also be present in ear wax. Dogs with this problem often shake their heads and scratch ears. You may be able to locate ear mites by looking at ear wax removed from the affected dog. Under a bright light, spread a sample of ear wax on a piece of white paper, and look for tiny white specks. They are very contagious and will require the owner to treat their pet for ear mites for over 3 weeks. Insecticides kill the adult mites only, so repeat applications are in order. Based on the life cycle of mites, treatment usually consists of applying insecticide for 7 days, then waiting 10 days for baby mites to mature. Groomers seeing the evidence of ear mites should recommend veterinary inspection for a determination of whether there the dog is infested, and for treatment.

Accumulations of wax and a lack of air circulation can lead to ear canker. Canker infection often causes a dark-colored discharge and foul odor. The pet requires veterinary inspection of the condition.

Some dogs scratch their ears as a result of allergies; they should be inspected and treated by veterinarians.

Sometimes groomers will discover weeds and other organic matter in ears. In fact, some weeds can work their way down into the ear canal and cause serious, even life-threatening conditions. On the West Coast of the U.S. the infamous “foxtail” weed finds its way into the ears of thousands of dogs every year, even cutting into the fleshy skin between feet pads and posing a serious health threat.

Professional groomers understand the serious nature of ear problems and always ensure that pet owners are advised of any suspect conditions and recommend veterinary inspection.

Procedures Before Ear Cleaning

Inspect every dog’s ears for potential problems before proceeding with ear cleaning procedures. Be prepared to record written descriptions of any suspect conditions so that you may report them accurately to pet owners and veterinarians.

Realize that some dogs may have very little or no hair to remove from their ears. However, almost all dogs will require some excess wax and dirt removal from their ears and ear flaps as noted below.
Common ear problem signs are:

– Head shaking and ear scratching.
– Ears sensitive to touch.
– Discharges and powerful odors.
– Hematomas (blood blisters) on the ear flap.
– Swelling and skin redness.
– Melanomas (tumors).

When you discover serious ear problems you may choose to gently clean the exterior area of the ear of dirt, wax and other matter, and contact the owner and suggest immediate veterinary care. Other groomers stop all ear cleaning and suggest the pet owner to seek immediate veterinary care, especially when the pet is in distress.

Sterilize any tools that you have used during the cleaning process, actually a process you should do between all ear cleanings as well.

Ear Cleaning Tools & Supplies

Grooming suppliers normally stock all the tools and supplies required for dog ear cleaning.
You will need the following tools and supplies for the ear cleaning procedure. Carefully read and follow instructions supplied with all products before using them.

· Hemostat (sterilized before and after each procedure).
· Commercial medicated ear powder (deodorizer too).
· Commercial ear cleaning solution.
· Cotton (sterile medical grade preferred).

Do not use Q-Tips or alcohol.

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