Sweet baby jeebus, Samson’s ears are lookin’ good!

Whether it’s the weather, the new pills, the new drops, a bit more time outside in the dry cold, less cleaning in the nooks and crannies with Q-tips, more love and patience as my mind/body system comes down from constant overload, or some cosmic intervention, SAMSON’S EARS ARE GETTING BETTER! His ears are getting back to that soft pink color and the brown beasties are going away. Even his belly looks nice and light pink.

I am ashamed to admit how much this makes me less tense. I actually feel better. It is crazy talk but it’s the truth.

Why? Less time schlepping gross, brown gook every other day. Less awful smell every time he shakes his head. Fewer Q-tips. No grossness being rubbed on furniture and floors as he tries to itch. Samson is happier, too.

It dawns on me that he’s been off his phenobarb for over a week, too. Maybe THAT was the magic piece. I’m sure it all contributes to this joyous occasion. 😉

So what is he currently on?

1) Temeril-P has worked in the past to bring his system under control, but I always worry about how much it taxes his liver. The most recent time he was on it he entered the land of peeing inside. It was during the move to the condo before the house, and we were on the second floor. It was hot, he drank a lot of water. Whatever. I was going to put him back on it but the new vet was out of it and I didn’t want to wait until he got them or didn’t want to pay shipping and wait for 800-ped-meds.

So the vet gave us straight prednisone. I guess I didn’t know the “P” of Temeril-P was prednisone, but that’s what he had. Supposedly stronger, so one little white pill twice a day.

Samson also got Simplicef since his ears had some blood (small ulcers) in them at times. I think it’s an antibiotic?

2) Ear drops that we recently used were called Zymox Otic. Nothing seemed to be really happening. The vet told us about Synotic, and I said, “Of course I’m trying anything to end this misery for all of us.”

A drop or two in the ear canal once each day, a good massage of his ears to get it deep where no Q-tip can reach (the canal makes a right turn in a dog…did you know that?), and that’s it.

3) Less cleaning. The vet told me the first time, and I didn’t listen. I assumed that I’d be doing it less because the redness and brown grossness would be going a way a bit. Since it wasn’t going anywhere and it continued to ooze out of his hear, I kept cleaning it. Once a day or twice a day. It would get that bad that quickly.

4) More love. More time just hanging out with the pooch. We also went out for our first night walk (I love them, especially in the winter) in our new neighborhood. Actually, we crossed into the next neighborhood where the houses were some of the largest and nicest I’ve ever seen. I’ve been able to just hang, with at least one ear flopped open, maybe some easy blowing into his ear to dry it out.

We’ll see how long it lasts. We’ll see what happens when spring rolls around (I know that’s a long way away) and there’s less frozen-ness all around.

But for now, it’s happening! What a Christmas gift, eh?

Moral of the story: It’s completely depends on your dog, so just keep at it.


Update on Samson’s ears: The quest continues…

Nasty, smelly when he shakes his head, tender to the touch when he itches them or I am cleaning them…


Trying new things and getting nowhere really. He’s obviously got a pretty chronic case. Maybe, if I have time, I’ll post exactly what drops and other things we’re trying to do. It’s costing a lot of money and we’re all unhappy with it.

Maybe we’ll have a deep freeze winter, there will be no allergens outside, the food we’ve picked is fine, and the little gross brown nastinesses decide to leave.

That would make is all happy.

ANYONE finding anything that makes a dent?!?!

I’m pulling the trigger…

It’s time. The mighty Samson seems to be doing a bit better in terms of the overall allergy picture, but his ears are still a mess. I can’t keep up.

He’s responded positively to Temaril-P in the past, and I just ordered some. Time to nip this smelly, gross ear funk in the butt. Samson also seems to have a very sensitive spot just inside one of his ears. It’s heart-wrenching to hear this 75+ pound ball of yellow love yelp like a little puppy, even when you just pet that ear.

The move to New York may have helped a bit, but he’s also inside much more than he used to be in New Hampshire. Regardless, it’s time to use some “medicine,” and this time, it’s strong medicine.

Side note: his rear right knee isn’t doing so hot. He’s had TPLO surgery on both rear knees, but this one is never really gotten him back to tip top shape. Too much arthritis and such. He needed some of the shredded miniscus removed, so that doesn’t help any. I’ve heard clicking back there a couple times over the past few weeks.

And he’s only 7…. 😦

The Now-Not Smelly Lab

All of us lab owners seem to be in the same season. Traffic to the smelly lab or smelly lab ears posts has been pretty high. It seems like it never ends, and it’s already the latter half of August.

Samson’s ears are still a problem. Even with a substantial change in environment, living on the shore of Lake Michigan. Granted the bright sand and breeze comes off the water without many allergens, his ears are very likely not drying out much as he loves to be in the water. I’m not doing enough to keep them dry, but when he can walk down the stairs on the dune and visit the great lake any time, it’s hard. Plus, the last time I really worked on his ears, the yeast (aka the funk) came back pretty quickly and really annoyed this good-hearted pooch. Not cleaning them seemed to actually help his ears get to an equilibrium point.

Another smell was from just having him around inside the house. You’d smell his head, his back, and he didn’t really smell bad at all. But he’d just be around and it was, “Oh, my, what is that raunchy smell?!” Well, it was mostly the rear half of his back, and when we found regular dog shampoo versus the puppy shampoo I’ve been using for some time, that was the trick.

This stuff lathered up well, I took extra time (it’s not that hard to do in the sun, on a sandy beach, with fresh water at your feet), and there’s nothing like rinsing him off by just throwing a tennis ball in the lake for him to chase.

So, born in New Jersey, a few years there, a couple months on Lake Michigan, then four years in New Hampshire, now a month and a half on Lake Michigan, and off to New York (outside NYC) likely by the end of the week. No more shots, no more immunotherapy, we’ll just deal with it as it unfolds, trying to make him comfortable.

Anything surprising working for you lab owners? I’m up for trying anything that doesn’t cost me $1000. He’s already the million-dollar dog.

Smelly Dog Ears – Looks like it’s that time of year

Who would have guessed that my posts on Samson’s smelly, brown, gross, yeast-filled ears would be some of the larger hits on the site? Samson.

Having any luck? What are you doing?

I’m way behind in cleaning his ears, but having to move an entire house with 2 kiddos 2 and under doesn’t make it very easy. Like usual lately, “I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Dog ears that still smell

So Samson’s ears are still funky and getting worse. What seemed to be a “new” funk appears to be the usual yeast, brown, gross funk. Allergies have crept in, his immune system gets taken for a ride, and it’s itch itch itch.

I need to stay on top of cleaning them frequently. Temaril-P has worked well for him in the past. No itching, no scratching. Side effects include a slightly lower energy level (but not that noticeable) and a reduction in shedding. The shedding issue is actually quite nice as there is less yellow lab dog hair all over our house, our clothes, etc. BUT, when it’s spring leading to summer and his winter coat is still falling out, I don’t think it’s the best time to halt that process. Not sure if this is a common side effect or something I’m just making up. In the past it seems like this is what happens all the time, so I don’t think I’m making it up. It sure does relieve the itching.

I have another concern. He takes phenobarb (low dose) and the last thing I want is more drugs in his system that might tax his liver and system. He’s just about 7 years old and high maintenance enough (2 knee surgeries, a 4-night stay in the hospital, allergy-free dog food, etc.). Cleaning his ears is definitely a pain and takes a decent amount of time to do it right. With 2 boys two-years old and under, time and energy are a precious commodity.

But I don’t want him to itch this bad. It also gets a bit old watching and listening to him grind his tongue (ear muffs) in and around his butt (one of his itchy places). Sounds like a suction cup or something. Yes, gross. Grosser than just reading it, that’s for sure.

So we’ll see what’s next. We’ve used some drops on top of cleaning them, and that has kept things at bay in the past, but we’re just holding off the inevitable until we deal with the source, and dealing with the source pretty much includes just taking the Temaril-P since we won’t be moving until the end of the summer (and no guarantee that will work either).

Any luck? Is your lab or other type of dog allergic to everything under the sun? Any ways to combat this without drugging up your loved, 4-legged family member?


Smelly dog ears

So now Samson, our yellow lab, has a new ear funk.  It’s not as dark as the usual one, but with his allergies kicking in now that the snow is gone, we get to see some new ear funk.

And, like usual, it smells really bad.  Not as gross looking, but stinky.

Poor guy.  He’s itchy all over, shedding all over, and still giving us love all over.  I wish he weren’t allergic to so many things.  He has not been an inexpensive member of the family.  Thankfully (for him) he’s really good-looking and well-behaved and a lover to us and the boys.

Now to do round two of cleaning them out…as soon as I can clear a pathway through the hair on the floor…