• Ear cleaning... "Use a good ear wash regularly to avoid yeast build-up... one of the best and safest.. is a mixture of half apple cider vinegar (white vinegar can be used safely as well) and half water." Do NOT use isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide ("Hydrogen peroxide can eat away at tender tissues, and diluted alcohol causes intense pain if even the slightest irritation is present.)

    "At least three times a week, clean the crevices around the outer portion of your dog's ears with a cotton ball dampened with ear wash... never insert a swab into your dog's ear canal.

    "To keep the inside of the dog's ears clean, gently pour room-temperature ear-cleaning solution into his ears and massage them at their base. A dog's ear canal is very deep and it will take 10-15 seconds of thorough masssaging to work the cleaning solution into the canal" (Land, Babs. "Important Practices for Health." Dog World, Mar. 2004: 10-11).

"For most dogs, a simple ear wash every month will probably do the job. This is just a matter of putting in a few drops, then swabbing the external canal with a cleanex (or toilet paper) to pick up the dirt. With ACS, doing this once or twice a week (depending on the dog and clip) will remove the ear wax that can lead to serious problems. Once a pet has had an infection, the problems never end from there... and can lead to the ear canal closing up, or even such serious problems as them scratching the ear until the ear flap inverts, fills with blood, deafness, and so on. (Not to mention, once it becomes chronic, vets will treat the problem, so it builds up a resistance that makes it difficult to treat.)

"Things that help are keeping the problem from developing. The wash with inexpensive ear wash (sold by vets and grooming supply stores) helps considerably. Washing with Blue Formula helps considerably, avoiding vet charges, if you smell yeast building up. Lighten the ear flap as much as possible... well this helps to allow air to reach the canal. (Don't allow excessive length of fur and trim the top 1/3 of the ear flap to allow temps to remain lower.) Antibiotics will clear up the first infections, but if it isn't totally knocked off, the prob will just come back later and be much harder to treat" (cocker_spaniels@yahoogroups.com. Sent: Thursday, June 09, 2005 1:49 PM).

Colby Glass, MLIS