Ollie and his ears: An update

I know that many of you love to hear about Ollie, and what he is up to. For most of this year, he has been troubled by ear infections. This is nothing new, and was not unexpected, as it is a well-known issue with the breed due to the shape of the ear canal. However, the recent bouts have been more than usually distressing for him, as it causes a blockage, and an itch he cannot hope to scratch.

His way of dealing with it is to shake his head violently from side to side. As much as we can, we try to calm him down and stop him doing it. But we can’t watch him all the time, and obviously not when we are asleep. After a while, the constant shaking causes the tissues in his ears to swell, and they begin to close up. This is the same problem experienced by old-time boxers, and known as ‘cauliflower ear’. This swelling makes it doubly difficult to administer his ear drops, and the cycle continues.

Once out on his walks, he will run off and drag his head sideways along the ground, trying to scratch the constant itch. Again, I stop him doing this when I can, but it often takes me a while to catch up to him. The problem is soon cured by a quick trip to the Vet, where he is given antibiotic tablets and ear drops, as well as steroids to stop the itching. This medication works very quickly, and within a day, he is back to his old self. Sadly, it is never too long before it starts all over again, and back to the Vet he goes.

After the most recent infection, we discussed the possibility of surgery. This would involve partial or total removal of the ear canal in the right ear, which is always the worst affected. Partial removal might do the job, and would not leave Ollie deaf in that ear either. More importantly, without the inside tube to become infected, it would be unlikely that he would ever suffer such bad infections again. It would naturally be expensive, but so are the frequent visits to the Vet, and the cost of medication. We do get some of that back from insurance, but our main concern was putting him through more operations, when he had so many as a pup.

This afternoon, he had to go in for his annual inoculation booster, so it was a chance to talk to the Vet about surgery again. He did a thorough examination of Ollie, including his ears, and pronounced that he was fighting fit, and free from infection. Some fur loss and irritation between his front legs was put down to seasonal allergies, or contact with plants and shrubs that irritate. But otherwise, he could find no cause for concern. With a new quarterly tick and flea tablet prescribed, and injections done, it was agreed that we would wait and see if he gets another ear infection. If that does happen, then the surgery will go ahead.

Having a great dog like Ollie can be a really delightful addition to life,  and he feels like a member of our family, in every way possible. So when he is unwell, we naturally worry. Let’s hope that he doesn’t need any more treatment for some time now. He has gone through enough, in his short life.

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33 thoughts on “Ollie and his ears: An update

  1. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for Ollie.xxxx
    I had a Cocker Spaniel for 17 years and ear problems was a constant worry. I was cleaning and treating his ears all the time, maybe too much, in the end he couldn’t hear very well.
    When I got my Golden retriever ( a rescue dog that no one cared about) he had the same symptoms Ollie has. After a couple of months it was all gone, thanks to new medicine.
    All the best,
    hope Ollie feels better soon,
    Dina & co x

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  2. Its a shame that over the years we have forced many of the problems that the pure breeds have by selection to follow a breed standard dictated by aesthetics rather than the welfare of the animal. There is a lot to be said for having a mixed gene mongrel if you want to avoid the vets!
    Still good to hear Ollie is in fine fettle.

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    1. You’re right, Eddy. Mongrels provide the same loyalty and companionship, but have less medical issues to mar their lives. We didn’t really set out to get a Shar-Pei, but when our previous neighbours had bred their bitch, the pups were too adorable to turn down. I would advise anyone getting a dog to avoid the ‘fancy’ breeds, and to get something very ordinary.
      Cheers mate, Pete.

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    1. Thanks, Lloyd. We are lucky to be able to afford it, but I have no doubt we would have sold one of the cars otherwise! Caring for a pet is a great responsibility, and we could never let him carry on without the surgery if he needed it.
      Regards as always, Pete.

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  3. Pete, so sorry to hear this about Sweet Ollie’s ears. I wonder if it’s like swimmers ear? I know it would probably be out of the question to keep him out of the water on your walks, but a trial might prove to improve his situation a bit. I know how you feel about our pets undergoing operations as I experienced that so many times with my other dog that I made a post about a while ago. It’s just my pondering on this issue ~ perhaps, dry walks not near the ponds or water puddles… But, I’m sure he enjoys these outings so much it would be difficult to give them up… I will hope for continued healthy ears for your lovely companion.

    Take care, and give Ollie a hug for me….

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    1. I tried keeping him out of the water, Laura, but he still got infections. He doesn’t really put his head under, so it probably isn’t the water. It is mainly a chronic condition of the breed. Two of his sisters have the same issues.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  4. It’s hard to see our furry family members suffer. 😦 Hopefully he can be spared the surgery but it’s nice to have that option for permanent relief.. Hang in there Ollie!

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