On a Sunday morning in early August, I sat on the kitchen floor with a brush, comb, toothbrush, poultry flavored toothpaste, eye drops, ear cleaner and cotton balls in a pile next to me, while I called Buffy to come to me; a typical grooming session for both cocker spaniels. Sundays and Wednesdays were ear-cleaning days, while tooth brushing, combing, and eye drops were included every morning. Chipper’s ears were normal, a little bit of brownish wax, but Buffy had one clean ear and one ear with thick brown gook on the cotton ball that I had rubbed inside her ear. Yuk – probably an ear infection.
So, I cleaned Buffy’s ‘bad’ ear every morning for a month, figuring cleaning it more often would help. It didn’t. Then I cleaned her ear twice a day, and the gook got thicker. Finally, after six or more weeks of trying to treat her ear infection myself, I took her to the vet. Chipper tagged along for his six-month checkup since my vet likes to check older dogs twice a year.
The technician asked me when the infection started, and I remembered the time I took both dogs to a Lake Michigan beach on a hot day in early August. Neither of them wanted to swim, but I wanted to cool them off, so I convinced them to go in. Buffy only waded, chasing the ball up to chest deep water, until I pushed her in a little further to get her whole body wet. Chipper reluctantly swam after me when I called him. I didn’t give them a bath afterwards, or clean their ears – that was the problem.
The vet gave me new ear cleaner (I never thought about the expiration date – which was from 2012), and Tresaderm (a broad-spectrum antibiotic) for both dogs. It turned out Chipper also had an ear infection, although his ears didn’t produce as much gook as Buffy’s.
A week later, Buffy’s ear is still infected but Chipper’s looks better. The vet gave me a refill of Tresaderm and this time I noticed it said in large letters KEEP REFRIGERATED. Oops. Somehow, I hadn’t noticed that before. Also the link below mentions to allow the ear to dry at least ten minutes after using the ear cleaner—another oops! I had put the Tresaderm in right after cleaning. Maybe that’s why Buffy’s ear hasn’t healed. So read the directions thoroughly!