Ear Care /
Predisposing Factors /
Causes of Ear Disease
Once a Shar-Pei has an ear problem it will always have ear problems.
You will not cure the problem, you will only control it through routine
The primary problem with ear cleaning in the Shar-Pei breed centers around
inadequate training and lack of control of the dog. If the dog will not let
you clean the ears you will not be able to treat the ears. The training
process begins in puppyhood and involves discipline and positive reinforcement
methods which are beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that you
should train you dog as a puppy to tolerate ear cleaning.
I will also be the first to say that some of the problem in cleaning the ears
rests in the most common method of ear cleaning used today - the cotton swab.
Improper use of the cotton swab results in trauma to the ear canal with
swelling, pain and an uncooperative patient.
The best way to clean the ear canal is to "float" debris out of the canal
using an ear cleaning solution. A wide variety of such solutions are
available on the market with none being better than any of the others.
Try different ones and see which works best for you. My personal favorites are
Pan-Otic and Nolvasan Otic. Do not use hydrogen peroxide! The
foaming action bothers the dog and the peroxide breaks down into oxygen
and water in the ear. It is usually wise to clean the ears outdoors because
the principle here is to allow the cleaning solution to loosen the debris
and the dog to shake the material out of the ear.
The ear canal is filled up with the cleaning solution, gently massage, and
then the dog is allowed to shake its head. Stand Back!
Material tends to catch on the inside of the ear flap where it is wiped off
with cotton balls and the whole process is repeated. This is done several
times until no more debris in collected. At this point a cotton swab can be
gently inserted into the ear canal to soak up any remaining ear cleaning
solution. Do not clean the ear with the cotton swab! After the ear is
thoroughly dried, the appropriate ear medication is instilled into the
ear canal as directed by your veterinarian. It is often a good training
technique to give the dog some sort of a special treat at this point to
positively reward the dog. This may make future sessions more pleasant. In
ears that have severe disease, it is often a good idea to treat the ear for
several days with medication first before attempting to clean the ears.
This allows the swelling and pain to subside first and allow the dog to
tolerate the cleaning procedure better. In such cases it may also be a good
idea to have your veterinarian anesthetize the dog and clean the ears before
any home therapy is done. This also allows your veterinarian the opportunity
to examine the ear more thoroughly.