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    1. #1
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      garball's Avatar
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      physiological side effects of ear infections?

      My boys, like a lot of labs from what I've read, like to harbor chronic ear infections. Chief's (yellow) will clear up faster, but he gets them more often; Duke (chocolate) will get much longer lasting ones that seem to be deeper in the ear. We are diligent in cleaning them and our vet gave us an ointment to use once or twice a week (can't recall the name). This isn't the first go round with the infections and the vet; same instructions every time.

      Anyway, if it's related all, Chief doesn't seem to be too bothered by the infection; his mood never really changes. Duke, on the other hand, has completely changed. In previous posts I mentioned that we have a baby (now seven months) and Duke went through some attitude changes with not wanting to go outside and fetch. Well, now we can get him to chase a ball or two at full speed and that's about it. He won't compete with Chief for the retrieve and often doesn't make it half way to the dummy.

      Lots of head shaking and slow movement makes me think this chronic infection is affecting his overall behavior. Any insight on this?
      My boys Duke and Chief
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  • #2
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    The chronic ear infection may be causing him to feel dizzy and nauseous.
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  • #3
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    I guess that's a hard one to figure out. Our older dog died last summer but he was never much of a ball retriever, or anything else for that matter. When we got the younger girl, we thought maybe he'd decide he needed to run or swim after balls once he had a little competition but nope. Maybe it's just Duke's personality and it has just changed as he's gotten older, not from ear infections, not from the baby, just because he was going to mellow out anyway.

    Or, as Sue-Ram suggests, maybe an infection is causing him to feel off balance, dizzy, or in pain and less interested in doing those things. What do you think is causing the chronic infections? If you could get it cleared up for a period of time you could see if his behavior changes for the better at all.

    Our first dogs were boxers, not dogs who ever went swimming, and one of them had chronic ear infections. We ended up having her get surgery to open up the ear canal some on the bad side (TECA). Aside from scratching and head shaking, I don't remember her personality being an issue, she was a happy, silly girl all the time. I'm pretty sure one of PopTop's dogs had to get TECA surgery as well, maybe her Bandit. Maybe she can comment on whether the infections effected his behavior, too. When our labs have had ear infections I pretty much don't know from their behavior.

    Chronic ear infections and the TECA | petMD

  • #4
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    If your dog is eating chicken kibble, I would try a fish diet for a change.

  • #5
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    Dog Ear Infection and Inflammation | petMD

    This may help explain some problems with the ear infections.
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  • #6
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    Duke used to be a tough, dominant go-getter. Now, at 5 years old, he is much more lathargic, slightly overweight, and is submissive to his brother of another color.

    Im trying to find the root cause of all this.

  • #7
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    Frequent ear infections can cause the inner ear tissues to thicken. There may be a deep infection that medication is not reaching and also causing him discomfort and/or dizziness. Bandit had this problem so I took him to a specialist.
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  • #8
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    Did Bandit's personality completely change with his infection? I can tell that Duke's infections go deeper than Chief's and are usually more bloody. I often don't think the drops and massaging of the ear is thorough enough?

  • #9
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    If Duke's infections are deep and bloody, you need to get to the bottom of what is causing his infection, since the ointment you are using isn't curing the ear infection. Ear infections are VERY painful for dogs (and Humans!) so I would not mess around with his painful ear infections with kids in the house, he may be grumpy and strike out in pain and bite your child due to no fault of his own. I had a incredibly allergic Labrador years ago, and he had chronic ear infections, but they never bled?

    He may require anesthesia and a deep ear cleaning, and possibly the procedure Sue mentioned to open his ear canal, and correct medications (culture and sensitivity to determine the right medication) to cure his ears, then an effective maintenance program. Chicken is often an ingredient that can enhance ear infections/sensitivities in dog ears, so Jen's suggestion of changing their protein is also a good strategy. You owe it to him (both of your dogs) to help him lead a pain free life, since he cannot take care of himself.

    I have a bunch of Labradors (all girls) and they swim a lot even in the winter, and not one of them has a problem with ear infections, they eat chicken and corn too. Go figure. :-)

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  • #10
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    I'm assuming the rust colored crap I'm getting out of his ears is blood? It's weird; there is no correlation between swimming, dry weather, heat, cold, etc. Their ears will get better and then get infected again, and it's usually their right ear that gets it worse.

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