general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?
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Thread: general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

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    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    Defaultgeneral anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

    Theo was at the vet, and in the course of the exam she mentioned that he has one ear that seems to have a "lot of plugged-up gunk" down by the ear drum. This ear has been infected a few times, and we've been flushing it weekly to get rid of this plug. Although the rest of the ear (what we can see) is spic and span, the deep plug doesn't seem to be improving. She said that it can be removed manually, the same way that people have their ears cleaned, but it would require general anaesthesia. Apparently because the vet has to work very close to the eardrum, it's too dangerous if they're awake (since they are likely to shift and struggle).

    I asked how necessary it was, because I don't like to do anaesthesia unless it's really necessary. She said that the risk was continued ear infections, and possibly a ruptured eardrum.

    Has anyone else been through this? What do you think? At the moment he's not fussing too much or shaking his head, but this ear has given him trouble in the past.

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  3. #2
    jlab Guest

    DefaultRe: general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

    Yes, I had one lab that went through just about every ear cleaning known to modern veterinary medicine.

    The procedure that cleared it up entirely was when they manually removed the debris with microtweezers inserted through a special otiscope while under general anaesthesia. This was an old school vet who had practiced for over 30 years. He told me that he had tried every treatment/procedure over the years and this was the only procedure that would completly clear up the problem and he was right! Only problem was that this was the only vet I found that had the special otiscope/microtweezers to perform this manual procedure. After he retired, all the other vets I went to either said that they didn't want to invest in the special instruments to use this procedure or they even if they had these instruments, they didn't feel like they had enough experience to use them.

    The worst was when they applied this special ear flush also under general anaesthesia. This caused both ears to fill up with blood and it took a month for him to recover. Of course that vet took no responsibility for that claiming that my lab just had sensitive ear canals. I would never allow any vet to use this flushing method again on any of my labs.

    There's a bit of contradiction here from your vet. She said that "it can be removed manually, the same way that people have their ears cleaned,". People get their ears cleaned with hydrogen pyroxide to penetrate and loosen the impacted wax and then they ear canal is flushed out with a warm water stream. I would ask her if she is going to use the otiscope/microtweezer manual method or the ear flush method. The otiscope/microtweezer procedure is the best and I would have no problem having this done on my labs even with the required general anaesthesia. But there is no way I would allow them to use that flushing method ever again! I'd definately pay the extra fee for an ear specialist who uses the otiscope/microtweezer procedure if I couldn't find a regular vet who would perform this procedure.

    Please post what procedure the vet wants to use and what you finally end up doing.

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    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

    Thanks so much for responding! I very well could have misunderstood what the vet said, and could be communicating it incorrectly. Now that I think of it, she might have compared the procedure she *doesn't* do to what humans usually get. ??? Sigh--I'm going to have to call her back. Anyway, she said she uses "ear loops" and an otoscope. So it sounds similar to what your vet did.

    I appreciate your thorough response.

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    Snowco Labradors is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

    An all natural way to remove plugs is : This is from a friend that has one of our pups-she is also an author for Whole Dog Journal so she does tons of research on all holistic methods.

    Stacey Hershman (Chloe's vet) recommends a pinch of boric acid in each
    ear just to keep things acidic, and if the dog has an active infection, her
    preference is a pinch of boric acid followed by Pellitol, a pink drying
    ointment that you fill the ear canal with. It takes about a week to dry and fall
    out, and it takes all kinds of junk and debris with it. We used this with Chloe
    twice when she was a puppy with excellent results. Both times she had a wax
    plug deep in the ear, and the Pellitol pulled it out.


    You may want to go to a holistic vet and ask about the above method.

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    theoconbrio is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

    Thanks. Boric acid is the old-fashioned method, but I hadn't heard of Pellitol. I'll look into it.

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    YellowJakesMom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

    Nathan the vet I worked for used the loop and otoscope procedure often on dogs with chronic ear problems (cough, labs, cough) He just did it under heavy sedation though - not anesthesia. Maybe that would be an option instead?

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

  9. #7
    jlab Guest

    DefaultRe: general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

    Snowco, Did you apply the Pellitol yourself or does a vet have to do it?

    Can you use it to remove debris for a partially blocked ear or is it just for worst case impacted wax? I would guess that it would block all hearing in the treated ear for the whole week it's in there.

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    mattgusmum is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

    Have you tried an ear candle? (j/k) ;D

    Won't someone please feed me!

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    Snowco Labradors's Avatar
    Snowco Labradors is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

    Quote Originally Posted by theoconbrio
    Thanks. Boric acid is the old-fashioned method, but I hadn't heard of Pellitol. I'll look into it.
    I just had another email from the person regarding the holistic method and she tells me it is the Pellitol that releases the plug not the boric acid. I would ask about using the two or just the Pellitol on its own if you speak with a holistic vet.

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    Snowco Labradors's Avatar
    Snowco Labradors is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: general anaesthesia to remove ear gunk?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlab
    Snowco, Did you apply the Pellitol yourself or does a vet have to do it?

    Can you use it to remove debris for a partially blocked ear or is it just for worst case impacted wax? I would guess that it would block all hearing in the treated ear for the whole week it's in there.
    I have not needed to do this but one of our pup buyers had her holisitc vet do it. I think you may have to get the Pellitol from the vet. Not sure if it is an over the counter product.

    I honestly don't know much about this method and the reason I mentioned that OP should speak to a holistic vet about it.

    Not sure either about it blocking all hearing. But I would think a plug would do that anyway if left untreated so the above method, while it may block hearing, would eventually clear up the problem.

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