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Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that most of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinary medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.
Archived Message
Help! Is the vet right?
by Marsha O & Jazz
Started on 11-22-97
I took Jazz to the vet yesterday for a look at his ears. He had started scratching at them a lot, and they look inflamed. I also detected an odor. The vet got his scope (sorry, I don't know the correct term for it), and tried briefly to look in one of Jazz's ears. He then told me that the Maltese's ear canal is too small for the scope. He said he would need to anesthetize Jazz to look in his ears. Since I don't recall ever hearing anything like that on this site, I said no, and asked what else he would recommend. He sent us home with some Derma-Vet (package insert says it will treat mites, bacterial infection, fungus, and yeast). He also cautioned that, if there is any damage to the ear drum from infection, that the ointment can penetrate with a risk of hearing loss. But, he couldn't determine if there is damage without anesthetizing. He told me what to watch for that might indicate damage to eardrum (reverse sneezing when putting the ointment in Jazz's ears, or any reaction of pain). I have used the ointment on him twice now (last night and this morning), with no reaction. Has anyone else been told that the Maltese ear canal is too small to use a scope, or had anesthesia recommended to determine eardrum involvement before treatment? The vet has me quite concerned about ear treatment without determining this, but I cannot imagine risking anesthesia when it may not be necessary. Advice, please?
Hi Marsha, sorry to hear about Jazz' ear problems. It could be either a simple yeast infection (most commonly from getting water in ears) or could be mites. Would rather discuss before recommending treatment. Please email or call - you have the phone number.
Larry Stanberry 11-23-97
Marsha, I just had Carty in for an ear infection--granted he's a big guy--but no one suggested anything other than a good look in his ears while he was awake and with the usual available ear-looking-into equipment. Also a couple of months ago, I had a foster baby that arrived with infections in both ears. He was a 6 pounder. My vet also looked into his ears with the "scope" (I don't know what it's called either.) Neither time was there any suggestion that there is a problem looking into Maltese ears. I took a 3 pound toy poodle in this summer for a check right after we found her wandering up the middle of the street in our neighborhood, practically starved to death, and the vet looked in her ears using the "scope." And, since babyhood, Lucy's ears have been checked in the normal way during her routine vet visits (if a 1.5 lb pup wouldn't have teeny ear canals, who would?) I think you might want to check this out with another vet, unless there is something unusual about Jazz's ears that you haven't been told.
cathy brown 11-23-97
The instrument is called an otoscope. Oto refers to the ear. I've never been told the vet couldn't see the ear canal, but then Comet has not had an ear infection. He is bathed by the groomer often and I don't think anything is placed in the ear to keep out water. I purchased the Grooming video and that groomer didn't put anything in and used an ear wash solution to cleanse the ear. I wondered about that, so anxious to read what others will have to say.
Halen 11-23-97
Marsha, all of our babies have always had their ears checked the normal way, i.e. without anaesthesia -- I have never before heard of a vet suggesting this was necessary. Perhaps otoscopes come in different sizes and this vet doesn't have one the correct size for a toy dog, maybe it is just too much trouble for him, or maybe he is just trying to boost his income. In any case, I would try another vet!
Deanna (Moose & Squirrel) 11-24-97
My vet checked Alex's ears the normal way and the first time he did it, Alex was 2 lbs 5 oz. I never heard you need anesthesia to do that. I kind of think like Deanna that your vet wants to boost his income. I would try another vet.
Janine 11-25-97
Marsha, did your vet mean that the ear canal was physically to small to us the otoscope, or did he mean that the ear canal was so swollen ( Do to inflamation ) that he could not look inside the ear with the otoscope.
DL 11-25-97
Thank you for your replies, they are most helpful. DL, the vet said that the Maltese, as a breed, have ear canals too small to be examined with an otoscope (and now I know what it's called!). It sounds from these replies, as I suspected, that is not true. I will be looking for another vet.
Marsha O & Jazz 11-26-97
My Maltese, Casper, at one time was scratching his ears alot. The area was red. The vet gave me some ear solution to help with the wax. A groomer told me that the wax can build up from the hair, he yanked all the hairs from his ears and Casper didn't budge. Since then, Casper hasn't had any problems. Oh by the way, This is my first post to the list.
Lysette 11-26-97
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