I think Scout’s ear infection might be back. Sigh.
For the past couple days, she has woken me up at night, flopping her ears back and forth. This is not a good sign. Also, Scout used to sleep through the night without a problem–heck, she’d snore loud enough to wake the neighbors. This hasn’t been the case since we’ve started dealing with her ear infection troubles. (And consequently may also be why I haven’t been sleeping well too.) We have cleaned her ears once since completing her ear treatment, and it looked great. I checked it yesterday, and it was dirty again. Maybe a week had passed since her cleaning. Maybe less.
This is quickly becoming an ongoing problem. Since October 2011, Scout has had two confirmed infections, one in both ears and one in a single ear. Now we might be dealing with another. Not only is it getting expensive, with hundreds of dollars going to the vet visits and medicine, but it’s painful for her, and that’s the worst part. We’ll pay what we have to to keep Scout healthy, but we’re tired of seeing her in such discomfort.
So, feeling troubled, tired, and frustrated, I did what I do when I’m stressed about something. I did some research.
The first place I visited, a vet’s blog, gave semi-good info that basically told me nothing I didn’t already know and that Scout needed to be evaluated. It also had some gnarly photos of poor animals in foul shape that I didn’t really feel like seeing, so I left there quickly.
The next place I found was a blog called Itchmo: News for Dogs and Cats. There I found an account of Labrador Harvey and his rancid gas. Hmm. That sounded like Scout, whose gas is famous in our house and has been especially bad lately. (Last night, I thought we wouldn’t be able to sleep her gas was so putrid smelling.) They called it Labra-Gas, aka Bio-terrorism. Ha! At least this had me laughing. I continued reading. Harvey was much worse off than Scout, and they tried many things. One caught my attention: They added yogurt to his food.
Back when Scout was little, we mixed her food with yogurt at the suggestion of her breeder. She adored it. We stopped at the age we were instructed to (I can’t remember it now), and kind of forgot about it. So there’s one idea: Return to the yogurt. Check. This approach didn’t work for Harvey, who it turned out was lactose intolerant, but we know Scout’s safe on that front.
I kept reading. They eventually decided to put Harvey on a special “elimination” diet, meaning you eliminate the everyday food items (rawhides and treats, chicken, pork, beef, corn, etc. in dog foods) and then see what happens. They put Harvey on Wellness Whitefish and Sweet Potato food. I was happy to see this because Scout is currently on Wellness’s adult chicken food. She received Wellness as a puppy too, so she’s got a history with the food. (Zoey’s on Wellness too.)
Harvey’s ears cleared up within two weeks of switching food, and his owner’s even created a spreadsheet to document which foods they reintroduced and eliminated again when Harvey’s ears flared back up. Turned out the common link was brewer’s yeast. Makes sense when you think about the fact that Scout’s ear infections are caused by the build-up of yeast in her ear canals.
Admittedly my research is in the baby stages, but I’m feeling much better after reading about Harvey’s experience. We should be able to switch Scout’s food to the whitefish version without buying specialty diet food and spending more than we’re accustomed to since we’re already buying Wellness, and I’m eager to see how much of a difference it may make for her. So next on the docket is: yogurt and Wellness Whitefish and Sweet Potato food. And no more (for the time being) rawhides. Scout will be so depressed…