Chronic ear infection - need some good adviceI

My 10 yr old bullie Lucy has had a chronic ear infection that comes and goes since mid June.  When infected the ear reeks of a cheesy smell (yeast) but there is a whiteish discharge that reminds me of cottage cheese.
The vet cultured the ear and said it was a bacterial infection and prescribed Clavamox - a 14 day treatment.  A thyroid test was also done and she was placed on a hypo allergenic diet using Purina HA.  The infection cleared up during the time the antibiotic was given and  the thyroid panel came back with no concerns.  About 2 weeks afterwards, now mid July the infection reoccured with the same symptoms, antoher thyroid test was given and another Rx of Clavomox was prescribed.  Same results - negative thyroid results and the infection cleared up.  
Now about mid- August the infection came back, I told the vet that I can't afford $75 at a clip for Clavamox and I am dissappointed that this keeps reoccuring.  The vet cave me a Rx for Cephalexin,  It is a 14 day supply that was part of the free meds from my pharmacy wellness program!
So far the same results, the ear infection has gone away.  The cottage cheese gunk is dry but remains in her ear. I remove what I can in the outer ear flap and flush her ear every other day.  The point being - the ear is sitll producing something but now in a waxy form - not wet.  The yeast odor is gone.

I am open to suggestions.  I'm not pleased that she has been on antibiotics for a long time, especially with limited results.  I am using Pharmaseb ear flush.  A friend that breeds cocker spaniels told me to try the homemade cocker flush substituting witch hazel for the alcohol and apple cider vinegar in place of white vinegar.  I'm reluctant to use this as it also contains a small amount of boric acid and betadine.

I am really frustrated with this chronic ear infection and don't understand why it keeps cominh back.  Through the course of being owned by Lucy we have had our share of yeast infections and other ailments typical to the breed.  I have never experienced a condition such as this that just won't go away.  I am also very displeased with my vet.  The clavamox was $75 a script.  When I voiced my concern about the cost with poor results free generic drugs were made available.  Looks like I will be shopping for a new vet!

Any guidance, help or useful suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  Also  - I live in the Pittsburgh, Pa area.  Should anyone here know of a breed specific ve in my area please let me know.  I have not found one - the ones I have called in my area tell me their expetise allows them to treat all breeds.


Kathy Chester Newman and Jessa's picture

I don't have a lot of experience with ear infections but...

I looked up the Purina HA and it is awful.  Read the ingredients and you will find the the major one is starch, not very healthy by any means.  A lot of vets sell these rx foods and think they are great, but they aren't.  I would change her to a good quality grain free food, maybe with a fish (salmon) protein or even duck.  They don't have rice or oatmeal which can be allergens, most have sweet potato as the carbohydrate.  Taste of the Wild is good, so is Natural Balance which is a little cheaper.  Or California Natural.  Look for a protein of 25% or close to it.  Our guys don't need high protein with their energy levels.  I know that a good grainfree food can help a lot of problems, yeast being one of them.  It's a good starting point.  Have you looked on the home page for vets in Pittsburgh?  I know they all say they know about bulldogs, but most don't.  If you have a bulldog club or know of a breeder, they might be able to steer you to a good vet.  

animal005's picture


Our Kilmore had bad ear infections throughout his life.  Finally after seeing a dermatologist we were able to get the ear infections under control.    We had to do a high dose of prednisone for a short time, cephalexin and they made us a special ear solution to use.  The ear solution was done twice a day then daily and then every other day.  He also had to have his ear drums popped due to fluid behind them, but they also saw his ear issues.  He had narrowing of the ear canal which lead the prednisone helped open them up.  I can't remember what the stuff was in his ear, but they got it cleared up.  So if you have a animal dermatologist around your area that would be my suggestion.  Good luck!


So sorry your girl is having

this problem. 

On the home page there is a list of Bulldog Vets, and one is in your area.

Marvin Godstein's The Nature of Animal Healing had a few suggestions:

Often a cleansing wash, conducted gently, will help. A classic natural acidifire is applecider vinegar; apply a dropperful of it in a dilute solution (a teaspoon of vinegar to 1/2 cup of distilled water) to the affected ear, massage gently from the outside so that the fluid circulates through the ear canal, then let the pet shake it out. 

He is also partial to an herbal ear wash called Halo which contains several herbal extracts. Perhaps you could google that.

Someone on this forum once reccommended Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution the hydrocortisone free. I keep that on hand. It was helpful when Kofi once had problems with her ears. I use it now and then still.

I hope this helps.


Kofi and Carol


One more thing,

since Clavamox is an antibiotic it has killed all bacteria, even the friendly. 

It is my understanding that will definitely cause yeast to grow. I always give Kofi probiotics after she has had a round of antibiotics. That helps replentish friendly bacteris. Her nose wrinkle can get very yeastie if she is not given these.

I'd start her on a good probiotic asap.


Kofi and Carol


Is it harmful to flush her

Is it harmful to flush her ear often to get rid of the dried gunk?  Often to me is every other day.  When things were back to normal I would flush her each once a week or on an as needed basis but made a point to do it once a week.
Can I give her probiotics while she is still taking the antibiotic?  I give her plain yogurt that I freeze as a treat once or twice a week.  I thought yougurt was a natural probiotic?

I'm not sure about flushing

her ear. I always saturate cotton balls and squeeze into Kofi's ear. She has never had severe ear problems.

Yogurt is good if it has live cultures, but is not as strong as probiotics, from what I understand. 

Does it kill the culture when you freeze it?

I don't give the probiotics while she is on antibiotics since I was told the antibiotic would kill the friendly bacteria.

I have limited experience, but I hope these suggestions provide some help.

Did you see the Vet listed in your city? I hope your girl can get relief soon. Don't we hate it when they are having a hard time of it?


Kofi and Carol


Fatboy's picture

I am starting to have the same problem with my Fatboy. We are

going to try coconut oil this time around.  The gal at our pet food store told us that it is better to use because virgin coconut oil has many health benefits AND is great at clearing ear infections naturally.  She said that you just scoop a tiny amount out of the jar with a spoon and let the VCO slide down their ear (because it will melt inside).  Fatboy has been given a small amount for taste and he loved it.  The pet store lady also mentioned that vets don't recommend VCO because they want you to keep buying prescriptions from them (which they get kick backs from).  I'm going to post a a separate question regarding this but I thought you'd might like to read up on it. 


Fatboy aka Stinky :)

That's great to know!

Kofi loves coconut oil, and I use it on her nose. I also give her about a teaspoon when I think of it. I think I'll try it to clean her ears next time.

Thanks for the tip!


Kofi and Carol


DiMacQ's picture

Our Riley was a rescue and

Our Riley was a rescue and had a problem with black gunk in her ears, nose rope and tail pocket.    By switching her to the raw food diet, it completely went away.   Now she has a bit of light brown wax in her ears, but a simple cleaning with a Q-tip in the outside folds of her ear is enough to keep her ears healthy.   It worked for us!

Best of luck.   It is soooooo hard to watch them suffer!

mrhig2004's picture


I think this has been the best advice you have received so far. My boy had chronic ears and ended up with narrow canals. This a much worse issue than the infections. A dermatologist will know what to do once and for all. My vet will not let me clean Mr. Higgins ears anymore. He does it every 2 weeks. All that cleaning solution is a medium that yeast and bacteria thrive in.

Best of luck.