February 20th, 2018
Life has gotten a bit complicated for Bailey lately. My suspicions about a possible ear infection were confirmed last week. Both ears were affected by this bacterial infection. She had been experiencing discomfort with our nightly ear cleaning. Vet appointments are difficult to get with the recent staff shortage forcing us to wait a few weeks to have Bailey seen. Living in a remote northern community with only one vet clinic can be frustrating at times. In the meantime, her ears were becoming more sensitive until she cried if they were touched. I was relieved when she was finally examined. Besides her ears, I showed the vet that three of her paws were red on the undersides. Testing showed that Bailey had a bacterial infection there as well. Medication was prescribed and the vet demonstrated how to administer it. Bailey wasn’t too thrilled with the procedure. She shook her head as soon as possible launching much of the medication out of her ear and onto us. The solution was to place a cotton ball where her ear lobe narrows for a couple of minutes while her ear was massaged to move the medication further down the ear canal. Her feet required a 5 minute dip in a container filled with water and antibacterial soap. For a water dog, Bailey was even less thrilled about this new procedure.
She was fine with the nightly grooming but, displeased when the tray appeared. Bailey seemed to think that sitting wedged in the corner of our entry would prevent the paw dip from happening. Our girl was wrong. My husband held her in place so she couldn’t bolt while I lifted each paw, one at a time, into the tray. Fifteen minutes later and her paws dried, Bailey needed no encouragement to go to her blanket. Between ear cleaning and paw dipping, the nightly groom session had become much longer. Bailey’s ear antibiotic was given an hour later after the cleaning. It involved me holding her head while wearing a headlamp so my husband could see clearly to insert the syringe and direct the medication into the ear canal. I followed this step by placing a cotton ball in her ear before the ear massage would begin. My husband cleaned and refilled the syringe to do the other ear. The process was repeated again. Bailey did not appreciate all of this extra attention. Any delay on my part to get the cotton ball would result in a vigorously shaking of her head. Ear gunk and the meds would splatter on the sofa, wall and more often, us. Bailey was making it just as unpleasant for us as it was for her.
But, night after night, the three of us resigned ourselves to the procedure. The ears are improving which is a good sign. The paws are not. She goes back for a follow-up vet appointment next Monday. The vet had suggested that the underlying cause might be food allergies if these infections do not clear up. It would mean putting Bailey on a special kibble and nothing else – no treats or plate licks – to determine food sensitivities. Our sweetness loves food and is not likely to embrace this “special” diet for 2 months. But, a healthy Newfoundland dog is more important. The family will do what must be done to get her back to normal again.