I promised a pupdate and here it is:
The bad news
When we went to see the vet last week on Tuesday, it was supposed to be for an ear flush.
This did not happen.
It turns out that Nuala’s ears are too far gone. Due to her allergies, the tissue in her ear has developed inflammatory polyps. This is not restricted to the external ear tissue, but extends right down the ear canal. What’s worse, her polyps were calcifying.
As a result, the vet could not flush her ears and when we saw him in the evening, he indicated that we should stop the topical antibiotic. The ear was so closed, there was no point. None of the medication could get to the source of the infection.
Though Nuala received her annual vaccinations, there really wasn’t much they could do that day.
The blood work we’d had done from our last visit was returned and showed that Nuala’s kidney and liver enzymes were still within normal ranges. Her liver enzymes had actually improved.
The recommended treatment, as the article linked above indicates, is ablation. This is a surgical procedure in which all the polyps are resected, and, because of the number of growths in the ear canal, removal of the canal altogether.
Unfortunately, there is no one in town that does these procedures on a regular basis. Once again, we’d have to travel a minimum of four hours away to get the surgery.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, this is not an option for Phil and me. We can’t just take vacation when we want and taking unpaid leave would be a hardship. Nu does not travel well, and would have to be sedated there and back. Plus, she’s officially a senior now, and the complications of surgery are increased.
Two other options were presented, cyclosporine and prednisone. The first was shown to be effective in a very small sample of canine patients. The second is effective, but would have an effect on her liver and kidneys. It would also cause an increase in her appetite and thirst, but Phil and I figured we’d be okay with this since Nu had lost so much weight recently.
Fortunately, prednisone would likely be a short term, or at worst, periodic treatment. That’s what we opted for and went home with a new, more powerful, oral antibiotic and enough prednisone for two weeks, at which time we have another follow up booked.
Oh, the vet said on the way out, you know she’s deaf now, right?
The good news
By the time we were on the second day of treatment, we noticed a marked improvement in Nuala. She was once again, behaving like her normal, healthy self and eating again.
Even my mom noticed a night and day difference in her behaviour.
Pus started running out of her right ear again, the one that was, by far, the worst. We’re just using the EDTA ear wash to keep her ears clean. We also noticed that she was not deaf, or at least not completely.
We reported this to the vet and he is sceptical, but when a sleeping dog in another room is summoned by the sound of the opened fridge door, she can hear.
Since then, her ears have continued to improve. The pus has stopped running, but we now figure that it’s the new antibiotic that’s provided relief. She’s no longer shaking her head or losing her balance. Her ears are perky again, with only the tips of them, where her aural haematomas are, folded over and malformed.
We have hope that by the time the two-week check up is due, her situation will improve enough for a flush (if that’s still indicated).
So, we’re happy with our decision and hopeful for the future health of our furbaby.
Nuala is notoriously camera-shy. When she sees me coming with the phone or camera, she turns in the other direction, which is why I generally only get pictures of her when she’s sleeping or has her back turned. I was able to manage this picture with the help of a biscuit.