View Full Version : Question for vets

03-02-2003, 03:48 PM
I am looking at getting a pup here in a month or so. My last yellow had a sever problem with swimmers ear. It got so bad i couldn't even train him in the summer time. I have done about all I can to purchase a top quality pup eyes hips etc. I am concerned about swimmers ear though. Is it hereditary at all? "Kodi's" allergies seemed to get worse as he aged and so did his ears. Are there any secrets to avoiding ear problems? Thanks

03-03-2003, 11:26 AM

When you say swimmers ear do you mean she got ear infections after swimming? Was she diagnosed with a condition? Or does she just shake her head from side to side when she swims to get the water out?

I am not a vet but I have seen dogs that do not like water in their ears and will shake their heads as they swim. If it is an actual diagnosis then I would say that you may want to ask the breeder if the dam or sire have any history of ear trouble or aversion to water in the ears during retrieves.

Generally dogs will shake from head to tail upon exiting the water and this removes the water from the ears but a weekly ear check for mites and "gunk" is also a good idea.

I have not seen a certification for ears in retrievers, like there is for hips and eyes. Those are based on proven genetic traits that are often passed on through breeding. Obviously they are not prefered and that is why they are tested for. This may not be a true genetic trait. Just something your dog has. The HRCH dam of my BLF hates the water and will shake her head vigoursly as she swims, but none of her pups do.

Again I am not a vet but I hope this helps.

03-03-2003, 03:17 PM
Interesting question. "Swimmers Ear" is not a diagnosis that I use in vet. med., however many dogs do get otitis externa (common ear infection) from heavy swimming. The dog has a horizontal as well as a vertical ear canal (unlike humans). The dogs canals make an almost 90 degree angle prior to hitting the ear drum. This odd piece of anatomy allows for water (and bacteria/yeasts...) to sit down in the ear without being exposed to the air, it also makes it hard for the dog to shake out all of the water, and bacteria. This often sets up dogs (particularily swimmers) for infections. They certainly do make topical astringents (drying agents) to help with these problems. Since this is not a medical forum, we will not get into treatments. I will leave that for your vet and you to speak about, after the puppy comes! As you have seen, Allergies CAN play a major role in this disease process(the ear is a simple extension of the skin).
In terms of genetics, and your puppy, otitis is not believed to be a "genetic" problem. Particular breeds DO have a predisposition for ear problems, but in my opinion, I would not say, that otitis is a genetic problem. I would say that particular animals may be predisposed to ear problems.
Please note, this is my opinion, and we are not speaking about a particular problem, If you have a question concerning a specific disease process and the ears, please ask,the answer may be different.
It may be a good idea to have your veterinarian take a good look at the puppy prior to you taking her/him home.
Hope this helped in some way, good luck with the pup,

03-03-2003, 05:33 PM

Thanks for the advice. I plan on taking the pup to my vet before the final purchase. One last question:
"Is there a telltale sign in a six or seven week pup that I may look for that might lead to allegies/ ear problems down the road?"

Once again, Thanks

03-04-2003, 02:27 PM
Short of allergy testing (which is not something one would do to a non symptomatic puppy) I would suggest that unless the mother is super allergic, or if the puppy is already showing signs of allergic skin disease, it would be hard to predict a future allergy. (even if the bitch was really itchy, it would not mean 100% that the pup would be allergic!)