Sleeping with a sixty pound bundle of black and tan fur on the bed can be challenging, sleeping with one who is chronically shaking his head throwing dollops of drool around the room like rain falling in the rainforest is impossible. Then, just when the head shaking stops and you heave a huge sigh of relief, thinking “finally” you’re both going to get some sleep, the ground thumping, bed shaking, digging for gold in his ear starts, and the digging is, of course, accompanied by moans and groans and other bizarre and spooky sounds that bring the kids running from their room to yours screaming that the creature from the lagoon is in the house somewhere preparing to attack. My best advice to you, given this scenario, is that you should never, ever raise your Gordon Setter’s ear flap to have a “look see” at what’s wrong in there, because at night, in the dark, without outside ventilation to chase it away, the smell that wafts out from under that ear flap will send you running for the nearest exit and will ruin the rest of your night’s sleep unless you’re a zombie who thinks dead, decaying body odor is homey!
Yep, your Gordon Setter has an ear infection, and it’s probably another ear infection, and I’ll bet you’ve tried just about every cure you’ve been handed and still the trouble persists. Well I’m not here to sell you anything, no new-fangled products on my shelves, no 800 number to dial and you won’t hear “wait, there’s more…if you dial in the next 10 seconds we’ll give you 2 more widgets for the incredibly low price of …” What I will do is share a remedy that I swear is priceless. Since I started using this stuff over 10 years ago my Gordon Setters have all been completely clear of ear infections, and that is close to a miracle in long-eared breeds. In addition to being a cure for ear infections, the Purple Stuff (as I call it) can and should be used as your dog’s regular ear cleaner. Did I mention that it’s also cheap?
The recipe that follows is for a large bottle, simply divide the amounts to create a smaller bottle to fit the number of dogs you own.
- 16 oz witch hazel or isopropyl alcohol
- 4 tablespoons boric acid powder
- 16 drops gentian violet solution (1% solution) You may need to ask for this at the pharmacy counter if it is not on the shelf, and in some instances the pharmacist may not have it in stock but will order for you. It’s inexpensive so don’t worry about a huge price tag.
(Gentian violet has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is commonly used to treat Thrush in babies and small children. It is also a bright purple or violet color, you won’t mistake it for something else.)
DIRECTIONS: Mix all the ingredients together in a resealable bottle and shake to mix. Remember to shake well before each use.
Use a dropper to fill the ear canal with the solution. Put a cotton ball (I like those little square make up pads better but you get my drift) at the edge of the ear to hold the solution in the canal while you massage the base of the ear to move the solution deep into the ear canal. If this is the first treatment you may need to reload the ear with the solution more than once to completely flush all the dirt and debris, wiping the ear after filling with solution until it is completely cleaned.
If using Purple Stuff to clear an active infection you must use it twice a day for two full weeks. Fill each ear canal with the solution, rub the ear a bit to get the solution down in to the canal and simply allow the dog to shake the remainder of the solution free – be aware that staining from the dye can occur, though I’ve never had a problem with this. After the initial two weeks of treatment cleaning your dog’s ears with the Purple Stuff once monthly is generally adequate for maintenance.
And that’s it! No gimmicks, nothing expensive, no standing on your head while offering a prayer to some dog-eared Goddess, oh, and best of all you get a sound night’s sleep! It’s simply a good home remedy that dog lovers and have learned to trust, especially for those stubborn infections that refuse to heal.
Till next time friends…
Sally Gift, Mesa AZ
Gordon Setter Photo “Fiona” by Susan Roy Nelson