INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE STORY --- UNCLOTTED BLOOD IN A DOG'S EAR
happen in threes. This is the first of the
3 "blood-related" incredible but true
stories about my experiences in seeing
blood with no apparent cause, within a
period of 2 months in April and May 2008.
The old dog had been having ear pain and
discharge and weepy left eye for some
months. As the owner wanted to put the dog
to sleep, I arranged for the dog transport
man to bring the dog to my surgery. His
wife objected to getting rid of the dog by
So, the dog was treated. The owner
requested his skin growths to be removed.
After that I advised the owner to bring
the dog back for the ear surgery in 7
days' time as that was the primary
problem. At the 7th day, the gentleman
phoned: "I will wait a few more days." I
A few days later, he phoned saying that
there was blood inside the dog's left ear.
I got the dog transport man to send the
dog. Yes, there were fresh unclotted blood
in the dog's left ear. The blood was red
but would never clot. Now all blood will
clot in a normal dog. But the blood simply
pool in the ear canal, as if
it had anti-clotting drugs given to it.
The dog must be scratching its ear and has
self-inflicted damage to the ear. Yet,
normally, there would be an aural
haematoma - a swelling of the ear flap.
This was just fresh unclotted blood inside
the ear canal.
I sent the dog back on antibiotics and
scheduled to operate 7 days later. This
time the owner kept his appointment. Yet
there was still unclotted blood inside the
left ear. I took a picture for readers to
During surgery, I could see grey globules
of cells inside the horizontal and middle
canals. They could be ear cancerous cells.
I did not do a histopathology as it would
add up to the veterinary costs and it
served no purpose for the owner. All
owners want are least cost.
The vertical ear canal was removed. Hard
as a rock. I had to use a bone cutter to
Tearing left eye and painful left
ear for many months. Hair on body
dropped. The owner wanted the skin
tumours to be removed first.
||Skin tumours removed. The dog was
to come for ear surgery soon. But
there was no smelly ear. The owner
postponed the surgery.
||The owner postponed the appointment
for surgery on Apr 9, 2008.
Blood clotted in the ear canal. The
dog went home. Blood appeared in the
ear canal in large amounts but did
||Unclotted blood appeared daily in
the ear canal for at least 7 days
after going home. The owner decided
to get the surgery done on May 8,
||The calcified vertical ear canal
ablation surgery plan.
|The vertical ear canal is isolated
from the surrounding tissues. Hard
as a piece of rock.
||Grape-like grayish ear canal cells
clogged the vertical and horizontal
canals. They appeared cancerous.
Salivation for 2 days after
The owner's wife wanted the dog
home. On day 9, the dog was sent
home. But he disallowed the owner to
clean his ear. The ear swelled and
the operation area got infected.
Story continues in:
Vertical Ear Canal Ablation surgery in the dog - Part 2. Chronic
owner's wife came to visit the dog on the
3rd day after surgery. She wanted the dog
home after surgery. This was not advisable
as the dog's ear needed careful nursing to
prevent infection and stitch breakdown.
Owners seldom are able to do the nursing
but they lack experience and may be bitten
by the dog.
Once the stitches break down, there would
be a big hole and the owner would construe
that the vet is incompetent, as owners
seldom blame themselves for the poor
outcome of a surgery.
In such a situation, I would advise that
the husband be advised as the husband had
not asked for the dog to be discharged.
Ideally, the wound should be healed first
and that would take 14 days at least.
However, to save on veterinary costs, the
dog was discharged on day 9. After a few
days, the owner sent the dog back as the
dog had a swollen area in front of his
surgery. The dog had been scratching and
the horizontal canal opening had not been
cleaned. The dog just would not permit the
owner to do it.
So, another 10 days of stay and more
veterinary expenses including the cost of
several trips by the dog transport man.
Fortunately, this was an owner who was
able and willing to pay the expenses which
could amount to a big sum in view of the
to-and-fro of the dog and the
Vertical ear canal ablation needs a lot of
nursing. It would have been cheaper to
just let the dog stay at the surgery for
14 days and let the wound be cleaned daily
by the veterinary assistant. The dog was
quite fed up with the ear cleaning which
must be painful for him. But he was
muzzled and was more well behaved.
On the 9th day of nursing, before going
home, I saw him wagging his tail when I
examined him. As if he was happy to be
free of his chronic ear pain. He was the
ideal patient. A dog with no bark and
bites only when he could not tolerate the
pain of cleaning his wound.
As for the appearance of unclotted blood
in his left ear for around 7 days, this
was a mystery to me. Did the cancerous
cells inside the hardened vertical ear
canal produce an anti-clotting chemical or
was there some divine significance? Why
did the blood appear in the first place
and where was its source? Some questions
have no answer.
Vertical Ear Canal Ablation surgery in the dog - Part 2. Chronic
EAR PROBLEMS IN
DOGS IN SINGAPORE
Ear pain and scratching all the time is a cause for concern but the owner
usually thinks that the groomer will be able to resolve the problem. It
appears cheaper to consult the groomer than the veterinarian.
However, many visits to the groomer to clean
dog's ears at $50/visit or self-treatment
without cure will be
more costly over several
The dog's ear canals get hardened like a
rock over time. Black pigments and
crocodile-like skin present themselves outside
the ear canals. These are not normal. Surgery will then be necessary as in
Dogs with floppy or hairy ears suffer from ear
pain as their ear canals are covered up by the
ear flap or filled with too many ear hairs.
There is no ventilation or drainage.
Water and shampoo fill the ear canal during
bathing once a week. Bacteria, yeast and fungus
love this moist environment. As the
owner shampoos the dog, the canals get clogged
up with water and shampoo. Some groomers pour
ear powder into the ear canal to "kill" the
smell and dry up the ear. The owner pours more
ear drops into the canal believing that the ear
drops will cure the problem. The dog tries to
run away every time but cannot.
After several years, the ear canals get
ulcerated, hardened and cells turn into
cancerous. Some vets prescribe more drugs and
steroids as the owner may not want to pay the
money for the surgery. So the vets don't mention
about this surgery. It is relatively expensive
compared to putting some ear drops and cleaning
the ears, sending the dog home with drugs and
attend to the next case. Surgery and anaesthesia
take up a lot of time. Such time can be better
spent doing ten consultations. Therefore, it is
up to the owner's sophistication and education
to do what is best for their dog in
long-standing ear infections known as chronic
Some of my surgical ear cases are at:
Ear Canal Resection
surgery in a Miniature Schnauzer
with hairy ears.