Most people who know me know that I am into running and exercise and I have been since college. While in vet school, I came across a high energy, high fiber “running muffin” recipe. For about six months I ate these muffins for breakfast, lunch and snacks, (they were really tasty).
At about the same time I began to develop ear impactions. A couple times the pain was so great that I had to go to emergency rooms. The PA would flush out these bullion cubes of ear wax and I eventually learned to do it myself when the need arose.
Eventually, I got sick of the muffins and stopped making them. It was a while later I noticed I had not had an ear impaction since stopping the muffin ritual, my first experience with a diet/ear connection.
Early and throughout my veterinary career I have seen many, many dogs and cats with chronic, recurring ear infections. In every case where mites and specific injury, (soap, chlorine or swamp water in the ear, etc.), is ruled out, these chronic ears are filled with yeast, an opportunistic, easily killed organism.
Why doesn’t it go away with treatment? These ears, when treated with allergy medications or hypoallergenic diets, would always improve where years of ointments and pills had failed.
Recently, a study was completed which concluded that roughly 60 percent of ear infections in dogs are related to diet. Not floppy ears, breed, hairy ears or anything else. Diet. Even predisposed breeds (cockers, labs) improved with dietary modification.
Diets are widely available nowadays, with human-grade ingredients and no grains – corn and wheat are two big causes of allergic otitis – at most pet stores. Individual dogs may have their own hypersensitivity, and vitamin/mineral and essential fatty acid also play a role, so the specific diet should be developed with your vet’s input.
Long story short, educate yourself on just what you are feeding your pet and improve it if you can. The benefit to your pet may reach well beyond just a pet enjoying their new food: better coat, healthy ears, skin, teeth and improved immune system function and energy, not to mention lower vet bills.