The Ear Saga

I’ve had a few people ask about the full story behind all of the things I’ve been posting about Ranger on Twitter and Instagram this week, so I thought today would be a good day to explain what’s going on with our poor baby.

Ranger has had a cut on his ear that has been there for at least a year and a half. I actually blogged about it way back in July of 2011 when he was bleeding all over our duplex in College Station. We took him to the vet once or twice about it back then, but they told us ears just take a while to heal and there wasn’t much they could do. So, they bandaged him up and we crossed our fingers that it would heal.

And really, it kind of did. It would open up every once in a while, but it always promptly clotted and it was never really a huge issue. It’s been opening up on and off for the past year and a half, and we’ve just been dealing with in the best way we can. But last week, it opened up and got worse. We were concerned, so we called the vet and brought him in on Tuesday afternoon.

After looking at it, the vet told us that he had a bad ear infection that would require him to be put under to fix – they said that while he was under for the ear infection, they could also stitch up the cut. We agreed, left him there over night, and planned on picking him up in a few days.

Well, the next day we got a call that he was ready to come home. We were surprised, but headed to the vet to grab him anyways. We got the poor thing four steps into the house before he shook, opened up the cut, and started bleeding all over the place. He was home less than 3 minutes before Corey had to turn around and take him back to the vet.

Hadley sat at the door and cried for about 10 minutes.

The vet told us we could get him back for real on Saturday, since the stitches should have a good scab by then, so on Saturday afternoon after running some errands we went back to the vet to pick him up once again. As soon as he came out from the back, he saw us, got very excited, and shook.

Blood. Everywhere.

They immediately took him back once again (we went with them this time because Ranger wouldn’t let us leave his sight), and put some super glue on the ear to hopefully stop the bleeding and prevent it from happening again. They recommended that we get some liquid bandage stuff at the drugstore and keep an eye on him, and assured us that they didn’t think it would be a problem.

We got him home, applied the liquid bandage and…he shook.

I’m not even joking, there’s blood on my ceiling.

He was home closer to 10 minutes this time because we tried to figure out a way to stop the bleeding on our own, but in the end we realized it just wasn’t going to heal properly if he was at home with the other two dogs, playing and shaking constantly. So…Corey took him back to the vet.

This time? I sat on the floor and cried with Hadley.

We don’t know for sure yet when he’ll be able to come home, but the vet wants to make sure that it’s as healed as possible before we try it again. Apparently ear injuries are very difficult because of the blood vessels that are in the ear – he said they’re always a pain to figure out how to fix. We’re hoping that the stitches end up being an okay solution and once he has a chance to heal up a bit we’ll be good to go.

Really, I’m just hoping we get to bring him home soon. And that’s where we’re at right now – between Hadley’s ears being cropped and all of this with Ranger, we’ve been dealing with doggy ear issues in our house almost non-stop since September, so I’m just a little bit ready for this to all be over.

Have you ever had a problem with your pet that just wouldn’t go away?

11 comments

  1. Corinne says:

    I hope Ranger’s able to come home soon! I know how frustrating that kind of situation can be, so I hope your boy is able to relax enough that he can come home as soon as possible.

    Over the summer, Chloe had a horrible infection on her right front paw. It was so swollen, and between the four little toe pads and the big paw pad, that she couldn’t walk without being in pain. It took two draining attempts and finally one big surgery for her to heal. The post-surgery bandage kept slipping, so that had to be replaced three or four times before finally being tight enough that it didn’t move up and reveal the stitches (which she did rip out once). Oh, and now she’s showing signs of a similar infection on her left front paw :(

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  2. Bee says:

    Years ago my large and very energetic lab had to have surgery. The vet had strict instructions about keeping his movements to a minimum afterwards. We did our best, but he was a VERY active dog with a high tolerance for pain and sitting still was not something he wanted to do. It kept opening up and eventually we had to keep him on sedatives for a couple of weeks to keep him calm and slow. We were so happy when it healed. He acted so sad when he couldn’t play and be himself.

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  3. Sandi says:

    Poor Ranger and your other little guys who don’t understand what is going on. I hope it all comes to an end soon. It’s not fun when a home is missing a loved one. Good luck, A.

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  4. Brie E says:

    Amanda, this is awful! How frustrating to try take the poor guy to the one place you know is supposed to help and…nothing. I hope Ranger gets better soon- it’s hard to be away from your dogs!!

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  5. Emma says:

    I’m so sorry Ranger’s had to go on a puppy vacation for a little while! We had a similar issue with our Boxer, Kevin. We kenneled him at the vets when we went on vacation 2 years ago, and when we picked him up both of his ears were bleeding from the tips. It turned out that he was shaking his head in the kennel, and every time his ears touched the walls the tips were being scratched by the concrete and the tips ended up being skinned. One ear healed within about 2 months (he kept shaking his head or rubbing his face on the carpet and pulling the scabs off), but the other one took a total of about 13 months. He left blood EVERYWHERE. I was constantly cleaning the walls and spot-treating the carpets. We’d finally had enough when he shook his head one morning and there was suddenly a steady stream of blood pouring from the tip of it. We went back to the vet AGAIN asking for them to stitch or cauterize or SOMETHING…..and the only thing they would do was bandage it up. So for the next TWO months we wrapped his head. His ear got folded up on top of his head, then his entire head got wrapped in bandages and pinned in place. We had to unwrap and re-wrap a few times a day because it would come loose, but his ear was stationary and wrapped for 2 months straight. *touch wood* We’ve been OK with it ever since. We signed a contract when we had him kenneled that stated the vet was not responsible for any harm he may come to while there, so we had no recourse to have them do any work on him for free either – and we had him there for the ear issue about 5 times. Unfortunately the head-wrapping is the only way to keep the ear still and elevated. It may be harder for you to keep doing this though with another couple of dogs to help him unwrap it!

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    Amanda Reply:

    Oh man, that sounds pretty similar to what we’ve dealt with so far! We tried wrapping it once, and he wouldn’t leave it alone – it didn’t last more than a couple of hours. I spoke with the vet today and it sounds like it’s healing really well (they took his e-collar off today) and they’re thinking he can come home tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it stays healed!

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