Natural Cures for Inner Ear Polyps
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Julia Gledrie
Posted on: June 19, 2007

My miniature poodle Goldie is 13 years old and has for some time been having ear troubles, for which the vet either gave her antibiotics or Surolan ear drops, sometimes both together, stating it was a Yeast/ear infection.

On the 1st March 07, about 9:30 pm Goldie was walking around when she suddenly collapsed. She looked a bit mesmerised but after a couple of minutes she got up and seemed able to walk, in fact we took her straight up the garden for a pee and she walked back to the house okay. However when we got back in she seemed funny again: couldn’t seem to walk, her balance just wasn’t there and her eyes were rolling everywhere as was her head. Her head tilted to one side (still is) and she just wasn’t with it at all, so I immediately called the vet who said it could be an ear infection or a stroke and that I should bring her in in the morning.

The next morning the vet said her condition could be called a stroke but its proper name is "vestibular" and gave her a steroid and vitamin injection and asked that she be brought in the next day for a check up. The vet also asked us to come back in a few days to look at her ear under sedation and gave her antibiotics, Antirobe and steroids (tablet form) Prednisolone. A week later, Goldie was sedated and the vet found a growth in the inner ear (polyp). Apparently the removal of this polyp is quite intrusive and the vets felt it would be too dangerous to perform. At the present time Goldie’s condition has not changed and we are trying to schedule an MRI for her.

Could you please answer the following questions for me:

1. I have found a homeopathic vet; do you think homeopathy would be useful for Goldie’s problem or would it be better going to a herbalist? What is the difference between the two?

2. Is it possible that the vet has diagnosed this illness incorrectly? A couple of months ago, the vet was cleaning out Goldie’s ear and found black bits inside. What would these be? Could they be bits of a missing piece of plastic from her magnetic collar broken down over time?

3. Last week, we took Goldie to a veterinary acupuncturist who found that her ear was packed with black wax and infection and suggested that Goldie should carry on with the steroids and more antibiotics. Our regular vet felt that an ear cleaner would be a better idea. I do not know what to do.

4. I have also bought a product on the internet called serrapeptase/serrapet which claims to act as a natural steroid and to get rid of things like growths/polyps, but it upset her tummy (she also has colitis).

You have mentioned several possible scenarios for Goldie and at the moment, I do not know with which one she is affected: Canine Vestibular Disorder, the aftereffects of a stroke, inner ear polyps, otitis media (inner ear infection), ear mites or epilepsy, to name a few. In fact, it sounds as though each of the vets you have visited have come up with a different diagnosis! Therefore, it might be best for you to continue to try to identify the cause of the problem first before taking on any large decisions such as surgery, etc. An MRI sounds like a good idea, if it can be organised physically and financially. You may also have beneficial results through homeopathy and acupuncture. Diet can also help in many ailments. Please see the following posting on this website (www.richters.com) entitled, "Canine Vestibular Disorder" for more information.

To answer your questions:

1. Homeopathy: yes, this therapy can be quite useful; I suspect the practitioner will be treating your dog "constitutionally" in order to balance all of her body systems and help her regain some strength. Homeopathy is a form of medicine established in Germany in the 1700’s. It basically treats "like with like", so giving a patient the very thing that in a healthy person/animal would cause the ailment one is trying to treat. For example, if one is stung by a bee, one is usually given homeopathic "Apis" (bee venom) to help the swelling from the sting abate. The founder of Homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, also felt that the more dilute the dose, the broader the exent of healing. For instance, a 6C potency will deal with physical symptoms very well but if one’s emotional and etheric selves have also been affected, perhaps a 200C potency might work better. All of this may be explained in greater depth by your homeopath. Herbal Medicine is a great therapy as well as it employs the healing power of plants directly into the body, much the same way food is assimilated. Both therapies are useful; if you are interested in finding a qualified herbal practitioner in your area you could check the website of the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association (www.vbma.org).

2. I cannot comment on a veterinarian’s diagnosis, especially as you have several from which to choose and as I have not seen your dog in person. However, I think it unlikely that the plastic to which you refer could be the cause of the problem; "black bits" could be evidence of ear mites, dried blood, excessive ear wax, infective material, it’s difficult to say. In addition, poodles with large floppy ears are often prone to ear problems much the same as Cocker Spaniels, as the ears in either case do not receive enough air circulation, thus making them a breeding ground for infection.

3. Regarding the differing opinions of your regular vet and the acupuncturist, only you can choose what is best to do in this instance. Ultimately it’s hard to make a decision if you feel you have too little information. This would be a good time to do lots of research (the internet is full of information) and possibly book the MRI mentioned earlier.

4. I have no experience with serrapeptase or serrapet. A quick search of the internet says that it is indicated for lung, sinus and other mucous problems, arthritis, pain problems of any kind, inflammation after surgery or injury, scar tissue, mastitis and cysts. It also says that as it is enterically coated there should be no problem with digestive upset. Given there is no firm diagnosis of Goldie’s condition, it is hard to say whether this product will be of any help. Serrapeptase is designed to reduce inflammation by being a proteolytic enzyme, that is, an enzyme that helps to breakdown protein of which inflammatory material and scar tissue is made. I would not think giving this product to a dog who suffers from colitis would be a good idea.

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