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Learn how this dog's external ear infection became a severe inner ear infection with vertigo, ataxia, and deafness due to veterinary misdiagnosis and treatment!


September 4, 2018

Denise Matthews, Guest Columnist


I was asked to share this with other dog owners. I’ll try to keep it short and unemotional although it will be hard to do. The veterinarian said her ear looked just fine on August 13th and again on the August 18th ear follow-up. She said my little dog “Gorgeous” had a stroke or brain tumor or some other brain-spinal cord, infection disease, not an inner ear infection!


She took a swab but she said there was no bacteria and it was just residual Mometamax medication, that couldn't be an inner ear infection...


That veterinary practice diagnosed my dog's symptoms as “could have” come from a stroke or brain tumor. But it wasn't too difficult for ME to research online and see the symptoms of an inner ear infection matched my dog’s symptoms, including her inability to eat properly (dropping food out of her mouth), acting dizzy, stumbling, all of which was sudden and not normal for Gorgeous.


I am lucky I had the availability and wherewithal to take her to Veterinary specialists and pay the high cost of an MRI (they gave me a military discount😊). The very competent and caring neurology veterinarian quickly proved it was severe middle and inner ear infection including a ruptured eardrum.


I persevered because my beloved dog was declining and had received NO pain meds. She is a terrier and she internalized the pain but she refused to eat or drink! Besides the unnecessary stress and pain to Gorgeous, those incompetent primary veterinarians had me thinking my dog might have had a stroke or a brain tumor or Central Nervous System “CNS” disease.


Then there's the HUGE issue of the incompetent first vet putting her on toxic Mometamax when she had a ruptured ear drum. (I looked it up) It says that right in the Merck drug precautions: "Before installing any medication into the ear, examine the external ear canal thoroughly to be certain the tympanic membrane is not ruptured in order to avoid the possibility of transmitting infection to the middle ear as well as damaging the cochlea or vestibular apparatus from prolonged contact."


Well, the neurology veterinarian I subsequently took her to proved G has a ruptured eardrum and the only thing done to her ear canal to rupture it was me applying the toxic Mometamax drops as prescribed by the first veterinarian who did the ear canal cleaning. I believe they ruptured her ear drum doing that!


My neurology vet thinks Gorgeous should get back functioning of her facial nerves (face/mouth/lips) that is inflamed from the inner ear infection now that she is on steroids BUT we don't know yet. The dermatology and allergy specialist whom I will see for all of G's ear follow-ups will be able to tell me if Gorgeous might get her hearing back in her left ear over time. His Vet Techs think she will but since the toxic ear drops were getting into G's inner ear due to that ruptured ear drum who knows?


The incompetent primary care vet in Durham NC never told me that the Gentamicin in Mometamax can cause hearing loss in older dogs. I found that online! Some dogs get hearing back in 3-4 months or more but some do NOT! We don't know yet what will happen for my dog! I'm optimistic Gorgeous will get hearing back based on my neurology vet specialists' opinions (who I trust).


Don't let anyone in NC think any of this was from NC State Animal Hospital as it was NOT. I've taken Gorgeous there before for other things and they are competent, professional, compassionate, etc. The incompetent “primary” vet was in Durham NC.


Please give kudos to the ER Veterinarian and Vet Techs here in N. Virginia at an Emergency & Specialists Hospital as they took G's condition very seriously, found the anti-nausea med (Ondansetron) that actually is helping my little dog. Also, rather than bringing G back to them every day or so for sub-cutaneous fluid injections, the Vet Tech train me how to do it! So Gorgeous will be adequately hydrated as she battles the severe inner ear infection and the antibiotics and steroids which are bound to upset her GI tract for many weeks.


So you can use any/all of this in your publication. It might help others to keep on their primary veterinarian (or find another), and to persist in their own judgment on what's wrong with their dog. If they have concerns, see a Veterinary specialist who (though a bit costly) will figure it out correctly and quickly. In this case it was critical for my dog since she was on NO antibiotics or pain meds while her external ear infection spread to her middle and inner ears!


We still have a long road ahead. She's on prednisone for 9 days, Enrofloxacin for what they think will be 6-8 weeks, and Ondansetron every 12 hrs for nausea (Cerenia did not help her with nausea).


Gorgeous is so brave and is taking water via syringe as you suggested and I will fill it with homemade beef broth tomorrow. We hope with the antibiotics and short steroid dose her appetite will come back soon. I can't even imagine life without her so please pray she is with me for many more years!!!


Footnote: Denise has served our country as a Coast Guard officer for over two decades. Her common sense and situational assessment training enabled her to save her best friend. The lesson here is know your dog and when necessary, take command! EST 2002 © 1809



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