This week I have been discussing elderdogs issues that I am very much becoming a champion of due to Miss Ginger’s elderbelle status. It is important to me as her foster mom to give her the best chance of living a long and healthy life – and that means getting her in tip top shape before sending her off with her forever family.

After Ginger’s failed adoption, I took her back by the vet on the way to our house to refill her meds and try to figure out why her infection wasn’t going away. I was lucky to get Dr. Theiss to look her over, and he insisted on giving Ginger a very thorough exam because he also didn’t understand why her ear infection hadn’t cleared up in two months. He believes that Ginger has probably been dealing with these ear infections for years. Left untreated, her ear canals have calcified and growths have formed inside her ear canals, making it very uncomfortable for Ginger and also difficult for her infections to heal. It also explains why she has trouble hearing unless you are standing very close to her. The vet exclaimed that he couldn’t believe how easygoing and happy Ginger was despite her ear issues!

Dr. Theiss immediately put Ginger on a heavy dose of medication and asked me to clean her ears three times a day in order to aggressively attack the infection for 10 days. At the end of the 10 days, we would see where the infection was and make a plan of action at that time. Yesterday marked 10 days, so back to Dr. Theiss we went for a follow-up visit. He was really pleased with the progress on Ginger’s left ear but her right is still pretty bad.

So what are we supposed to do about Ginger’s situation? Well, the vet suggested two methods of treatment: first, we could continue treating Ginger with topical and oral antibiotics and then her new family would have to be diligent about cleaning her ears with a broad spectrum cleaner 2-3 times per week for the rest of her life. This may or may not stave off the problem and any future serious issues.

The other option is a procedure that would remove some of the growths and drain the infection in hopes that it would completely eradicate the infection in that ear – but ear cleanings would still be required for the rest of Ginger’s life to stave off future infections . He also recommended Ginger get a full dental treatment to remove some dead teeth and do some preventative work to keep her remaining teeth intact. The cost for this? Roughly $600 – much more than HAHS typically spends on one dog. I am planning on taking Ginger to a specialist next week to find out if the procedure is really necessary or if the cleanings and antibiotics would be the appropriate plan of action.

I know for sure that Ginger needs the dental exam (approximately $100) and will require that specialist consultation (another $100-200). She also needs to be sent off to her new family with at least 1-2 bottles of the medicated cleaner (approximately $30/bottle), but the money for the ear procedure is still up in the air. Honestly, it could come down to whether or not we can afford it.

I will update more on Ginger’s situation once we’ve met with the specialist. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward with figuring this out. As I’ve said before, this girl is well-worth it!