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Day after cropping ears oozing and bad odor, HELP!

Alex B

Novitiate
Hi everyone,

This is our second dobie and we're still learning. We got our first dobie from the breeder at 12 weeks and he was already healed up and posted from his crop. He was very tolerant of our posting.

We got our newest addition at a younger age and we took him to the ear cropping appointment yesterday at 9 weeks old. My wife and I are in the process of doing the first after care 24hrs after the cropping and we're having issues. The ears seem to have been neatly posted to a cup on top of his head with the stocking under the chin and the ceros tape covering the gauze over the cuts. The incised edges were left un-taped with non-stick gauze loosely covering the stitched areas. We were sent home with pain medication, antibiotics, and a sedative medication. That being said, we gave him a bath before the surgery and cleaned his ears thoroughly before hand which I'm sure the vet did as well. Now 24-ish hours later, he had a decent amount of bleed through on the gauze and they stuck to the scabs on the incised edges pretty badly. After getting the gauze off, we could definitely smell his ears. They stink! There is some yellowish-brown discharge. His right ear seems to be more of a problem than his left. It was a battle just getting the gauze off even though he just had his pain medication about 45 minutes before hand. He was losing his little puppy mind complaining and trying to buck/squirm around in my wife's lap. Now I can't even approach him without him freaking out if my wife is trying to hold him. I really want to clean the oozing out of the bell of his ears to see if he's got an infection, but I'm afraid that I'm going to cause more damage if he moves his head while I'm using a q-tip.

The vet who did the ear crop is located 4 hours away, but I'm almost at the point of taking him to our local vet to let them clean things and get a second opinion on the discharge.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Should we let them dry a little more and air out over night before trying to use the q-tips to clean the ears or should we just go for it now?
 

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I'm not sure what to advise you - most of the time we say just let them scab over and leave them alone to heal. But a rotten smell is usually a sign of infection. There should be no oozing or smell. I can't figure out why there is tape on the insides of his ears. the blue is the cup, right? Most puppies don't have any pain issues once they are stitched up and home, so I'm leaning toward a vet visit. Most vets have little to no training in this any more but common sense should tell them to not tape over the wounds/stitches. Hopefully some members here with more ear experience than I have will chime in soon with some expert opinions. Hold on, your puppy will be fine in the long run.
 
I'm not sure what to advise you - most of the time we say just let them scab over and leave them alone to heal. But a rotten smell is usually a sign of infection. There should be no oozing or smell. I can't figure out why there is tape on the insides of his ears. the blue is the cup, right? Most puppies don't have any pain issues once they are stitched up and home, so I'm leaning toward a vet visit. Most vets have little to no training in this any more but common sense should tell them to not tape over the wounds/stitches. Hopefully some members here with more ear experience than I have will chime in soon with some expert opinions. Hold on, your puppy will be fine in the long run.
The blue is indeed the cup.
 
That looks like a popped stitch to me…and yep, that’s a vet visit for sure.

Re-stitch and have them cleanup- check the foul odor discharge.
 
I can't figure out why there is tape on the insides of his ears. the blue is the cup, right?
That is normal after cropping to keep the ears on the cup to leave the edges exposed to air. So long as the tape doesn't touch the stitches.

He is on antibiotics you said, so I would think this should be treating any infection. Hard to tell from those pictures but it does looks kind of gooey down towards the bell where the ear is re-stitched to the side of the head. I would clean it up with vetericyn until you can get him into the vet to double check. He may need a different antibiotic to address that infection, if it is infected. There shouldn't be any offensive smell other than a slight iron smell. Typically the socks are on to keep them from scratching the stitches and to keep their littermates off of the ears. The socks should be changed daily and ears cleaned between changes. You may find that now that his ears are exposed to air and after cleaning with vetericyn, plus with the help of his current antibiotics, that the ears resolve themselves while waiting for that appt.

I don't know about your breeder's cropping vet but most do not enjoy making owners deal with this part of cropping.. They don't like the stress that it adds to the owners, often newer owners or those that haven't experienced dealing with freshly cropped ears before. Glad you are being super diligent about taking care of them with that in mind! Just something to keep in mind in the future should you get another dobe puppy, I would ask your breeder if they would wait until the ears are fully healed before sending home. Props to your first breeder for keeping them until 12 weeks, a lot less stressful for you! It isn't the end of the world though and its great you are here and asking questions. Please keep us updated on what you find out.
 
So here's the "pupdate":

I drove him back down state to the vet that originally did his ears. It was quite the drive, but well worth it. (In 48 hours we had done 1200 miles together in the car.) So het definitely got crustier than was expected and his ears were very sore, but I think his initial reaction to the first cleanings was just that, a first reaction out of fear/pain. At the vet, they showed me how to take blanket or beach towel and make a "puppy burrito" so he couldn't flail. Once he was secure, he calmed down a lot. Once the vet cleaned his ears, he was all set.

It's been a week since the actual ear cropping and he's healing up nicely. It was daunting at first, but now we're pretty good at keeping his ears clean 3-4 times a day. The smell went away after the vet cleaned him up. He's healing up well now.
 
Thanks for the update - sounds like you are well on your way to success! Keep us posted & tell us how your puppy is doing with all the other life challenges!
 
I'm glad things are going better.

We need photos of him. They grow so fast!
 

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