Raw diet for ear infections?

gundog experts

gundog experts - Credit: Archant

Will a raw diet help solve the recurrent ear problems my gundog has been experiencing? Gundog vet Vicky Payne replies

Q: I have a four-year old spaniel bitch with recurrent ear problems. I feel like I have tried everything, but she's still suffering. A friend suggested a raw diet would help, but my vet isn't keen. What would you advise?

VICKY PAYNE replies: Ear problems can be difficult to solve! The approach I take is to check what bacteria and yeasts are present by taking an ear swab so I can choose an appropriate topical treatment. In most cases of recurrent ear infections, there is an underlying problem, such as atopic dermatitis or a food intolerance. To diagnose a food intolerance, I suggest a hydrolysed diet for up to eight weeks. Some dogs improve on raw diets, but many do not. Vets can be cautious about raw feeding because many of the diets are not nutritionally balanced and there is a risk of causing illness in humans who handle the food and the dog, especially if they are immunosuppressed.

If you choose a raw diet, start with a commercially prepared complete diet. If a food trial does not help, then anti-allergy medication can be helpful in preventing recurrent ear infections. Consider a second opinion or referral to a dermatology specialist.