Witch Hazel, Boric Acid, Gentian Violet
My dog has had chronic ear infections for the past 3 years. They were treated with drops from the vet but always returned a week after stopping the drops.
I then found a remedy here and results were much longer lasting lasting than what I got at the vet.
- 4 oz witch hazel
- 1 tbsp boric acid
- 4 drops gentian violet
Add products to a glass dropper bottle if you have one and shake well each time you use the remedy. Put several drops in your dogs ears twice a day and massage using gentle, circular movements.
How Long to Use:
Use twice a day for the first week, then once a day for the 2nd week. After that, maintain by adding drops once a day.
Hope this helps someone as ear infections are seriously uncomfortable for dogs and can lead to hearing loss.
Blue Powder Solution
(Mpls., Mn) on 10/09/2016
I have posted the Blue Power Ear Wash formula on Earth Clinic elsewhere, but cannot find the post. I LOVE this info on Blue Power Ear Cleanser. It's from Facebook and has the best information. Please post it.
Blue Power Ear Cleaner
The good, the bad and the ugly about this popular home made ear cleaner.
By Joan M. Beck
Starlight Springers, Minneapolis, MN
Blue Power Ear Cleaner (also known as Blue Voodoo Ear Cleaner and Gentian Violet Ear Cleaner) is a very popular home made remedy for keeping canine ears clean and infection free. Lots of Internet web sites tout its benefits, and it is frequently mentioned on dog-related chat groups. Most advocates of this treatment say its great, almost magic for treating ear infections, few if any mention how or why the preparation works and if it is safe for our canine friends. Being a natural skeptic of anything advertised as “magic", I decided a little research was in order.
Here is what I discovered:
There are several recipes for Gentian Violet based ear cleaners on the web. The following recipe seems to be the most popular and based on my research the safest and most effective formulation: 2 cups (1 pt.) 70% Isopropyl alcohol (don't use the 91% solution, it is too strong for use in an ear cleaner and can physically burn the delicate ear tissues) 4 Tablespoons boric acid powder 16 drops of 1% gentian violet solution or 8 drops of 2% gentian violet solution. (Order from your local pharmacist)
For best results, place two cups of isopropyl alcohol in a glass measuring cup and heat until luke-warm in the microwave. Heating the alcohol helps the boric acid powder dissolve in the liquid. This recipe calls for a very saturated concentration of boric acid compared to the amount of alcohol. If you don't heat the alcohol first, then you tend to get boric acid crystals settling out at the bottom of your bottle. Boric acid crystals in suspension (particles floating in the liquid) are less effective for altering the pH of the ear canal than boric acid in solution (particles dissolved in liquid). After mixing the boric acid and alcohol, then add the gentian violet. Be sure to place newspapers under the area where you are working. Gentian violet is a strong aniline dye and permanently stains, especially in its concentrated form. I have found that adding one drop of liquid dish soap to this warm purple mixture helps make this mixture work even better because the soap helps break down the surface tension of the earwax so the alcohol can dissolve it. Adding more than one drop of soap starts to change the pH of the solution and reduces its effectiveness. It is recommended that this product be used once or twice a day for two weeks to fight ear infections, then twice a month afterwards to prevent overgrowth of the microbes that cause infection. If your dog produces a lot of earwax and needs more frequent ear cleaning, you might consider alternating the use of this formula with a commercially available ear cleaning formula so long as the commercial ear cleaner also acidifies the ear.
The Good-Why it Works
In case you are wondering why this formula works, here is the scoop. Gentian violet is a fairly powerful antiseptic. Antiseptics are agents that destroy or inhibit the growth and development of microorganisms in or on living tissue. Unlike antibiotics that act selectively on a specific target, antiseptics have multiple targets and a broader spectrum of activity. Gentian Violet was quite popular prior to World War II, especially in veterinary use. It is particularly good at killing fungus like yeast and Staphylococcus bacteria, both big culprits in ear infections. For it to truly work, the solution needs to be in contact with the fungus or bacteria for a minimum of sixty seconds. So filling the ear canal and massaging it around for a minute is a good idea. I suggest you warm the solution slightly in the microwave to make it more comfortable for the dog and to help the alcohol (also an antiseptic) dissolves the wax build-up. Be sure to test the temperature on your own wrist before pouring it into the ear canal. The boric acid in the recipe helps to acidify the pH of the ear canal making it an inhospitable environment for nasty beasties to grow back.
The Bad - Some of the dangers
Now why, if this stuff is so great, don't we see commercial preparations of this formula? One reason is that Gentian Violet is a mild carcinogen (cancer causing agent) Studies at the National Center for Toxicological Research (and similar studies listed below) have shown Gentian Violet to be a thyroid and liver carcinogen for laboratory animals like rats, mice and rabbits. Another reason is that Gentian Violet is toxic to the sensitive cilia cells of the inner ear. If some of the solution happens to seep through a perforated eardrum it can cause a debilitating and permanent dizziness or deafness. A third consideration is its reported effects on the fetus. Pregnant animals in the Gentian Violet studies showed fetal abnormalities including those to the musculoskeletal and urogenital systems. Gentian violet also affected fertility and was deemed the cause of a high rate of post-implantation mortality (either death or reabsorption of the fetus). These factors make the product too big a potential liability for a commercial production. The FDA has banned its use as a food preservative and discourages its use in human medical and veterinary preparations designed for chronic use (like ear cleaners) although the agency seems to have no problem with occasional use.
The Ugly- More is not better
Please don't use more gentian violet than is recommended in the formula. Antiseptics, like Gentian Violet, have been found to be toxic not only to bacteria and fungus, but also to cells essential to the wound healing process, such as fibroblasts, keratinocytes, and leukocytes. However, this cell toxicity appears to be concentration dependent. In other words, in low (recommended) concentrations, antiseptics like Gentian Violet retain their antibacterial and anti fungal activity, but they don't end up killing off beneficial cells. The Moral of the Story When used properly this is a good ear cleaner/disinfectant. It has been reported to stop some ear infections when all other treatments have failed. Given the research studies, especially the cancer studies, it may not be advisable to use this as your dog's only ear cleaner, but it is a good product to get ears back under control. The fetal death and abnormality studies suggest that it is not advisable to use this product on a pregnant or lactating bitch. The risks of fetal abnormality are just too high. Colloidal silver preparations and non-staining iodine compounds work almost as well as Gentian violet preparations and have been shown to be very safe. Many commercial preparations are also very good and very safe. Look for those that do not contain chlorhexidine (also can cause birth defects) and state that the product leaves the ear acidified to discourage re-growth of bacteria and yeast.
National Center for Toxicological Research
Littlefield, N. A., B.-N. Blackwell, C. C. Hewitt, and D. W. Gaylor. 1985. Chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity studies of gentian violet in mice. Fundam. Appl. Toxicol. 5:902-912
Case, R. A. M., and J. T. Pearson. 1954. Tumours of the urinary bladder in workmen engaged in the manufacture and the use of certain dyestuff intermediates in the British chemical industry. Br. J. Ind. Med. 11:213-221..
Antiseptics on Wounds: An Area of Controversy
Anna Drosou, MD, Anna Falabella, MD, Robert S. Kirsner, MD
Wounds 15(5):149-166, 2003. © 2003 Health Management Publications, Inc.
Characteristics of systemic and topical agents implicated in toxicity of the middle and inner ear
Peter S. Roland, MD
Dermatologische Klinik und Poliklinik der Technischen Universität München, Biedersteiner Strasse 29; D-80802, Dr. Knut Brockow: München (Germany)
Brennan SS, Leaper DJ. The effect of antiseptics on the healing wound: A study using the rabbit ear chamber. Br J Surg 1985;72:780-2.
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British Journal of Dermatology, Volume 139 Issue S3 Page 13 - December 1998
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I used hydrogen peroxide/water and this was the ONLY thing that helped Honey's ears. She is a 4 yr. old Shar Pei/Boxer mix and this dog is everything to me.
I had tried at least 4 different vet-prescribed medications and 1 OTC product for her chronic otitis externa. The vet also suggested a mix of vinegar/water to flush out the gunk but it didn't provide lasting relief. Basically, nothing worked.
My mom, in all her wisdom of 55 years, then suggested a 60/40 mix of peroxide/water, respectively. I saturated two cotton balls with the mixture, placed one in each ear, and massaged gently, letting the liquid loosen any buildup. I let her shake her head to get any excess out (and I get very dirty in the process). :)
I repeated this treatment once a day for one week. And her ears are better than they've ever been. They're not red and inflamed, nor are they as stinky. She isn't scratching at them as much, but she will lightly scratch at them every so often.
Now that they've cleared up, I'm going to try the coconut oil to soothe the skin in her ears. (The OTC treatment I had tried before the peroxide had left her with dry skin inside her ears). I'm going to apply the coconut oil with a swab but not POUR it in. I tried using coconut oil before but this was when she was on the other medication and her ears were not as cleared up.
I've read all over the internet "Don't use peroxide!" or "It can harm your dog's ears!" and my vet even hinted that she wouldn't put peroxide in her ears so don't use any product that contains it on my dog. BUT it has worked better than any other medication they've prescribed. How do you explain this?
Could it be that they want me to spend $15-$30 on a tiny tube of crap that doesn't even work so they can drive an Audi and not care about my dog's well-being and health? I'm not a conspiracy theorist but I'm looking at the cold, hard facts. I'm looking at the most amazing dog I've ever had and finally seeing her ears healed! How could the vet not have known about this miracle treatment that can heal my dog's ears and, not to mention, save me tons of money. I can buy a bottle of hydrogen peroxide for $1 and it lasts me for months.
My dogs mean the world to me; they are my family. And I would not take time make this post if I didn't really try this treatment and believe in the results. So you can try this if you want and post the results. I hope it will work for your dog, too!