(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.
Bennett LL, Rosenblum RS, Perlov C, et al. An in vivo comparison of topical agents on wound repair. Plast Reconstruct Surg 2001;108(3):675-85.
Livingstone DH, Cryer HG, Miller FB, et al. A randomized prospective study of topical antimicrobial agents on skin grafts after thermal injury. Plast Reconstruct Surg 1990;86(6):1059-
De Gracia CG. An open study comparing topical silver sulfadiazine and topical silver sulfadiazine-cerium nitrate in the treatment of moderate and severe burns. Burns 2001
Crossfill M, Hall R, London D. The use of chlorhexidine antisepsis in contaminated surgical wounds. Brit J Surg 1969;56(12):906-8.
Brennan SS, Foster ME, Leaper DJ. Antiseptic toxicity in wounds healing by secondary intention. J Hosp Infect 1986;8(3):263-7.
Lineaweaver W, McMorris S, Soucy D, Howard R. Cellular and bacterial toxicities of topical antimicrobials. Plast Reconstr Surg 1985;75:394-6.
Skog E, Arnesjo B, Troeng T, et al. A randomized trial comparing cadexomer iodine & standard treatment in the out-patient management of chronic venous ulcers. Br J Dermatol 1983;109:77-83.
Robins P, Day CL Jr, Lew RA. A multivariate analysis of factors affecting wound healing time. Dermatol Surg Oncol 1984;10:219-22.
Geronemus RG, Mertz PM, Eaglstein WH. Wound healing: The effects of topical antimicrobial agents. Arch Dermatol 1979;15:1311-4.
Cooper ML, Laxer JA, Hansbrough JF. The cytotoxic effects of commonly used topical antimicrobial agents on human fibroblasts and keratinocytes. J Trauma 1991;31(6):775-84.
Payne DN, Gibson SAW, Lewis R. Antiseptics: A forgotten weapon in the control of antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospital and community settings. J Roy Soc Health 1998;118(1):18-22.
British Journal of Dermatology, Volume 139 Issue S3 Page 13 - December 1998
1365-2133.1998. Vol. 139 Issue S3, Staphylococcus aureus colonization in atopic dermatitis and its therapeutic implication, Abeck & Mempel
Blue Powder Solution
Our dog suffers from recurring ear infections. Our vet continued to give him a prescription cream. It would work while being used, but once it was gone, the infection returned. I finally did a search on the internet for a natural solution and found a recipe for the Blue Powder Solution... I mixed up a batch and finally, his ear infection was cleared up!
After being ear infection free for over a year, I got lazy about the solution and hadn't used it in quite some time.. He ended up with another flare up while we were on vacation. We purchased a herbal product, but it didn't seem to do much of anything..
As soon as we got home, I mixed up a new batch of the blue powder solution, only because his ear was very raw and tender, I used witch hazel instead of rubbing alcohol... It appeared to be very soothing to him, and within 2 weeks, the infection was gone..
I've learned my lesson.. I'll make sure he gets one dose a month from now on, which is recommended once the infection is under control.
The solution calls for boric acid and Gentian Violet Solution. I found boric acid at a "real" pharmacy and the pharmacist from Walgreens ordered the Gentian Violet for me (it only cost a couple of bucks)..
Great natural remedy that cost pennies, but most importantly, works!
Blue Powder Solution
With regard to the smelly/itchy ear problem that I've seen in a couple of posts, we have used the Blue Power Ear Treatment from here: http://www.itsfortheanimals.com/Adobe/Blue Power Ear Treatment.pdf -- It gets you out of using antibiotics for your fur-kids. I'll be giving our two dogs small amounts of garlic with their meal once or twice a week. Too much of anything can cause problems.
Blue Powder Solution
My dog who has had constant ear problems for years has been on blue powder solution for 2 days and it is definitely providing relief. My veterinarian is out over the long holidays and it great not to have to pay for emergency care. I am hoping this is a more permanent cure that previous prescription ointments, etc. I have looked around the internet and found that many sites connect chronic ear problems to lack of some nutrients, and am currently going to try feeding my dog 1/2 a sweet potatoe every other day, and see if we can go longer between ear problems.
Blue Powder Solution
The remedy is called Blue Power Solution and can be found on any search engine. My Bernese Mtn dog, Gunther had very serious infection in both ears and we tried clearing it up with prescription meds for 2 years. I found the solution by doing my own search for a natural treatment. After two years he was cleared of infection in about 2 weeks. I now only use it once a month. The vet was amazed!