Nervous about re-taping

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smcginley's picture
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I got rico's ears cropped on Friday. My boyfriend is out of town for work 4-5 days out of the week. SO I'm left to fend for myself with Rico. The vet told me about the tampon method of doing it. I watched a utube video and of course the woman doing it looked like a pro. Now my question is should I tape over stitches? I may just have to call my vet because my boyfriend asked about 0 questions when he picked him up. Im just really nervous Ill do it wrong. I also was curious how to clean the ear. I dont want to hurt him. Im SO scared that he will get an infection if Im not on top of things. Im just not experienced with this and Im scared I'm going to mess his ears up. I bought some spray for minor cuts that Ive been spraying in his ear and kind of wiping it with a cotton cloth. Is there a way that is the easiest for posting the ears? I dont want to sound stupid, but as I said before I really really dont want to mess up.

Thanks! Steph

Control_Freak's picture
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I don't have tons of advice for you but I can say do not tape over the stitches!  Your vet should remove them or they should dissolve on there own.  1. they would not be able to breathe and would easily become infected and 2. it wouldn't feel very good to have open sores with tape on them and then having to remove them.

jeshykai's picture
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We didn't touch Steve's ears until the stitches came up - thats about 2 weeks.  Why don't you call your vet and ask when Rico should come back for a follow-up.  You also might get lucky and can schedule the follow-up so the vet or a tech can demonstrate to you how best to tape.  They are your best resource because you are going to develop a relationship with them for many other things Rico will need over the years.

gun_slinger put on a really great video for taping with the styrofoam pipe stuff you can get at the hardware store.  My "ear update" thread shows how it went for me and Steve.. at first you are nervous and unprepared but you'll get better at it.

To clean his ears you can just use warm water and a paper towel to get the dirt out.  You can use your finger to clean around the outside of the flap and a little down the canal.  Your finger won't hurt but you could hurt them if you jammed a q-tip down there.  Dogs ear canals are at a a J-angle so you aren't going to reach the eardrum as easily as you would on a person.

rgreen4's picture
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Rather than trying to post while he still has stitches in his ears, try the styrofoam cup method of bracing the ear. Take a styrofoam coffee cup and tape across the bottom. then tape it partly up the side (the formerly open part is now the bottom.

Now comes the fun part since it is just you and Rico. If he is quiet and fairly docile with you it may go well. In the photo, the tape comes down in front of an ear, under Princesses chin and up behind the opposite ear. Then repeat the same process on the other side. Then continue wraping the rest of the cup, with the wrap covering the ends of the chin straps.

The ears have a piece of tape folded across the front of of the ear (uncut edge) and then the whtie tape across the front tapes the ears to the cup. Note the cut edges of the ears are not covered with any tape.

My vet put this one. Normally the vet does this, but this was the first time mine used the process. It gave Princess a head start. (Her ears were standing at the end of the first week of posting and have been standing since).

jeshykai's picture
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I get what you were describing before now.  If the posts become too much of a hassle I will have to try this instead.  Thanks for the picture!

smcginley's picture
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Oh my goodness! That sounds difficult! Let me tell you what happened this week. Monday the vet (that came highly recommended by the way) told me to take his tape off and leave it for 3 days. So I go home on my lunch break and proceed to take it off. Poor Rico is in so much pain and bleeding quit a lot. I call the vet and he tells me it wont get infected just put gauze and tape on it. Well I was still freaking out and against what he told me to do and took him to a vet in town. The vet (which I'm keeping) was shocked he told me not to bring him in. His right ear was in the process of starting to get infected. This is only the fourth day by the way. Luckily he fixed him up and gave me pain medicine (the vet that cropped him said we didn't need it). He is doing MUCH better but I have had quit a hard time alone with this. I take him back because the vet wants to retape every 3 to 4 days. Its finally starting to get a little easier. The only problem is he keeps shaking his head and knocking one of the posts out. Its SOOO frustrating. I cant leave for work and come home at lunch without one being out. I really hope this comes out looking good because I have put so much time and money into it. Its been VERY stressful. He goes back to the vet tomorrow to get checked. Anyone have any tips to get him to leave his ears alone? I have been giving him sedation pills which barely do anything to the playful pup. I just want them to come out nice and I've been doing everything I can think of. The vet has been very supportive and great through it all. At least the new one has. I'm NEVER going back to the one that cropped him. At least the new vet said he did a good job with the crop, just horrible about the after care. If anyone has any suggestions or if I'm doing anything wrong TELL ME because I always have it on my mind. Thanks! :)

smcginley's picture
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By the way my vet recommend I try not to use a cone around his head because it could press down on his ears and make them not stand correctly. Is this true? I have one and I do see it pressing right on top of his ears so I have not been using it. Thanks!!

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Not using the cone is foolish if you're having problems and he's pulling things out.  Ask for a cone that is going to fit his head and protect the bases of his ears but will leave the tips untouched.  We had a cone that wasn't functional for Steve in the sense that if it was to prevent him licking at something it wouldn't have worked, his muzzle stuck out and so did the upper portion of his ears.  It did prevent him from scratching the sutures though as when he itched he itched the cone.  You can see what I'm describing in my pictures.  It's a 15 cm e-collar for a 22lb dog.  If your pup is around that size maybe you can ask him for that size.

If he was bleeding when you took it off -- was the tape around the surgery site?  Where the sutures were?  These need to be allowed to air out to heal.  If this vet told you that bleeding from the surgery site was not a big deal and to just put gauze and tape it up yourself I'd hesitate to go back!  Even with my experience I'd be furious with a vet for not caring about a potentially serious problem.  Recommended or not you were right to seek another vet.  Did either of them give you antibiotics?  These will help prevent an infection from forming and if not maybe you should ask for them.

When we first had Steve's ears done the vet had them taped lightly with tongue depressors as light braces.  We didn't touch the tape or his ears for 2 weeks while they healed.  When we returned to the vet to get them removed this is when we started to seriously tape his ears to train them to stand.  I don't know if this is the normal process or not but it worked for Steve and he wasn't in a lot of pain, I think, primarily because we didn't mess with his ears a lot while they were healing.

smcginley's picture
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I agree. I dont think I should of been messing with his ears at all while healing. I just did what the vet had said. Your right too, he did have the tape tight and a lot of it. Poor baby. I will NOT be going back to him. At least he did the crop correctly. He did give me anti-biotic. I give them to him twice daily. You will never believe this but the vet took the tape of today so his ears can dry up over night (he said they were wet) and his left ear is standing great and the right ear is sideways. The left ear is the one I could get the post to stay into!! Its only been a week so with much more care I'm sure they will both stand beautifully. I cant wait for it to be over so he can be a handsome boy without tape all over his ears. The cone I have for him is the same size as you had said. My cousin had a Doberman and she said she kept the cone on him 24/7. I guess different people have different opinions. The only reason I was hesitant was because I could see the cone slightly leaning on the ears, and I just want them to look awesome. Its only been a week and it looks like its going well so far. I'm excited!! LOL How long did it take for you Steve to be completely done? I'm so anxious!

 

thanks!!

smcginley's picture
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By the way I meant the left ear is the one I COULDNT get the post to stay into. lol sorry! Should of proof read that

jeshykai's picture
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Trust me I'm still in the middle of this process and I can't wait until its DONE.  I end up retaping Steve's ears just about every day because he has either gotten it covered in dirt (he loves to dig around in this dirt pile we have and stick his head in, I swear) or he's been playing too rough with dogs that have stopped by to visit.  I'm the only one who can do it because Eli gets too nervous.. lucky me!  

That's great that they are starting to look like they are standing.  Steve's ears have been taped up for a while now and we took them off to breathe last night and they were standing on their own for a little bit too.  One better than the other.  I'm not rushing it, I want it done well too!  And I swear I spend more time worrying about the dog... than everything else.  Guess thats love.  :)

I'd go ahead and just put the cone on if he is fussing with it, it'll help you in the long run.  You can always take it off when you can watch him and that way you can tell him no.  But when you're sleeping or at work, just have it on.  I don't know how much it'd do harm to the ear.. at this early stage, anyway.

smcginley's picture
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I think I will end up having to give it a shot. Its so nice to hear your doberman is tearing up your yard too! haha jk Rico is a digger. I have two other dogs and they are really really good about not touching him. He is his own worst enemy. His ears has already fallen. He looks so funny because it sticks straight sideways. How long ago did he have the surgery? How old was he when he got them done? I heard its good to do it earlier because they will stand quicker, but the vet that did rico's wouldnt do it any earlier than 12 weeks. The day he turned 12 weeks I brought him in for it. Well, 1 week down...clueless to how many to go. Oh well I know he will turn out fantastic and thats all that matters. I keep telling myself 6 weeks compared to however many years he lives is nothing. Ill look back on it and thank god its over. I would do it all over again, but just better prepared. You made me feel much better! Thanks!! :)

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We got Steve done at 10 weeks.. I might've waited longer but I babysit family dogs at the house and I had another puppy coming for a weekend and didn't want to have him having just had his surgery done (he was going to be at 12 weeks).

I think he's been in braces for a little over three?  I can't remember.  You just get used to it, lol.  I ended up switching to the cup method as mentioned above tonight because when I got home and took his tape off (he had made the stints fall out again) his ear flap was bleeding.. my poor baby.  :(  It already looks to bug him less than having something shoved down his ear.  And this way the surgery site gets a longer time to heal without having tape ripping skin off.. ugh!

You know my friends didn't have their doberman's ears done and I think its just preference.  For me, I like the traditional look and would go through the process again without hesitation.

smcginley's picture
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Its getting easier as we go, your right. He has been leaving them alone now THANK GOD!! Now im just trying to get my boxer to not lick them.I would go through it again, but with the vet I'm working with now. He is so patient and answers all my questions. I cant wait to see the final results! Friday will be 2 weeks and he gets his stitches out then. He is going to be so handsome! I have different reasons why I wanted them done. One being I think they look so handsome and define their face a lot better when their ears are standing. Another being my boyfriend works out of town and I hate being home alone. I think they look a lot more intimidating with standing ears. Even though he is a big wuss haha. Thanks so much for responding, the beginning was difficult! Post pics when Steve's ears are complete!

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I was just wondering how things were going for you, I'm glad that they are working out and VERY glad you switched vets.  You always want a vet that's going to answer your questions because you're allowed to have them!  

Steve's ears are still working on standing, they are a little longer than we were anticipating so its taking longer to get them to stand.  His right ear is strong and stands on its own but his left got a kink I didn't catch and we had to retrain it and start over.  I think he'll be in tape for another two weeks or so.  I need to put up new pictures in general, he is getting big.

Your boxer is probably licking his ears because they smell a little, dogs love stinky ears.  Next time you retape him, make sure you clean out his ear really good and then retape.  That should make it less enticing to the boxer.

smcginly I reposted the youtube vid of ear taping incase you missed it .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e39bE8ctNJc&feature=related

You can get the backing rod at lowes or home depot in the tile and grout section . The Zonas Porous and Elastikon tape I got on-line . Maybe you can buy some tape from your vet .

I have tried different ways before but have found this to be the easiest and least problematic on me and Jewel . The backing Rod is cheap and more than enough to do 10 dogs . I went through 2 ten yard rolls of the Zonas tape but still have Elastkon left over ( 2 ten yard rolls also ).

My wife had the same problem you have , I leave town often also , but she got the hang of it quick . I guess you could say ,"it stuck in her mind" .

If the ears are standing , let them do so on their own . If you see a ear start to droop , repost it asap . If they look a little week , post them over night then remove the post in the morning while she/he is in alert mode and holding them up on her own .

Jewel's right ear took longer than the left . I would repost just that ear . We are just recently confient that the posting is over and done , but still watching .

Remember that they don't hold them erect all the time but it shouldn't doop like a hound dog but should fold back kinda like the flying nun ( a may have just dated myself , old TV show ) . If in doubt , repost , it's not going to hurt .

Some dogs take longer than others . The longest time we had was 11 months with another dobe we use to have . That was after the stitches were removed . Never give up !

Best  of luck to ya !!

Alpha Admin , do you think that youtube vid link can/should be put in a sticky ??

jeshykai's picture
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This is the video that saved me the first day we brought him home and I was trying to figure the whole process out.. great resource, thank you for it!  The coffee cup helped when he got a sore on the tip of his ear that couldn't be taped.  Both have worked out for us with Steve.

smcginley's picture
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I honestly dont know how yall do it. I take him to the vet because it is just around the corner from my house, and he tapes for me. Its awesome. I'm sure its more costly, but I dont mind. The amount that he bled that first time I took the tape of is stuck in my head. It was horrible. I dont want to mess up and hurt him again. I go back tomorrow to get stitches out and see how they are standing. It will be 2 weeks tomorrow. I'm SO excited! I just so badly want to be one of the few that only had to do it for 2 weeks hahaha YEAH RIGHT! He is SO CUTE though....I dont have a favorite dog but if I did it would be him!! lol JK I need to repost pics too. Ill have to do it this weekend. My boyfriend will be out of town this weekend so Ill have the house and 3 dogs to maintain all by myself. I'm sure we will be fine....I just hate being alone in the house...hence the Doberman ;)

jeshykai's picture
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I know how that goes - me and the boys end up spending the weeknights alone when Eli is out of town (quite often).

I went and visited my friend who is an old pro at taping and she taped Steve up in a light style that he seems to be liking.  She reminded me that we have months to get them to stand and not to rush it.. it's a process and it takes time.  The end result will be worth the waiting.  :)

rgreen4's picture
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A friend like that is like Gold. She is absolutely right. I had sort of given up on Red's ears when he was a puppy, he had developed a serious crease in his left ear and a slight on in his right. At the ripe old age of 4 months I started taping again. I got the right one to stand but not the left.

Since he doesn't look in the mirror, he doesn't care, and I have become used to trying to take photos of him from the right side. One of the problems is that he was 14 weeks old when they were done.

smcginley's picture
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Okay guys, Im seeing a light at the end of the tunnel!! lol Ricos ears are standing! Got new taping done today and it will be on for 3 days then DONE!! Hopefully! Thats what the vet said. His ears are standing, the left is being a little stubborn. He is growing so fast too! Its so funny because he is getting so frustrated he cant fit on the doggy pillow with the other dogs anymore. Instead he lays right next to it. Its so cute! Retaping every week has costed me between $15-$20 per taping. I dont know if its just my opinion or if its the truth, but I think having a experienced vet do the tapings have helped a lot. I on the other hand would of made a pitiful mess of the tape. I cant wait till Friday to see what they look like. I bet Steve's ears are longer than Rico's. I bet thats why the aren't standing as soon. On the other hand, what do I know? lol Hows his progress???