Burow's Solution

I knew that floppy-eared dogs could be prone to ear infections, so I started J on a rigorous cleaning schedule as a young puppy.  I used cleaning solutions purchased at the vet's office highly recommended by clinic staff as quality products.  Despite faithful weekly cleaning, J would develop ear infections every 3-4 months.  Chronic ear infections can sometimes point to other medical issues - such as hypothyroidism and allergies - and it turned out that J had both.  We implemented care for both conditions and the frequency of infections decreased but still persisted. A savvy vet finally recommended switching to Burow's Solution for ear cleaning.  J has not had a single ear infection in more than 3 years since making the switch.  

The cleaning solutions we used previously were all water based, meaning the ear canal would remain moist following cleaning and provided a fertile environment for bacteria and fungus to find a home. Burow's is a drying agent, excellent at keeping wet skin at bay.  Burow's also has mild astringent and antibacterial properties, further discouraging microbes from invading.  

Burow's is an old school product used in the early twentieth century.  The product is so forgotten that the manufacturer in Canada stopped making it a few years ago, due to low sales demand. These days, Burow's is usually only found at veterinary offices.  The composition of Burow's at vet offices usually contains glycerine or glycol and hydrocortisone.  If a dog is suffering with infection, hydrocortisone can be useful for inflammation, but this ingredient is not necessary for cleaning uninfected ears.  I also don't care for glycerine in the ear, as it leaves behind a slick, greasy film.  

A compounding pharmacy (like Script:  https://calgarycanine.com/script-pharmacy/) can make Burow's from scratch (aluminum acetate solution), and I've found this to be magic in banishing ear infections. The difference between the mix found at vet offices and pure Burow's is easy to distinguish:  the vet mix does not have a strong odour and will feel slippery if you put a drop on the back of your hand. Pure Burow's has a very strong smell of vinegar, and a drop on your skin will dry quickly.  A pharmacist has actually cautioned washing skin well after use to avoid flaky skin patches.  

Pure Burow's should not be used in ears that are raw from scratching, as the astringent will sting open wounds.  I can not comment on whether or not Burow's is appropriate for ears with yeast infections, as J's problems were simple otitis.  I AM NOT A VETERINARIAN.  Please consult one if your dog is suffering.  I am simply sharing a product that has worked wonders for our particular circumstance.  If you think it might be helpful for your pooch, please discuss use with your vet.

If you do elect to ask a pharmacy to whip up a batch of Burow's, they will ask for a quantity. Burow's has a very short shelf life of 3-6 months, so request only what you think will be used within a few months.  For 100 lb Jay with huge ears, we generally get 25 to 50 millilitres.  The solution takes several days to make, so know that it will not be available immediately when ordered.