Treating Candy’s Ears

Dr. Meade used the process of elimination to come up with a diagnosis of a fungal infection on Candy’s ears. He took a skin scraping, looked under the microscope, and didn’t see mites or lice. But, the white, dry, lumpy skin on her ears sure looked like an external issue. There wasn’t a test for fungus, but that was the logical conclusion and to go ahead and treat for it. If it didn’t clear it up, then there were some serious systemic issues, perhaps an auto-immune disease.

Fortunately, the daily ear washings (with a special disinfectant) and applications of fungicide are working! Candy’s ears are becoming more pliant and the skin is turning a healthier pink. The medicine stings where the skin is raw, and Candy hates the smell of it (which also masks the aroma of the banana chips, so she doesn’t get a treat immediately). In a few days, I think she’ll be ready to go outside.

Domestic animals have been bred for centuries (and some for millennium) to  suit our needs. Dairy animals produce more milk than necessary for their own offspring, so that we can use it, too. Sheep have fine wool, beef cattle put on muscle, border collies herd. Horses fly over five-foot fences. King Cavalier Spaniels are gentle dogs. But, we also breed animals solely for the looks of them – chickens with tail plumes, guinea pigs with long fur, and dogs with spots. Sometimes those looks come with problems.Those cute domino markings on Dalmatians are linked to deafness. I have a friend with a delightful Boston Terrier, but because of its smushed-in nose, it snorts and has almost no sense of smell.

Lop-eared bunnies are prone to ear infections.

We, the breeders and buyers of these animals are responsible for the bad along with the good. Knowing what I do now, I don’t think I’d purchase another lop. Candy is a sweetheart, but so are rabbits with upright ears – ones that can regulate body temperature and stay out of the muck.

There’s no black and white answer. I firmly believe in keeping domestic farm animals and pets. I especially support the efforts to maintain rare breeds. But, in the last century, stud books have closed, the genetic pool has shrunk, and consumer’s tastes have become more extreme. Take a look at illustrations of pugs from the 1800’s. Their snouts were more prominent, their eyes less bulgy (and therefore less prone to injury and disease,) and yet they were wonderful, family dogs. Breeders and pet-owners need to think through what the costs to the animals are to breeding for looks alone.


  1. I agree totally with all the breeding issues we get unique results but more issues , have you read the book “Animals in Translation” by Temple Grandin its a really good book and she talks about all kinds issues with breeding to get certain results.

  2. I have a wonderful Boston (Lulu) as well. Try sleeping with one, the snoring causes the curtains to blow out!!!! ;-)

    Have you seen the frizzle chickens? (the ones in which the feathers all curl toward the front of the chicken). Personally I don’t find them attractive. Years ago a friend bought me one at a small animal auction. That poor thing was always picking itself up off it’s back side. It couldn’t manage any type of jump even if only one wing flap was involved. I guess the curved flight feathers threw it off balance.

  3. I agree. But the market for unusual looks in animals is not the only reasons breeders have gone over the edge at the animals’ expense. Add the animals bred for self-indulgence… the cats who cannot jump as nature intended due to shortened legs, the exceedingly popular but incredibly nervous teeny-tiny dogs… Don’t get me started!

  4. Poor Miss Candy . . . she seems like such a sweetie-pie! I miss her on the cam, but glad to hear she’s responding to treatment. Reading your blog is the highlight of my workday ;-)

  5. Humans seem to have an obsession with things that are unnatural. I wonder, how many people refuse to buy animals that buck the trend. Would dogs be accepted without docked tails and wires in their ears? Could we have horse shows without surgically lifted tails and overlong hooves? It’s amazing how much “stuff” is done for a false beautification that borders on bizaare. I just refused to buy chicks (too young to peck hardly anything) with clipped beaks and scolded the seller. Let’s start a movement!

    • The sad thing is, look at what we humans do to ourselves. Plastic surgery has become acceptable. Botox a rite of passage when turning 40. Women are wearing 5 inch heels. Animals are seen as fashion appendages.

  6. I was wondering how Candy was doing- thanks for the update and good news! I’m enjoying your warm weather vicariously- it has been so cold and wet here in the pacific nw.

  7. I miss Candy jumping the backyard. Hopefully will get well soon.