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by Dr Tim Bowden, Progressive Vet Care, Malvern East, VIC
The canine ear loop is a long metal tool that goes down ear canals to remove impacted wax or debris. It comes in a couple of sizes but I just have the one tool and it works well for dogs and cats.
What’s good about it
Typically, I use this tool through an otoscope while the animal is under anaesthetic. It’s designed to effectively remove debris that sits on the ear drum. It’s a common problem and while most cases can be resolved with flushing or medication, the ear loop is very helpful with animals that have ongoing, persistent ear infections.
Quite often surface debris can be flushed but a deep plug will just not move. The best option is to go in with the ear loop and scrape it out. Small, gentle movements must be used so as not to rupture the eardrum during the procedure.
The instrument is metal so it can be autoclaved or flushed clean depending on how it has been used. The end of the instrument is a smooth loop that picks up debris with little chance of poking or cutting the tissue of the canal.
Generally, once the canal has been cleaned out, the problem is solved. Those animals with recurring issues can be treated with medication and regular flushing. Animals that are heavily impacted may require additional treatment with the ear loop.
What’s not so good
It’s no fault of the tool but it can be difficult to use with an otoscope in narrow ear canals. In those cases, you’re almost blinded by the tool and it can be very difficult to guide it into position.