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Ask the Vet: When should I spay or neuter my kitten? How do I treat my dog's ear infection? Your feline, canine questions answered.

Q: My dog was just treated for an ear infection last month and now he has another one! Why did it come back? Was it not treated appropriately the first time?

A: Ear infections (otitis externa) in dogs are an infection of the outer ear canal. The outer ear canal in a dog has a unique shape and is longer than a human’s ear canal. With this unusual shape and length, material and moisture can get trapped deep down in the canal providing an environment friendly to yeast and bacteria overgrowth.

Getting water in the ear canals due to bathing or swimming is one of the most common reasons for ear infections. Once the water gets deep in the ear canal it cannot be removed, even with vigorous head shaking, and then the ear canal is set up for yeast and bacterial overgrowth.

It is recommended to flush the dog’s ears with an appropriate dog ear flush solution to get the water out of the ears after bathing and swimming. An over the counter dog ear flush has the appropriate ingredients to clean and dry out the ear canals.

The other most common reason for ear infections is allergies either to food, environment or both. Skin allergies can cause all sorts of skin lesions, infections, and irritation including in the ear canals.

Inflammation of the skin disrupts the normal barriers of the skin and allows for secondary infections. When the ear canals become inflamed due to allergies they too create the ideal environment for yeast and bacterial overgrowth.

When treating ear infections that are due to allergies, it is vital to determine and treat the underlying source of the allergies or the infections will continue to re-occur. It is also important to treat the inflammation, and typically that is done with an oral allergy medication along with the topical therapy.

Ear infections are primarily treated topically because oral medications do not penetrate the outer ear canal well. When allergies are suspected to be the inciting cause then oral allergy medications are also used.

If your dog continues to get ear infections even with treatment, then it is likely the infections are secondary to allergies and will probably be a chronic issue that needs to be managed and not cured.

Q: I just adopted a kitten and I am confused as to when to get her vaccinated and spayed. What is your advice?

A: Getting your pets properly vaccinated when they are young is essential for long term immunity against highly contagious and deadly diseases that they might be exposed to during their lifetime.

It is not the quantity of vaccines that a young animal gets that is important, rather it is the timing and quality of the vaccine that is crucial.

After being weaned, a young animal still has immunity from the mother. This immunity will fade over time as their own immune system starts to take over. It is during this time that the early vaccines are used to start to educate the animal’s own immune system as to how to “respond” when exposed to one of these diseases.

Vaccines should be given 3-4 weeks apart until the kitten is 4 months of age. Typically, we start giving vaccines at 8 weeks and then give them every 4 weeks until 4 months of age. Giving vaccines more frequently than every 3-4 weeks is not recommended and can be detrimental to the young animal’s health.

It is important to know that prior to the last kitten vaccines at 4 months the immune system is not completely mature yet and the pet could still be at risk for contracting diseases. After the kitten is fully vaccinated then it is recommended to get the kitten spayed.

Daily Almanac

Tuesday, Feb. 13

Darkness to Light Stewards of Children training: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Sinagua Middle School auditorium. A childhood sexual abuse prevention training. Many community members have sponsored books, food and giveaways. There will be free childcare for parents who attend. The training is for parents, teachers, policy makers and anyone working with youth.

City Council Work Session: 6-8 p.m. City Hall, 211 W. Aspen Ave. Topics to be discussed are updates on city clean-up efforts and treating e-cigarettes and vaping the same as other tobacco products. The meeting can be streamed at

CAVIAT Priority Registration Night: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Flagstaff Arts & Leadership Academy, 3401 N. Fort Vally Road. Now taking enrollment for Fall 2018. Come and learn more about the CAVIAT Central Programs, meet the staff, start the registration process. Please bring a copy of your student's birth certificate and photo IDs to the event. 985-0199.

Coffee & Neighborhood Conversations: 7:30-9 a.m. Firecreek Coffee Company, 22 Historic Route 66. Meet Valeria Chase, NAU’s new Neighborhood Liaison. 213-2074.

Visual Communication for Business Leaders: Noon-1. NACET Policy Conference Room, 2225 N. Gemini Road. Improve your ability to communicate with students, colleagues, clients, and collaborators by learning the fundamentals of visual communication. 421-1110.

Hiring Event- Advantage Solutions: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Goodwill of Central & Northern Arizona, 4308 Historic Route 66. Advantage Solutions will be on-site interviewing for event specialists both full time and part time positions, $11./hour. Dress professionally and bring a copy of your resume. 556-5096.

CAL Film Series: 'Hombre': 7-9 p.m. NAU Liberal Arts Building, room 120, 700 S. Humphreys. 1967. Martin Ritt directed one of Paul Newman's signature roles -- a white man raised by an Apache family who becomes the only hope stagecoach passengers have after they're robbed of everything. Free and open to the public. Print a complimentary parking pass at

Student Massage Clinic: 3:30-5:50 p.m. ASIS Massage Education, 113 W. Phoenix Ave. Every week or two students are learning new massage and bodywork modalities, and so as clients, you can expect to experience an abundance of different techniques. 224-8210. $30.

Rockin' Mardi-Gras: 7-10 p.m. Orpheum Theater, 15 W. Aspen Ave. Featuring Rock Nine and Hurricanes. Free. 380-2292.

Northern Arizona Parkinson's Support Group: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The Peaks Senior Living Community, 3150 Winding Brook Road. Monthly meeting. 526-3115.

Wednesday, Feb. 14

'The Music of Silence' Flagstaff Premiere: 7-9 p.m. Harkins Cinemas, 4751 E. Marketplace Dr. From the Academy Award-nominated director of "Il Postino" and "The Merchant of Venice" - Michael Radford - comes this mesmerizing and beautiful biopic of Andrea Bocelli, a blind boy, who against all odds becomes one of the most world renowned opera singers. 282-1177. $12.

BLE Foundation Fundraiser: 5-9 p.m. Blendz Winery. Valentine fundraiser for the Best Life Ever (BLE) Foundation. A special BLE Wine Blend is currently available for sale. Proceeds from bottle sales as well as sales from the evening will benefit BLE. 779-6445.

Justice for Nicole Joe Vigil: 5 p.m. Heritage Square, 6 E. Aspen Ave., Flagstaff. Wear red and dress for the weather, limited supply of candles, you're welcome to bring your own candle.

Blood Drive: 1:30-5:30 p.m. CollegeAmerica, 399 S. Malpais. The cold and flu season is worse than expected this year and is preventing many donors from giving blood. Give blood and receive a voucher for a free pizza slice and soft drink, donated by Fratelli Pizza. 607-0152.

Friendship Tea and Valentine Exchange: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Foresight Learning Center, 8245 Koch Field Road. We will exchange Valentines, create special projects, play "lovely" games and enjoy treats! Have your child bring 20-25 Valentines with his or her name on them, but do not address them to specific children. RSVP to 527-8337.

Blood Drive: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. LDS Institute of Religion, 239 W. Saunders. All blood types are urgently needed. Give blood and receive a voucher for a free slice and drink, compliments of Fratelli Pizza. 877-827-4376.

Valentine's Day Special Screening: “The Princess Bride”: 7-9 p.m. Orpheum Presents, 15 W. Aspen Ave. $5. 607-4446.

Citizens' Climate Lobby: 6:30-7:30 p.m. Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 423 N. Beaver St. Learn how carbon fee and dividend works and how we can make it happen. 699-3441.


Leslie Schulz  

Dalila is a one-year old female retriever mix who is seriously looking for affection. She will stick by you through thick or thin. Please come visit Dalila at the Coconino Humane Association. You can see other adoptable pets at