For the last few years, several people have started to oppose ear cropping in dogs. However more and more people visit the veterinary surgeon for these aesthetical operations. The idea is to give the dog a series of advantages:
1 To prevent chronical otitis which are suffered by most breeds which have dangling – ears.
2 Get better hearing skills with the new disposition of the outer ear.
3 Reduce the risk of tear of the outer ear and / or bruises (due to bites, barbed wires, bushes, etc)
4 And of course what cannot be denied is its aesthetic function, because it gives the dog an aggressive, more attentive sharper look, as a guard dog must have a discouraging appearance.
As regards the operation technique, it must be done under general anaesthesia so that it will not feel any pain or suffer. After the operation, a period of seven days is necessary to keep the stitches for the wound to close and heal. There will be eventually some discomforts for a couple of days in exchange for a lifetime enjoying its advantages.
We must not forget the consideration made by the standard of the breed:
“When confronted with the same level of quality, the dog which has cropped ears will be superior to the one whose ears have not been cropped.”
It is anyway interesting to comment on the fact that it is the breed’s club which makes the decision for ear cropping to be carried out or forbidden. At present there is no breed ´s club in Spain and in France, country of origin of the breed, ear cropping is still being done.
Naturally, as I have already mentioned, this must be carried out with general anaesthesia. Once the dog is completely under the effect of the anaesthesia, we must take the precaution of introducing some cotton wool into the inner ear to block it and prevent any liquids, such as antiseptics or blood, to get into the ear during the operation, and we proceed to clean the outer ear with an antiseptic (peroxide, iodine, alcohol).
Next we take as a point of reference the height of one of the ears, the existing length between the “truffle” and the “stop”. This measure is translated to the skull,
drawing an imaginary vertical line that joins the two ears and you place them next to each other. Where they touch at the indicated height you must cut the two ears with a pair of scissors at the same time, so that they will be exactly the same size.
We proceed to cut first one ear and then the other one. To cut the ear we use a special tong called Pincemin. We apply it on the dog and when it is very tight we cut by means of a scalpel or a pair of scissors the piece that remains outside of it. Once the cut has been done, we can keep the tong in its position for another four or five minutes to get a better haemostasis, Then the tong is removed and we use an electrical cauterizer to cauterize all the little vessels that might still be bleeding. Once this is done, and before we start applying the stitches, we remove with a pair of scissors what is called the “pendant” or lobe. This is a piece of skin and cartilage which has a triangular shape which is located in the base of the ear. In this way, we give it a round shape.
To apply the stitches we will use any kind of non – reabsorbing suture, if possible of a small calibre. We might apply individual stitches or continuous suture. Once the ear has been sutured, we proceed to the other ear, and when they arte both sutured we proceed to the union of one ear to the other on their external side of the outer ear by means of a textile glue. A little amount of it will be enough.
Thus the two ears are held together without any dangers with the borders of the wound uncovered, which will enable the application of antiseptics. We must be careful not to allow the pup to scratch its ears, because this delays healing and the time it takes for the ears to stretch. Once the borders of the wound have healed, the stitches are removed and the glue is kept until it comes out (four to six weeks after the operation). Sometimes we need to use bandages in order to help the ears remain pricked)
As regards the most convenient age for ear cropping, we can say that it can be done between the sixth and the fourteenth weeks of age. This is the best period to carry it out.
As regards the cut, we should say that this dog is valued for its toughness, so the cuts should give this dog this kind of look. It must be done by means of a stencil (either Pincemin or any other) to give make it slightly convex, making the outer side the convex one.
JESUS RUBIO ESQUIDE
(Veterinary and Beauce Sheepdog breeder. Member of Beauce Elite)