Can he not use the topical meds for the ear infection, like Tri-otic oinment, Betagen (Gentamicin) spray, or Synotic drops? Those types are what I've always been given for ear infections.
And about his symptoms.....look up Canine Vestibular Syndrome on google. My older pointer had this, sort of a neurological vertigo I guess.....his passed within a week, some dogs have it longer, but it resembles signs of a stroke to a T. And is very common in older dogs. their whole equalibrium (sp?) is off.
Take care, Teresa ; )
How frustrating not to have a clear diagnosis by now. :-( Med Help now has two vets on the Ask a Vet forum. Participation is free, and I'm sure one of them will have some ideas for you to look into. Best of luck to you both - he sounds like a great dog. :-)
Also you may want to ask your vet about Adequan shots. I had an older Lab, about 10 and 100lbs, with very bad arthritis and joint problems. It was a wonder med for him. It is not steroids. It's like the oral glucosamine and it lubricates the joints and actually helps to rebuild cartilage.
It was unbelievable, he was running around again like he was half his age.
The shots have to go directly into the muscle, so the needle is large. But my boy didn't even flinch. He had 1 shot every 2 weeks for a bit, then once a month, then on to one every 2 months or so. For some dogs they last months, just depends on the pup with how often needed.
they were a bit pricey, about $35 each shot....this was 5 yrs ago. But for what it did, and not having to take piroxicam, or rymadyl, or any of the other NSAIDS, which can have awful side effects it was so worth it. i have had several dogs get UTI's and other bad side affects from the Rymadyl and Derramax.
And you certainly know how it is to lift such a big dog. After the shots he could get up on his own off the tile floors, get in the car, etc...
You can google the Adequan and read up on it, it really was a miracle med for him.
Take care, Teresa ; )
Oh and about the Canine Vestibular Syndrome.....they do have problems eating and drinking as their perception is off. We had to hand feed and give our baby ice cubes, or hold the bowl right up to him. It was as if he was drunk. We had to do the sling sheet to take him out, he was walking sideways so bad, it was as if the floor was in motion under him. Along with the head tilt, which is what made me think stroke at first too.....we were up north with family for the holidays and it was the stress of the drive & all the excitement going on, etc.. that did it. I got right online after it happened looking up doggie stroke and this is what came up......it was all his symptoms to a T, and like I said thankfully for him it was only about a week. He was 11 I think at the time. I called my vet down here where I live, and told him everything and he had me do some things and assured me what it was and it would pass, just couldn't say how long. there were a few differences between this and a stroke, can't remember what, but when I told him certain things he asked, he knew.
Sending your baby hugs & smooches from us, and wishing him well!