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Constant ear infection, HELP!

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Justinaaa, Aug 13, 2020.


  1. Justinaaa

    Justinaaa PetForums Newbie

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    Hi guys,

    So my lovely Ginny has been suffering with ear infection which we couldn’t get rid of with the use of various drops and oral medicine. She’s been having dirt in her ear every since I took her in as a baby. For 7 years she’s been fine with slight dirt which was occasionally cleaned. In the past couple of months she’s been soiling the house which after consulting with the vet seemed like she was stressed due to a cat in the estate we live at.
    In the past month she has been smelling horribly which turned out to be an ear infection. She was on 3 different ear drop and eventually oral medicine.
    In the past two weeks she has been having issues with jumping onto stuff that she usually does.

    Yesterday she threw up, her legs weren’t taking her in a straight line so she hid under bed where she developed head tilt towards right side. We took her to emergency vet where she’s currently at. I called for an update and apparently there are no changes even though they put her on antibiotics and steroids.

    I’m here crying, thinking I might need to put her down if she doesn’t get better. I want to avoid that at any cost. So my question is, did anyone go through similar situation and did that get resolved and cat got better?
    I’m also looking for any kind of advice, as I’m worried now that the vet might not be the most experienced since she couldn’t tell me anything other than its a really bad ear infection.

    HELP!!
     
  2. Chris.

    Chris. PetForums Junior

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    Strangely, I've just post a post very similar to this. Our boy has FeLV + Hyperthyroid and started being very unsteady yesterday. They just clean his ears, said his temperature wasn't too high and sent him home. Said to give them an update in a few days. Poor fella is very unsteady today and not eating much. Similar to you, hoping its not the end.
     
  3. Justinaaa

    Justinaaa PetForums Newbie

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    Oh no! Sorry to hear that!

    I took my Ginny three times and each time I was told to give the medicine and see how she was, unfortunately this back and forth didn’t do much with new drops every time.
    Now, she got to the point of not being able to keep her head straight and even strong antibiotics haven’t helped after spending 24h in the vet.

    I’m starting to doubt the vet

    I would say, call the vet and ask what to do, if the cat is not walking steadily there is clearly something not right. The sooner the action is taken, the better (I hope) for the poor kitty!
     
  4. Chris.

    Chris. PetForums Junior

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    Poor Ginny, that sounds stressful. We were also quite happy with our vet, they are very caring etc, but a few things recently have made us doubt them a bit too. Hope Ginny improves soon.
     
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Justinaaa and welcome :)

    Unless a cat has ear mites, ear infections are generally a secondary condition, i.e. they are the result of some other underlying medical problem.

    Ear mites are the cause in about half of all feline ear infections. I assume the vet has ruled out ear mites as the cause?

    Have blood tests been done to identify a possible underlying cause of the ear infection? [e.g. autoimmune disease or viruses such as FIV or FeLV? ]

    Here are some of the contributing causes for external ear infections and middle ear infections :---
    • An overgrowth of yeast or bacteria, or both
    • Food allergies
    • Autoimmune disease
    • A polyp within the ear canal
    • A foreign body in ear canal
    • Environmental allergies e.g. pollen, or cleaning chemicals used in the home
    • Diabetes mellitus
    • Immune suppressing viruses [e.g. FIV or FeLV]

    Have bacteria samples from the ear been tested at the lab to identify the type of bacteria so the correct antibiotic can be prescribed according to sensitivity of the bacteria? Has ear wax been tested for fungal infection? If the infection has reached the middle ear, the vet may prescribe a course of oral antibiotics as well as topical ones for the ear.

    Has your cat been prescribed a course of steroids to reduce the inflammation? In some cases surgery may be needed to remove swollen tissue that has narrowed or closed the ear canal.

    Loss of balance, holding the head tilted, and confusion are some of the usual symptoms with an ear infection in cats.

    Food allergies are definitely worth considering - itchy ears are a common symptom of food allergy. Prior to this current ear infection have you observed the cat scratching her ears a lot? Does she scratch anywhere else on her face, neck or body? (I mean scratch more than occasionally)
     
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  6. Justinaaa

    Justinaaa PetForums Newbie

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    Hi @chillminx

    Thank you so much for detailed response - much appreciated!

    Unfortunately the vet hasn't done any sample testing which really got me confused and a bit dubious in vets ability to treat.

    So she has been having dark brown discharge from her ear that stinks, the vet prescribed drops at first, two weeks later I was back as her behaviour got a bit odd - the vet gave different kinds of drops, and the following week we were back and YET AGAIN ANOTHER set of drops were given along with oral medication. These various drops did absolutely nothing and this week we rushed into the vet with emergency as her head was titling as if she was having a seizure, her eyes were flicking and she couldn't walk (which I now understand are normal symptoms of severe ear infection).

    She was taken to the vet on Wednesday and only on FRIDAY they did full clear out of both her ears. The vet has kept her in for the weekend and giving her steroids and antibiotics.

    I've been told that if these don't help this means that there's something else, something more serious.

    I'm ready to go for x-ray scans, tests, whatever it takes to get to the bottom of this and make sure she doesn't go through a lot of pain.

    Can you or anyone think it could be something that I might need to really prepare myself for? I'm not ready to lose my baby but at the same time I don't want her to suffer.
    Many thanks,
    J


    PS.I've got a feeling like the vet was just giving her whatever they had to see if it sticks/helps. Just like the rest of UKs health system - if it doesn't kill ya, let's try another.
     
  7. slw

    slw PetForums Senior

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    Hi, just read your bit about your cat having their head tilted, unsteady and flickering eyes and don’t want to alarm you, but couldn’t help but think of a cat we had many years ago that had this and we were told he had had a stroke.

    I’m sure your vet would’ve said if this was a possibility, though.

    Chillminx will likely know if these are similar symptoms, I’m sure.
     
  8. Justinaaa

    Justinaaa PetForums Newbie

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    That's what I was thinking! When I saw this happening to her I called the vet and said she was doing this and it looks like seizure or stroke!

    I'm worried that this vet is absolutely useless and doesn't know anything! I know it sounds very rude, but as you imagine you don't get on the wrong side of cat mama haha.

    Do you reckon I should go with my gut instinct and take her to another vet and potentially order specific tests? I'm a bit worried that it is more brain/brain stem related than the ear.

    I'm to call the vet at 8am strict, to find out how she's been over the weekend and if she's ready to go home

    Thank you so much for listening/reading to me ramble on, but I'm a worried mama!
     
  9. slw

    slw PetForums Senior

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    You could see what the vet says in the morning and express your concerns.

    If you aren’t happy then you could get a second opinion elsewhere.

    I hope you get some answers and Ginny is better soon.
     
  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Justinaaa - as Ginny has the chronic ear infection I am more inclined to think that the head tilting, disorientation and balance problems are connected with that, than a stroke. If her symptoms had come on suddenly (with no ear infection being involved) I might have suspected a stroke or a seizure. (But I am not a vet, so I could be wrong....).

    Ear infections can be a real nuisance to get rid of sometimes (in cats). Possibly there could be some kind of a blockage in Ginny's ear canal e.g. a polyp, which is preventing the ear drops getting to the middle ear (or whichever part of the ear is affected). if so surgery would be the probable answer.

    It sounds to me as though your vet is taking Ginny's ear problem seriously as they have now cleaned out both her ears and have had her as an in-patient all weekend. if there is no improvement in her condition then I am certain the vet will want further investigations done e.g. x-rays. So I don't think there would really be a point in going somewhere else at this stage and starting again.

    If it were me I would stay with this vet while you wait for a diagnosis. When you know what has been found, and what will be involved in Ginny's treatment decide at that point if you want to stay with the current vet or move to a new vet.

    Vets do not tend to do a lot of expensive tests until they have ruled out common causes of the condition or infection etc. .Lots of owners have pet insurance these days, but even so, insurance companies are not happy to pay out if they think vets are being profligate and carrying out a lot of un-necessary tests.

    Please let us know how Ginny is when she comes home. I hope very much she is better. x
     
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  11. slw

    slw PetForums Senior

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    Yes, a polyp in the ear crossed my mind too.

    See what the vet says today. As Chillminx says, the vets have cleaned out both her ears and kept her in for the weekend, which is a good start. Hopefully Ginny will have improved after this and there will be no need for further investigations.

    Hope all goes well.
     
  12. slw

    slw PetForums Senior

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    Just wondering how Ginny is today? X
     
  13. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    @chillminx: have resurrected this thread as have just heard from a friend of mine that she has been having problems with her cat's ear (just one ear). She has already been twice to the vet, was initially given a course of Surolan. This did not seem to improve matters, went back and was given a second course which she thought had worked, but apparently has not, it's back, still in one ear, dark brown/blackish wax and red where she has been scratching.
    She has made another appointment, but it's about a week hence. This is a single cat who never goes out, so I imagine unlikely to be a foreign body. She did mention that the cat was playing up when the Surolan was used, so it is possible that she didn't get the stuff in as well as she might have done. Anyway, she is at the vet in a week, what do you think she should be asking him to do next/first? Should he first eliminate the mite question? Would be grateful for any advice to pass on as she's at a loss and it's so difficult right now that you can't actually go in with the cat and tell the vet what is going on.
    Thank you in advance for your reply. :Cat
    ETA: I have one of my own who literally just gets dirty ears, vet not concerned, I use Otodex in them every few months. But this is clearly a different problem.
     
  14. Justinaaa

    Justinaaa PetForums Newbie

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    Hi to those who were trying to help with Ginny's situation.

    @slw
    @chillminx

    thought I'd update you with her situation which is not a happy end, I'm very sad to say.

    For weeks we've been going to vet to treat something they couldn't even identify not did they test for it until I suggested CT which we got referred to in Belfast. Not only did they took a lot of money for it but they were pretty useless and I had to chase them to find out that my poor Ginny has adenocarcinoma. These types of tumours infiltrate into the local tissues, so this means that it would be impossible to effectively remove it. She has weeks to live.
    Currently she's on antibiotics and steroids to help relieve the pain and inflammation, we're judging by her behaviour when it's time to say goodbye. I'm upset, sad and very angry. Going through 5 stages of grief and I'm pretty certain that this wouldn't happen if vets took it seriously the first time we came.

    So to anyone who has a kitty that suffers with ear infections. Look out for smelly discharge that comes from ear(s), your cats balance, head tilts and ability to chew and drink. If those symptoms happen to you - go to vet ASAP and ask for CT and histopathology. These will give you definite answers and hopefully treat whatever it is ASAP.

    Thank you for everyone who has replied on this thread - much much appreciated!!
    J
     
  15. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    Really sorry to hear this after you tried so hard. I just posted (#13) about a friend's cat which currently has ear problems. But my neighbour's cat is wearing a cone and I asked him why. Because she is scratching her ears. What has the vet said? Well, apparently there was no treatment, he says it's just a bad habit and the cone will get her out of the habit of doing it. And this is a practice considered the best in the area. Really sorry you are going through this. XX
     
  16. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Justinaaa - I am so sorry to hear the devastating news about your beloved Ginny being diagnosed with adenocarcinoma. She is only quite young still as I recall - 7 or 8 yrs old?

    What a shock for you! Dreadful!

    I hope she can be kept comfortable for as long as possible with the drugs she is on,

    Sending you warm sympathy and much love to Ginny xx
     
  17. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi Calvine, if the cat is indoors only, and a single cat it seems very unlikely s/he has ear mites.

    After 2 courses of Surolan with no improvement, I would be asking for an examination of the ear with an otoscope (under sedation) to see if a polyp can be seen.

    If nothing can be seen, then the next step may need to be an x-ray or CT scan of the area.

    Your friend could try dietary changes (before considering a CT scan) to see if that helps at all. Food allergies can cause very itchy ears, sometimes one ear gets worse than the other because the cat scratches it more and it gets infected.

    How old is the cat?

    Could you ask your friend what foods she feeds her cat and whether she is willing to consider trying the cat on different foods? Bearing in mind it may help.......or it may not.
     
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  18. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    Thank you @chillminx; I will get back to her. The cat is about ten now I think. She has had bouts of diarrhoea for as long as I can remember and subsequently many dietary changes. I seem to recall the current one, which seems to work, is Hills z/d (dry) on veterinary recommendation. The ear problem predates the current z/d diet apparently.
     
    #18 Calvine, Oct 7, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
  19. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hills Z/D can be a successful diet for managing food allergies if the cat will eat it. I expect the dry recipe is better tolerated than the wet version of Z/D (which many cats dislike).

    The Z/D contains hydrolised chicken protein and rice, and not all cats get on with these ingredients. Hydrolising the protein can help in many cases, but if the cat has had a severe allergy to chicken for a while, it may not help. Also rice does not agree with some cats.

    But if the dry Z/D has completely stopped the diarrhoea episodes I can understand the owner might be hesitant about changing the diet again. I do think there is a chance the itchy ear is related to food allergies though.

    Has your friend tried the cat on a diet of plain home cooked meat at all? Preferably a novel protein such as kangaroo? One of my cats who has multiple food allergies made a huge improvement on this diet over 8 weeks. Her coat became thick and shiny again whereas it had become dull and greasy and her skin had been flaky. Unfortunately for my cat I cannot find a vit + mineral completer that doesn't make her itchy again so after the 8 weeks I have had to very cautiously reintroduce some cat foods to her diet.
     
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  20. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    Thank you again for your reply, @chillminx: and no, no tests were done or suggested as far as I can see. I will suggest the alternative diet to her. She is very grateful for the advice you have offered, and thanks you warmly! XX
     
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