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Dirty ears that is NOT ear mites!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My nine months old kitten, Liberia, has really dirty ears. It looks like dark brown ear wax and it's quite a lot of it. Big globs in one of the ears. She's had this problem for months and have been treated for ear mites several times with two different kinds of medications. Last she saw a vet he said it was ear mites but he didn't do a test, just looked at it. I cleaned her ears completely and gave her some Accarax (sp) ear drops three weeks ago and now they are filthy again.
I can't figure out what it can be. Could it still be ear mites that has not responded to any of the treatments? My other two cats don't have this problem.
I should mention that one of my dogs keep licking Liberia's ears a lot. I don't know if this could make it worse or if she may have licked off some medicine.
Another thing that may be relevent is that Liberia has had other health problems. She came to me as a foster from a shelter at about 5-6 weeks old so I don't know her history before that. But when she came to me she had a swollen belly and diarrhea. The vet found nothing in her stool but treated her with albon. Since she's been treated with several things and had tests but nothing has shown up. During the whole time she had diarrhea. The last month it's finally gotten better after she was treated with clavamox (for the second time) and I switched their food to Science Diet (we've tried other foods as well). I don't know which made the differense. But yesterday I saw that she had some diarrhea again and she seems to have low energy.

We're going to the vet early next week for all of this but I thought that someone here may have some idea about what's wrong with her ears. Not the diarrhea, just the ears.

I'd appreciate any tips.


post #2 of 14
Shasha had alot of brownish ear wax in one ear, and the vet said it was a yeast infection. She gave me some medication to put in her ear once a day for a month and it cleared up. I also had to clean her ears with an ear cleaner that dries the moisture to inhibit yeast growth. Another thing is that she had black stuff on her chin, so I removed all plastic bowls and placemats and that went away,too. I don't know if the two are connected, but the vet says it's very possible.
post #3 of 14
Do her ears stink? She could have an infection, maybe yeast infection. I would try to get her to the vet sooner to have them check out her ears again.
post #4 of 14
i 3rd the possibility of a yeast infection. my best friend's cat had this - he ended up w/deformed ears... & the deformity made the infection more persistent in one ear. he finally had to have some of his outer ear removed.
post #5 of 14
I 4th the yeast the infection. The antibiotics which can cause diarrhea especially since the cat has been on so many. I know you don't want help with that but I was just connecting them. If she has yeast problems then certain antibiotics are not going to be effective.

It seems like something could be affecting the kitty internally making it difficult to fix the problem.
post #6 of 14
I also agree that its an infection-that is the one of the problems I have with my senior OX-he actually has it only in one ear, but he has had it off and on for years and years. I have a difficult time with the medication and as a result he has a large mass in his one year from scratching. I believe they can culture this at the vets office to determine for sure.
post #7 of 14
Bella had a lot of brown waxy gunk when she had her yeast infection. This was after months of treatment for URIs. It was different from the gunk she had with the mites (that was more crumbly like coffee grounds, the yeast infection smelled funny and was more like waxy gunk)
post #8 of 14
If it was earmites, they are visible and very obvious under a microscope. And really they should be checking before dispensing medication. My in-laws' cat had ear infections in both ears, but was treated for mites. The poor guy was uncomfortable for a long time. Turned out he had a bacterial infection in one ear, and yeast infection in the other. I was rather ticked, because when I worked at a shelter we had to make sure it was mites before treatment. Lucky their vet figured it out pretty quickly after they adopted him.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the tips. It really sounds like what Liberia has is a yeast infection. I didn't know you could get a yeast infection in the ear but since she's been on so many antibiotics it makes perfect sense.
Poor baby, I've been treating her for ear mites and cleaning her ears out so many times that she now doesn't want me to touch her ears at all. She starts giving me the "kitty growl" and tries to escape over my shoulder. If she has an infection her ears are probably painful too. She's been through so much. I just want it to end so that she can have the energy to run around and play like the other cats do. It hurts me to see her suffer.
I'm hoping that we can finally get to the bottom of what is bothering my baby. We got a new vet so I'm hopeful.
Wish us luck.

Mom to Liberia, Ziggy, Talulah, Rocket and Toshi
post #10 of 14
my patchy has this prob and its because she has food allergies. sometimes she does get yeast infections due to the scratching.
she REFUSES to eat prescription food, but is doing pretty well on friskies (she is one PICKY little biatch when it comes to food and even flavors LOL) but her ears have been pretty clean. the vet told me to just wipe them out with gauze, vinegar and water or i could buy some cleanser she had which was basically vinegar and water.
post #11 of 14
My Callie has had a yeast infection in her ears before. She hated to have her ears touched. The vet cleaned them out one time while I was there and it about made me cry. He then put this goopy medicine in her ears to treat the infection. I had to take her back for a follow up 2 weeks later, which I did, but I asked them to clean her ears out while she was under anesthesia for her teeth cleaning. I will not hold her while they do something like that to her EVER again!

post #12 of 14
your vet makes you hold your kitty during stuff like that????

when chloe got her stitches out from her spay (id just adopted her the week before) she was crying and the vet and tech took her completely out of the room so she wouldnt associate being held down with me.

the vet i have now uses denim bags, kinda like big pillow cases to put the kitties in so they cant scratch or get away. she used one on patchy when she cleaned her ears in may. she put little numbing anti-itch drops in her ears when she cleaned them and patchy was in 7th heaven hahaha!
i wish i had pix of her in that big blue bag with her greasy little ears -- she looked so cute and content, almost to the point of being drunk. it was really adorable!

maybe you should recommend the bags to your vet. my vet said someone recommended them to her and she couldnt find them online or anything so she had a seamstress make them with denim from walmart since kitties cant tear thru denim. she just used a pillow case pattern and just added a big wide 3inch drawstring on the outside. it was basically a big burrito wrap on the kitties.

patchy seemed to like it. she had to be put in it several times and had no problem going in or out. i had more probs getting her in the dang carrier!!!
post #13 of 14
My Randy had a pretty substantial URI when he was removed from his previous living situation with 93 other cats, and he also had a nasty case of ear mites. The shelter gave him antibiotics and put him on ear drops. When he came to live with me he was still supposed to be on the drops. We took him to a vet who cleaned out his ears, put him on another antibiotic and different drops. He was still itchy and had the discharge, but no sign of mites. He was put on Baytril for 2 weeks, then got his ears cleaned again and he was fine. I was sent home with stuff to clean his ears, and we clean them about every 3 weeks. Randy has ear polyps, and the waxy buildup can get stuck behind the polyps and make him very itchy, and can lead to a yeast infection.
post #14 of 14

Hi we had the same problem with our female cat. She was treated several times for ear mites and had her ears cleaned a few times and it never helped. We tried a different vet that suggested it was a food allergy. We changed her food to Blue Basics brand that is grain free and uses duck instead of chicken as the first ingredient. Within two weeks all that black stuff in her ears and all the itching was gone. Her ears are completely clear. The food is a bit more expensive than the cheaper brands but it is worth it. Just make sure not to mix foods for a few weeks or offer any treats so you can see if the food is the cause.

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