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Ears, ears, ears...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
My Josie has had problems with her ears since I adopted her in March. Her ears were covered with black goop and was tested three times for earmites. Each time she up came negative and she is now on Advantage Multi. The vet determined that it was probably a bacteria or fungal infection resulting from past earmite infestation.

She was given antifungal and antibacterial ointment for 8 days. After an exam, the vet said that she could go off the ointment but that I should clean her ears with regular cleaner for another 5 days. Her ears were 99% better but I still got smidgens of black on the q-tips and cotton balls. Well, I went on a trip for 5 days and got home today and her ears are dotted with black stuff again. Very frustrating. Was the 8 day treatment too short? Should I use the remaining ointment on her again? Or do I need to see the vet and get another med?

In addition, on the outside of her right ear, there was a patch of crusted gray with missing hair. Ringworm? I can't believe the petsitter didn't notice that...none of his reports mentioned it.
post #2 of 19
Earmites should be easy for a vet to see - so if all three tests were negative, that's probably correct.

Since the other treatments haven't really helped solve the problem have you considered possible allergies?
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yes, I've considered allergies. I've wondered if it's food related but she's had this problem since March and she was eating science diet and authority initially. She's been on evo and innova for the last six weeks. And the problem has been persistent. In order to find out if it's food related, would I need to do a food elimination diet for her?

She's also always had a teary left eye. It's a little thicker right now. Did my vacation stress her out?

The difference I've noticed this time is that along with the brown goop she has an ulcer in the flap of her left ear. And as mentioned before, she has a nasty crusty gray area on the back of her right ear.
post #4 of 19
First of all, have your cat's ear goop tested to see if it's a yeast infection. If so, have her ears flushed and thoroughly cleaned out. It may be a good idea to have her anesthetized to do it. (I watched one time when they did this to my cat it and just about did me in!) Then, treat the infection with medication from the vet.

Callie, my non-herpes old cat, has allergies and it causes her ears to accumulate ear goop. When I have her teeth cleaned, she gets her ears cleaned, too. The vet then puts a medicated gel-type goopy medicine (that Callie hates) in her ears. It stays in there for about a week or 2, then it's gone. I think it's called BNT ear medicine. It takes care of all her ear problems for a long, long time. I don't have to give her drops or pills, the goop does it all. Now, when I take her in for her semi-yearly blood tests (CRF), she also gets her ears checked and flushed if needed.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Each time she has had her ears tested, I've asked if the test is specifically for earmites or if they can also determine if it's a fungal and/or bacteria problem. I've been told each time that it's likely an infection arising from a past earmite infestation but you know, the vet never definitively tells me if they know what type of infection it is.

Does that require a different type of test? My preferred vet won't be in the office until Thursday so I'm awaiting a phone call. I was told over the phone that since this wasn't an emergency situation, I should resume cleaning twice daily until I hear from the vet.

Steph, thanks for the tip. I will ask the vet to consider Callie's solution.
post #6 of 19
I would ask specifically that they test for a yeast infection.
post #7 of 19
I have the same problem with my seven year old cat. She always has black, wet gooie stuff in her ears. When tested sometime its an infection, sometimes not. I've been told by every vet ive taken her to that some cats are just more prone to that. I've got 1 cat that has never had to have her ears cleaned, they've never been dirty and she's 6!
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Same here. The other cat's ears are clean as a whistle, knock on wood. So what do you do? Just clean the dirty ears on a regular basis? To get discolored gooey stuff, it has to be more than excess wax? In any case, for mine, I'm pretty sure it's not a wax problem. Since the problem has restarted, I found the goo is spots caught in the itty bitty parts of her ear. The problem areas are not even in her canal which is slightly waxy and light brown.
post #9 of 19
Does your vet use one of those longer scope things to look in the ear canal? Mine uses one connected to a monitor so you can see deep in there to see what's going on? This is what he found the last time I had Callie in for her dental and ear flushing.

Hosted on Fotki
(Click to see it larger)

It's a combination of wax, hair, and dry skin from the ear canal that gets lodged because her ear canal is usually swollen due to allergies. You might be dealing with something like this.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Nope, vet hasn't shown that tool. I'm familiar with such scopes, since I have the same done to me for sinus and acid reflux problems. Josie is the one with diet problems so an allergy is not out of the question. She seems to have problems properly digesting the protein rich food I'm feeding her. I took her off of grain-free a couple of weeks ago but she's still having soft stools and very smelly gas.

Talked to the vet today and she said to go ahead and use tresaderm for a week. I forgot to ask, should I just use the tresaderm? Or should I wash her ears first with the cleaning solution and then apply tresaderm? And since tresaderm is a cold liquid, what's the best way to apply it? She's really going to hate having it squirt into her canal.

I think if this doesn't work, I'll probably see another vet. The current ones are okay, nice enough but I just get the feeling that they are offering middling service at best.
post #11 of 19
Mine has been on Natural Ear Wash, Zymox and most recently animax ointment, (off the top of my head) none of which have helped permanently, the problem has always returned.
post #12 of 19
The allergies I was talking about are airborne allergies. My two girls are very susceptible to airborne allergens when the seasons change.

When I've had to use the tresaderm drops, I've rubbed them between my hands or stuck them between my legs for a few minutes to take the chill off.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Do you clean their ears first OR do you just go straight to tresaderm?
post #14 of 19
I just go straight to the tresaderm. I figure I've only got about 3.2 seconds until she starts to balk and I'm not about to waste it cleaning ears first! LOL
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Used tresaderm for 7 days and the ears were spotless. Waited two weeks and checked today. Josie's right ear is mostly clean with a bit of light brown exude in the canal. Her left ear canal has a bit of light brown also, but the new and disconcerting symptom is that her left ear flap right near the edges is red and inflamed with a bit of gunk. What's this now?

Poor kitty, her ears are just not cooperating.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Her left ear is still red. I made a vet appointment for Thursday and I'm traveling for work Monday noon till Tuesday night. I may see I can take her in Monday morning. She's pretty quiet and sleeping in the closet. I will see if she will play tonight as we always do every night.

I'm kinda worried about leaving her alone for 30+ hours.
post #17 of 19
My old Mama Kitty had a huge problem with her ears. She had been infested with mites when I found her, It took 1 1/2 months to clear her up, but she had a secondary problem with ear inferctions caused by the mites. Her ears were never healthy after the mites. We had surgery to remove infection masses, and rounds of earwash, and cream and goo and more earwash and more cream and more goo. Sometimes the mites just do damage that never really go away. Now this cat had been outdoor when I found her, and I turned her into an indoor cat, she never went back out.
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Went to the vet on Friday and long story short, the visit was a fiasco. I told the receptionist that I was done with them and no, I would not reschedule for next Tuesday.

So I'm going to try to see a local vet recommended by a couple of fellow cat adoption volunteers.

Meanwhile, any recommendations for OTC meds to at least soothe the outer flaps of the ears? I have vet-prescribed earwash that I use to clean inside her ear. What should I use to help with the scabby dry bits on the outer flaps? It must itch because I have seen her scratch with her hind legs. She's missing fur in the area and it's red.
post #19 of 19
Are the outer parts of the ears very inflamed? I'm not sure if this would help, but it wouldn't harm a cat. You could try lightly wiping the outsides of the ear with a cloth or cotton ball dipped in chamomile tea - as long as none of it was actually getting into the ear.

I'm sorry to hear you're having so much trouble with vets. that you can find someone more helpful soon.
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