Chronic ear infection

scoutandmaxine

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
51
Purraise
35
Hello, I posted before about my cat Maxine who had developed Horner's syndrome after getting her ears cleaned by the vet... Thankfully after a few months, the horners syndrome is for the most part gone. Sometimes she still squints but mostly her eye is just fine.. Her ear on the other hand is still not quite fine. After multiple treatments from the vet that amounted to absolutely nothing, I got my money refunded and decided to try zymox. After 2 weeks of the zymox, her ear is very clean and she is not scratching or shaking her head anymore. She's totally normal. However, the horrible smell is still very much there. The smell occurred after the vets prescribed Tresaderm and I used that for a week. Before she did not have that symptom but now the smell will not go away even though her ear looks and apparently feels just fine. Not sure if I should take her to another vet. Or just leave her be because she's not bothered anymore. I'm worried about overcleaning her ear and making things worse so I want to give her a break. But I don't want it to get worse if there is still a lingering infection. Any advice would be appreciated, thank you.
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
4,937
Purraise
7,243
Location
Los Angeles
I remember your story of the Horner's syndrome and the long road that put you both on. I hope that others will give you their opinion here, but what concerns me is that you are smelling something that you describe as "horrible." To me, this has always meant that there was still an ear infection.

I would definitely go to another vet if you feel you need to pursue this. Bring records if necessary and make them listen to the whole story and then decide on whether or not you want to allow them to go forward with treatment based upon what they find.

What is the time frame of the Tresaderm/Zymox? I am not completely clear about which was used first or if they were used concurrently?

I certainly understand your hesitation to put Maxine through another episode of anything, but I would want to investigate the odor if she were my cat.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

scoutandmaxine

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
51
Purraise
35
I used the Tresaderm first and that was for 7 days. And it was during that week that i noticed the odor which hadn't been there before. I didn't try the zymox until maybe a week and half after that, perhaps two weeks. And the smell has been consistent now. Its disappointing bc the zymox definitely cleaned her ears very well (the amount of wax that came out, wow!) But it didn't do anything to get rid of the smell. Its a really bad smell so its concerning. I just feel bad putting her through the vet again especially after it being totally useless before. Would the zymox be worth another shot? Maybe now that the ear is cleaned, it can do better at killing the infection? I know there's a more advanced one than the kind I'm using now so perhaps that'd be worth a shot? I will take her to a different vet if there continues to be no change in the smell. I'd just hate to go through another stressful situation. Its the only symptom she has, just that smell. So not sure what they would suggest?
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
13,792
Purraise
18,402
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
The only thing I would worry about is if the smell is there because the infection, or remnants of it, have moved further down the ear canal where a different kind of treatment may be needed. I can only guess that if it has traveled further down it might not elicit the same itching reaction, nor visible wax/dirt especially since you have used the Zymox? I don't know how common this would be, but it is something to consider.
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
4,937
Purraise
7,243
Location
Los Angeles
You certainly have to use your own judgment about the vet and about trying the other formulation to see if it clears it up. I cannot find anything about an odor coming from a cat's ear that is not a sign of something going on.....even discussing the specific type of odor still comes back to something wrong. If there is an issue deep in the ear, I think that the more usual signs like wax might be eradicated but still not have controlled the infection.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

scoutandmaxine

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
51
Purraise
35
Just got back from the cats only vet with Maxine and they gave me Baytril and an oral antibiotic to give to her for two weeks. The vet mentioned that she may have an ear polyp but that she cant really tell because her ears are too dirty or its too well hidden. They cleaned her ears and the vet looked again but still said she was unable to see if there was a polyp or not. The xray she recommended requires sedation and was quoted at $600... that is just to see if there is a polyp or not. Seems way too expensive, and even if they did find a polyp, the surgery for those seem scary and extremely expensive. I am going to hold off on all of that and see how this round of drops and antibiotic go.. I also got a list of recommended foods I can try considering that the yeast infection probably comes from an allergy. I'm going to keep her away from chicken and see how that goes. Anyone have any experience with Baytril? Is that any better than Zymox or is it pretty much the same?
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
4,937
Purraise
7,243
Location
Los Angeles
Zymox is an enzyme and Baytril contains antibiotics, so it is not the same. At this point, do what your vet is telling you to do and see if it resolves this problem/odor.

Nasopharyngeal Polyps in Cats

Some info about polyps, some in the ear canal. I wonder if your vet was suggesting an endoscope or MRI which is why the quote was so high. I can't imagine a plain old xray costing that much....and maybe they are not useful diagnostically in this case.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8

scoutandmaxine

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
51
Purraise
35
Zymox is an enzyme and Baytril contains antibiotics, so it is not the same. At this point, do what your vet is telling you to do and see if it resolves this problem/odor.

Nasopharyngeal Polyps in Cats

Some info about polyps, some in the ear canal. I wonder if your vet was suggesting an endoscope or MRI which is why the quote was so high. I can't imagine a plain old xray costing that much....and maybe they are not useful diagnostically in this case.
I already am doing everything the vet tells me to.... She was given the baytril otic drops yesterday evening and this morning, I'm already noticing the odor is not as strong as it was. So I'm very hopeful. She spit out some of the oral antibiotic this morning so I will have to be better at administrating that this evening.
And yes I think it is a ct scan that the vet mentioned, which I am hesitant about because her symptoms are not at all severe enough to be going that route yet. Literally her only symptom is the odor. So after 2 weeks of these antibiotics, if the infection persists, I will definitely be more willing to do that ct scan. I just don't feel we're at that point yet. And I really feel that her symptoms seem a lot more like an allergy than a polyp. Then again, it could be both! Here's to hoping that is not the case. I just can't tell if her itching and grooming is a normal amount or if its excessive. I'm such a worrier that I could be making something out of nothing. Shes not losing any hair, no bald spots, and she is eating and pooping normally, and always super playful. So she really seems fine. I just hope the baytril helps get rid of the infection. I'm looking into rabbit limited ingredient cat food to see if that'll help with her occasional itchiness. She's refusing to try the instinct kind so going to have to look into other options. I'm hoping to get her strictly on wet food but she loves her crunches so it'll be a challenge.
 

stephanietx

TCS Member
Veteran
Joined
Dec 1, 2005
Messages
13,800
Purraise
2,363
Location
Texas
Has the vet done a culture to test for a yeast infection? There's an ear goop paste that can be applied to treat it.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10

scoutandmaxine

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
51
Purraise
35
Has the vet done a culture to test for a yeast infection? There's an ear goop paste that can be applied to treat it.
I believe the only thing they did was find out that there is both a yeast and bacterial infection. Not sure how specific the test was though.
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
4,937
Purraise
7,243
Location
Los Angeles
Glad that you are making progress. I agree with you taking this step by step and giving the Baytril a chance to work.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

scoutandmaxine

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
51
Purraise
35
Update: Maxine is very unhappy with the ear drops but the strong odor in her ear is mostly gone. I'm hoping it's not just been masked by the drops and its actually better. Shes been eating the Instinct Rabbit food but she is still grooming excessively. She doesn't scratch more than normal but she does groom all over her body and bite at her feet and tail way more than normal. I wish I could figure out what her allergy is. I know it takes time for a food trial to work but she seems worse after eating. Should I give the instinct more time? Or try something else? I'm wondering now if it could be a pea allergy bc that has been in a lot of foods shes ate, including the instinct. But then again, I'm just guessing without actually having a clue what could be causing this. I am going to bring it up again with the vet. The vet was more interested in doing the polyp exam and didn't really give me much info regarding allergies.
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
4,937
Purraise
7,243
Location
Los Angeles
11 Key Facts About Food Allergies In Cats – TheCatSite Articles
Food Allergies in Cats

That is great news about the ear. Let's hope that the Baytril is clearing up whatever infection there was. Personally, I don't think that it is masking a smell that was really terrible.

Food allergies are tricky in that if you don't use one food consistently for a few weeks, it gets hard to track....unless you see some immediate bad reaction and you think that the current food is to blame.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14

scoutandmaxine

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
51
Purraise
35
Unfortunately a few days after i used up all of the baytril drops, Maxie's ear started to smell again and the wax is building up. The odor is not as strong as it was but its definitely frustrating. Shes also been experiencing way more itchiness all over her body, so I am a lot more certain that the ear issue is tied to her allergies. I notice right after she eats, she'll over groom, scratch at her face, and bite her toenails. I've had no success in getting her to eat the limited ingredient foods. I've tried quite a few at this point and now I have given up on dry food bc I know figuring out the allergy will be easier done with wet food. However, in order to transition her to canned only, I've just now started giving her fancy feast pates. I was worried about her not eating well bc she doesn't like these new foods so at this point I'm just making sure she's eating. Just like her sister, she loves the FF. I've tried SO many better quality canned foods with no success. Although I still make an effort to get them to try new ones occasionally. She has a recheck appt with the vet on Thursday where I'm hoping for some solutions. I know the vet wants to look for an ear polyp but I'm just not ready to spend 600 on a maybe it is or maybe it isn't. Especially since the majority of her symptoms suggest an allergy. I read that typically moisture is created in the ear due to an allergy. Is that true? There is a spray of water that comes out of her ear when she shakes her head (although this isn't a common occurrence.)
What can be done to help with her allergy symptoms while I attempt the food trials? I am going to go to the pet stores to stock up on novel protein canned foods. I'm wary of peas though bc that has been in every food shes eaten since this started. But until I figure out what is best to feed her/what she'll actually eat, I'm hoping there is something that'll give her relief. At least another ear cleaning by the vet, they did an excellent job last time. She doesn't seem to be in pain and her main symptoms are wax build up, itchiness, and over grooming. She has thinning hair in a few spots on her arms but its barely noticeable. No scabs or totally bald spots so thats good but I worry its headed that way.
Sorry for the ridiculously long post.. I'm mostly just writing all of my thoughts and worries down so I don't keep overthinking and stressing about it lol. Anyway, thx if anyone actually reads this!
 

stephanietx

TCS Member
Veteran
Joined
Dec 1, 2005
Messages
13,800
Purraise
2,363
Location
Texas
I would ask for a culture of her ear and sedation for a thorough cleaning of her ear to extract any wax buildup. My old kitty had this issue and after 2 years, I finally asked for a culture and cleaning of her ear. They found out she had a yeast infection and they used BNT ear paste to treat it successfully. I also started giving her a daily antihistamine and changed her to a grain free diet. That combination seemed to take care of the problem.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16

scoutandmaxine

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
51
Purraise
35
I would ask for a culture of her ear and sedation for a thorough cleaning of her ear to extract any wax buildup. My old kitty had this issue and after 2 years, I finally asked for a culture and cleaning of her ear. They found out she had a yeast infection and they used BNT ear paste to treat it successfully. I also started giving her a daily antihistamine and changed her to a grain free diet. That combination seemed to take care of the problem.
Thank you so much! I will definitely ask the vet if this can be done.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17

scoutandmaxine

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
51
Purraise
35
Just got back from the vet with Maxine and while her ear looks better with less debris, the bacterial infection is still going strong. We're going to do another round of baytril otic since that did help temporarily and the vet said this will probably be a long term option if we don't do the xray to find the cause. I want to do the xray but its $600 and that is so much just for an xray. I worry that even if we do find something, I'm going to struggle to pay for the surgery to remove the polyp bc I know that's very expensive too. For now, my only hope is the baytril.
I've also finally got her to eat one of the foods that the vet recommended, Orijen regional red. Shes not crazy about it but she does eat it. However I also got a bag of Nutrisource Duck & red lentil which she seems to like a bit more than the orijen. I want to stick to just one and am wondering which would be best? I like the high quality of the orijen but am concerned about the fact it has fish in it which could be an allergic trigger (or not. Idk if its chicken or fish that sets her off.) Both are chicken free, which is what I wanted and I also like that the nutrisource doesn't have peas. So any opinions on which I should keep her on for the time being would be great, thanks!
 

GeoDjay

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Messages
80
Purraise
34
I read that typically moisture is created in the ear due to an allergy. Is that true?
Yes this is true. One of my cats has been recently diagnosed with food allergies (after ruling out environmental allergies), and one of his symptoms was excessive ear fluid production. Have you considered talking with your vet about allergies? The trigger could be an environmental cause rather than food. Do you let her outdoors? Does she sleep on your clothes? Is she exposed to perfumes or air fresheners? What about house plants or outdoor plants? All these are things to consider.
What can be done to help with her allergy symptoms while I attempt the food trials?
Ask your vet if a short course of cortisone can be given. This helped my cat to immediately feel relieved of symptoms. However, during the course, you cannot tell if the trial is causing any symptoms so you need to wait after the course ends.
So any opinions on which I should keep her on for the time being would be great, thanks!
I would choose the one that has more protein in it. That said, I'm not a fan of peas, but then again lentils are also legumes. Fish can also be an allergen so overall I'd go with the chicken and fish free option.
 
Last edited:
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19

scoutandmaxine

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
May 26, 2021
Messages
51
Purraise
35
Yes this is true. One of my cats has been recently diagnosed with food allergies (after ruling out environmental allergies), and one of his symptoms was excessive ear fluid production. Have you considered talking with your vet about allergies? The trigger could be an environmental cause rather than food. Do you let her outdoors? Does she sleep on your clothes? Is she exposed to perfumes or air fresheners? What about house plants or outdoor plants? All these are things to consider.
Ask your vet if a short course of cortisone can be given. This helped my cat to immediately feel relieved of symptoms. However, during the course, you cannot tell if the trial is causing any symptoms so you need to wait after the course ends.
I would choose the one that has more protein in it. That said, I'm not a fan of peas, but then again lentils are also legumes. Fish can also be an allergen so overall I'd go with the chicken and fish free option.
Thank you so much for the response!
I have mentioned allergies to the vet multiple times and she seems totally set on wanting to charge me $600 for a ct scan to see whats causing the ear infection, possibly a polyp. Honestly I would love to do the scan but the expense is holding me back. And if it is allergies, would the scan even be necessary or show anything? At the last visit, I told her that her allergies seem to be getting worse lately and she has been overgrooming her legs and arms a lot. But she just told me to try sticking to one food for now to see if that helps...
She does go outside (on a harness and always under supervision) and since my other cat gets seasonal allergies although its not too bad, I did think it could be similar to that. They are both on monthly advantage 2 and I've never seen fleas on them. I've always been extra careful about perfumes, plants and even candles, so I don't think its that.
I will have to ask the vet about cortisone, but idk if she'll be willing to go that route yet since her overgrooming hasn't caused any scabs or anything.
Shes been eating only the orijen regional red food lately and I also give her purina pro plan beef and cheese wet food bc it has no chicken in it. I do wish the regional red had no fish in it but I don't want to switch her food yet, it hasn't been long enough to know if its helping or making it worse.
I've read about putting baby clothes on a cat to keep them from overgrooming, is that actually helpful? Or just torture lol.
 

sivyaleah

TCS Member
Veteran
Joined
Dec 16, 2011
Messages
5,397
Purraise
3,770
Location
New Jersey
FYI Orijen's incorporates a lot of various proteins into their kibble. I use the Tundra myself. This is not considered using one food. So if you're trying to do a limited or novel diet it's not going to work plus, you're also feeding yet another type of food.

Your cat could potentially be allergic to several proteins in all these foods. You need to stick with1 protein and feed that for minimum 6 weeks, preferably one the cat has not eaten before. We've used alligator and kangaroo for instance. And you have to read labels because many foods labeled as a single protein such as "rabbit" have other proteins in them; used to make the broth for instance.

You could try a hydrolyzed diet and see if that works. The body won't recognize the proteins in them due to the way it's made. Unfortunately many are not palatable so that's always a problem.

Also your cat can have outdoor allergies even if an indoor cat. We have that with one of ours. Pollen gets in - there's no way to for it not to even if you keep windows closed. It comes in with your shoes and clothing though one can minimize the amount by using good quality air purifiers. Or they can be allergic to dander from you or other pets, mites, etc.

My suggestion is to do real allergy testing and see how that goes. I'm glad we did it - Luna has been on sublingual allergy drops for about 4 months now (still at the building up to the final lifetime dosage) and we already see a big improvement in her itching and constant yeast infections of her ear.

Last cortisone can have some bad effects - it can cause diabetes in some cats (had that happen to one of ours) so using it judiciously is recommended.
 
Top