Chronic ear infections

Claire Louise

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My sweet kitty has struggled off and on with ear infections since she was a kitten. I adopted her at about 11 weeks of age from the humane society, and she came to me with ear mites. It took months to eradicate them and now she is 4 - 1/2 years old. It seems like it keeps coming back. The ear swabs will usually show bacteria and yeast when she is symptomatic. We actually had a really good year until a couple of months ago. Entederm generally helps for a while, but this last time she is struggling again so soon. I don't want to use stronger drugs with adverse effects. I'm wondering if there could be something that keeps making this come back. Could it be the brand of litter? (I'm grasping). I have two older cats - 13 and 14 - who have never struggled with any ear issues at all. Any ideas?
 

mrsgreenjeens

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I'm attaching another thread that includes some interesting info. Be sure to read it all because although it starts off sounding like it isn't applicable, later down in the thread are other things that pertain to persistent ear infections: Need advice on a problem ear
 

sivyaleah

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I'd suggest looking into a feline allergist. My younger one had recurrent ear infections that turned out to be related to environmental allergies. She's been successfully treated for years now. Has not had an ear infection since the treatment really kicked in, which was a few months from when started. She gets sublingual allergy drops twice daily made specifically for her allergy profile.
 

Kris107

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*not a vet* Do you try to keep the ears clean on a regular basis? If you're looking non-prescription, you could try wiping with colloidal silver to help keep bacterial load down.
 

di and bob

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i have 3 cats with leukemia that seem to catch everything, ear infections, etc. that came around. Until I kept them strictly indoors, washed my hands if touching the outside cats' food or them, etc, and started them all on DMG, a supplement available on Amazon, Target, Walmart, online. It keeps ther immune system strong. They have been on it one time daily for 5 years now and MUCH healthier. It's only 1/2ml per cat so goes a long ways, i put it in a lickable treat, such as Delectable Lickables in the stew flavors. One cat was predicted to die "in days", it really works.
 

stephanietx

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I had a kitty with recurring ear infections. I finally had her sedated and her ears flushed. The vet did a culture a week prior to the flush and found it was a yeast infection. After flushing and thoroughly cleaning her ears, he applied BNT ear ointment to her ear and told me to give her a daily antihistamine to help decrease inflammation and to put her on a mostly grain-free diet. We did those 2 things and she never had another ear infection.
 
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Claire Louise

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I'm attaching another thread that includes some interesting info. Be sure to read it all because although it starts off sounding like it isn't applicable, later down in the thread are other things that pertain to persistent ear infections: Need advice on a problem ear
mrsgreenjeens, Thank you for your comment. I took a quick look. I will read it more carefully. I'm wondering if an allergy might be the issue.
 
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Claire Louise

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I'd suggest looking into a feline allergist. My younger one had recurrent ear infections that turned out to be related to environmental allergies. She's been successfully treated for years now. Has not had an ear infection since the treatment really kicked in, which was a few months from when started. She gets sublingual allergy drops twice daily made specifically for her allergy profile.
sivyaleah, thank you for your comment. The possibility of allergies seems to be worth looking into.
 
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Claire Louise

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Is it ear mites each time or something else?
silent meowlook, it is not ear mites. It was ear mites the first time and for a few months until it was eradicated. It finally took the vet cleaning them out, which they did not want to do, but nothing else was working and that took care of it. Then when I adopted another cat that did not work out - [long story - I gave it ALL I had for 17 months and the new cat could NOT be with other cats - and she went to a much better environment for her] - my kitty was stressed a lot during the time the new cat was here and she had recurring ear infections. Neither my two senior cats or the new cat had any ear problems so she didn't get it from them. Then once the new cat was re-homed, things seemed better for a while - then it came back again. Anyway, she starts scratching a lot and I can see debris in her ears and where she sleeps when it gets going. I take her to the vet. They do the swab and it's usually bacteria and yeast. We do Entederm and it clears most of it up, but it seems like the yeast is always the harder to eradicate.
 
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Claire Louise

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I had a kitty with recurring ear infections. I finally had her sedated and her ears flushed. The vet did a culture a week prior to the flush and found it was a yeast infection. After flushing and thoroughly cleaning her ears, he applied BNT ear ointment to her ear and told me to give her a daily antihistamine to help decrease inflammation and to put her on a mostly grain-free diet. We did those 2 things and she never had another ear infection.
stephanietx, it does seem that when they do the ear swabs before treating and after treating, the bacterial infection will clear up with treatment, but that the yeast sometimes hangs on. I will look up BNT ointment. I wonder about her diet. She started vomiting in the last six months sporadically and it seems like that is related to changes in the flavors of her wet food, so I have been working on figuring that out. She can vomit three times in one week and then be fine for a month and I can't figure it out. I took her in for that and the vet did exam, x-rays and fecal study. We didn't find anything. From what I am hearing in the responses, it seems the vomiting and the ears could both be allergy. It's so odd to me as I have always had cats and have two seniors right now as well, and I've never had a cat with ear problems or allergies before, so I'm a little bewildered. It's so distressing to her when her ears get to itching and putting the ointment in is even worse! It takes three of us to do it!
 

silent meowlook

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Hi. It shouldn’t take three people to do anything to a cat. The treatment should never stress the cat. Stress plays a huge role in cat illnesses. What usually works is to sneak up on your cat and from the back of the cat administer the medication as quickly as possible touching only the ear. Sometimes you can only do one ear at a time.

You can ask your vet to contact Wedgewood Pharmacy. They can compound a thick gel like plug of medication that the vet inserts into the ear canal. It lasts about 2 weeks.

Do you know if they have done a culture?

It might be time for a referral to a dermatologist.

The site I posted below is written for veterinarians, and has allot of good information.

 
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Claire Louise

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Hi. It shouldn’t take three people to do anything to a cat. The treatment should never stress the cat. Stress plays a huge role in cat illnesses. What usually works is to sneak up on your cat and from the back of the cat administer the medication as quickly as possible touching only the ear. Sometimes you can only do one ear at a time.

You can ask your vet to contact Wedgewood Pharmacy. They can compound a thick gel like plug of medication that the vet inserts into the ear canal. It lasts about 2 weeks.

Do you know if they have done a culture?

It might be time for a referral to a dermatologist.

The site I posted below is written for veterinarians, and has allot of good information.


Hi silentmeowlook,

Thank you so much for your suggestions and desire to help. It would never work with my kitty to sneak up on her and and try to get the ointment in on the fly - both in terms of getting it anywhere near the ear and getting it in far enough in to do any good. The ear infection itself is stressful to her, as is having ointment put in - which of course feels funny and itches once it's in there - so treating her without stress is not really an option. The three of us cooperating is the kindest and gentlest way to do this thing she finds so very unpleasant. I hold her and keep her from being able to run away. One of my sons holds her head still. We both speak gently to her and stroke her. My other son administers the ointment so that it can actually get far enough in to do some good.

I've had a lot of cats over many years (I'm in my 50s now) and I really can't think of one that I could sneak up on - certainly not enough to get ear medicine administered. You are fortunate if you have cats for which that would be possible. Even if I could, I think for my kitty, it would destabilize her trust in me once I did it once or twice - she would be looking over her shoulder wondering when I'm going to pull a fast one on her. I have three cats right now - my baby, who gets the recurring ear problem - and her response to all of this is to try to flee. My male senior is quite laid-back and could probably be easily medicated with one person, though I have never had to. My female senior is a spitfire and though she is affectionate and sweet and all of that, when you try to do anything she doesn't approve of - she's a fighter! - I'm grateful I have never had to medicate her ears!

My vet has not mentioned an ear plug for medication. I would have to ask about the culture. I don't think they did one.

Thank you again!
 

stephanietx

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stephanietx, it does seem that when they do the ear swabs before treating and after treating, the bacterial infection will clear up with treatment, but that the yeast sometimes hangs on. I will look up BNT ointment. I wonder about her diet. She started vomiting in the last six months sporadically and it seems like that is related to changes in the flavors of her wet food, so I have been working on figuring that out. She can vomit three times in one week and then be fine for a month and I can't figure it out. I took her in for that and the vet did exam, x-rays and fecal study. We didn't find anything. From what I am hearing in the responses, it seems the vomiting and the ears could both be allergy. It's so odd to me as I have always had cats and have two seniors right now as well, and I've never had a cat with ear problems or allergies before, so I'm a little bewildered. It's so distressing to her when her ears get to itching and putting the ointment in is even worse! It takes three of us to do it!
Yeast is hard to get rid of if it's not treated specifically. The BNT Ear Ointment will treat it and clear it up.

The most common food allergies for kitties are chicken and fish. If you can feed a different protein such as rabbit, venison, beef, turkey, or lamb, you might be able to decrease the vomiting. I would start a food log with what you're feeding and if there's any negative outcome. We did that for one of our kitties are realized she couldn't tolerate any fish.
 
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