Excessive ear wax but odor in only one ear

ForeverHungry

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Hi All, before I begin just want to preface that I have a vet appointment coming up for my kitty. It's been about a month I adopted my 2 year old DSH and is a fully indoor cat. When I adopted her, I was told she was found as a stray and during her checkup a nasopharyngeal polyp was found in her right ear and removed. The operating vet did not however succeed at pulling it from its stalk and so it might someday come back.

Anyway, post adoption I took her to her very first vet visit and her ears were visually examined and everything looked AOK to the vet. It's been almost two weeks since that check up and I am starting to notice a lot of ear wax buildup. I took a soft tissue, moistened it with a drop of water and tried to clean some of it out. I did not dig into her ears, just what was visible on the outside. I noticed her right ear has an odor and that led me to set up a vet appointment for her.

Before her upcoming vet appointment, I want to reach out to my fellow cat owners who might have had similar ear wax issues with their cats and ask for advice on what information should I make sure the vet is aware of. I wish my cat could talk and tell what's bothering her and causing the ear wax buildup in both ears and odor in one ear but she can't and I want to make sure I give the vet ample info to work with. She is playful, eats well and poops well so I don't have anything so far other than the visible ear wax and the odor.
 

fionasmom

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There are a few things that you can bring up to the vet. However, a good doctor will probably cover most of them without you having to ask.

I would ask about the status of the polyp, regardless of the ear wax, given that the stalk did not come out. While it is pretty standard to remove the polyps by traction, there can be a decent percentage of recurrence. Having said that, they can cause issues with the ear like infections. BTW it was in the ear? Naso polyps are in the nose and oto are in the ear. You have had her for a short period of time, so I assume that the polyp was removed somewhat recently. Given that, I don't know how quickly they do recur or if a piece was simply left behind and is causing your problems.

Ear wax, entirely on its own regardless of the polyp, can be caused by various problems. Allergies, infections, yeast, can all cause this buildup. Ear mites can do the same but you may have ruled that out or taken care of that issue with treatments. Your cat cannot have all those things at once, so don't panic but make sure that the vet considers all options. I am guessing that this has something to do with the polyp, but could be wrong. Please let us know what you find out.
 
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ForeverHungry

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You're right about the polyp removal timing! The procedure was conducted a week before I went into the shelter and found her. I have been reading on the polyps and I have the same question myself about the naso vs oto. Thanks for pointing that out I will make sure to discuss this detail with the vet. She was on some medications post op and I'm wondering if those antibiotics have resulted in some yeast infection. I'm pretty sure it's not ear mites because she was treated for that when she was found and it's in her medical history.

I'll add a page from her history that explains the polyp which also doesn't mention whether it's naso or oto. Thanks for replying! I'll update after her appointment :)
 

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fionasmom

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Now that I read this, here is the thing. Nasopharyngeal polyps can grow from the ear into the back of the mouth. I would add a question about the likelihood of that happening and under what circumstances.

Nasopharyngeal Polyps in Cats

This article explains most of what you would need to know, probably a lot more, for the appointment.
 
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ForeverHungry

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Had her visit today and she had A LOT of ear wax once the vet started looking in. It was almost impossible for the vet to get a good look inside. She has a scheduled cleaning for next week under sedation and they will observe more closely. Meanwhile, a sample of her ear wax has been sent for examination 🤞
 
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ForeverHungry

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Today at her scheduled cleaning the vet's discovered her inner ears are too inflamed to be able to put a scope through so they cleaned it a bit more and prescribed Surolan Drops for her ears for 10 days. Going to take her back in after 10 days and hoping some of the inflammation goes down. The ear wax lab test came back positive for bacterial infection. She's become sleepy and distance since I started the drops :(
Not to play any blame games but the first vet that checked her, vigorously swabbed her right ear, which as per medical history was still recovering since her polyp removal and something tells me it reopened some wound that was still partially healing. She's since seeing a different vet.
Hoping her ears get better soon.
 
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ForeverHungry

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Today at her scheduled cleaning the vet's discovered her inner ears are too inflamed to be able to put a scope through so they cleaned it a bit more and prescribed Surolan Drops for her ears for 10 days. Going to take her back in after 10 days and hoping some of the inflammation goes down. The ear wax lab test came back positive for bacterial infection. She's become sleepy and distance since I started the drops :(
Not to play any blame games but the first vet that checked her, vigorously swabbed her right ear, which as per medical history was still recovering since her polyp removal and something tells me it reopened some wound that was still partially healing. She's since seeing a different vet.
Hoping her ears get better soon.
Ugh, distant*
 

fionasmom

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Certainly another twist to this long saga and you must be frustrated, along with your cat. I have used Surolan drops often and never had a problem with it. Surolan is a broad spectrum antibiotic and anti fungal, so should hit everything that is going on. Of course, observe her to be sure. She is probably tired from the vet visit and all that she has been through.

I am not going to disagree that vigorous ear swabbing could have done more harm than good.
 
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