Options for ear polyps?

profcat

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Our cat Mabel is a wonderfully healthy active 7 year old calico. She's a rescue from a terrible neighborhood and had a really tough life before we got her. She's had ear problems since then-- first really bad ear mites, and then when they cleared up, she continued to have dirty ears and was diagnosed with ear polyps.

Our vet used a laser to get rid of the polyps inside. It worked great for a couple years-- clean ears and happy cat! Then they started smelling horrible again a few months ago. So we took her in this January to have the polyps removed again. We're trying to avoid the really invasive surgery (bulla osteotomy) they do for ear polyps where they make an incision and basically remove the internal part of the ear. So we figured we'd get the polyps removed every few years instead of putting her through the invasive procedure.

But now, 2 months later, her ears are dirty again (not as bad as before, but getting there). Anyone have success with other options for treating polyps? We hate to put her through major surgery!
 

sivyaleah

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Sorry you're dealing with this. Our younger one has recurrent yeast infections in her ears due to allergies, so I understand how upsetting it can be to constantly have to worry about this. We even had her scoped to be sure there were no polyps - thankfully none seen however, I was told just yesterday by her new allergy specialist that she did noticed some a slight structural abnormality inside her left ear. Not yet sure what that means overall in her treatment which is just beginning.

Anyway, I do know polyps are prone to continue coming back unless the surgery is done. Personally, I'd suck up the surgery and just get it over with. It can't be comfortable for Mable to keep having these issues.

It's hard to advise though, since everyone has different feelings about surgery and also, financial concerns. But to me the overall health and happiness of the cat is first and foremost.
 

daftcat75

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My Krista had the ventral bulla osteotomy surgery for a severe middle ear infection. In her case, it was that or intentionally rupture her eardrum. She went into the surgery wobbly. She came out less wobbly over time. If that was her only worry, I’m sure she would have made a full recovery. Unfortunately, a bladder infection a couple of months later would prove too much for her steroids and GI lymphoma weakened body. 😿 In a strange way, I’m actually grateful for the VBO because it forced a regime change in her meds that finally got her to lymphoma remission.

The VBO itself was largely unremarkable. She came through it just fine. She was showing daily improvements in her balance and overall recovery. Her scar was impressive. But she didn’t seem bothered by it. Still, I had to keep her in a pen for two weeks under activity restriction. She had to wear a soft cone whenever I wasn’t around to supervise her without it. And she had to take an antibiotic she didn’t enjoy for a month.

I’d say if the VBO prevents recurrence of the polyps, that alone would decide it for me. Cats are tough. What you think of as an invasive surgery will be just another story and a scar to the cat. 😹 They are amazing self-healers.😻
 
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profcat

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Thanks everyone! It's helpful to hear VBO isn't as horrible for the cat as it sounds. We will discuss it with the vet and see if it would be the best option for her kind of polyps (she doesn't have the stem ones, but the ones that form multiple spots in the ear). For now I have a call into him about doing another round of ear drops for a possible yeast infection-- maybe this is just that and not the actual polyps coming back.

I think we're more bothered by her polyps than she is, bc they make her so stinky! Otherwise, she's acting normal aside from the occasional ear itch. We won't let it get any worse than that.
 

sivyaleah

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profcat profcat FYI the medication used for yeast infection in itself can cause balance problems. I was warned about this. And it can happen at anytime - or not. They try not to over use it. I had the option to do another round of it but Luna has already been treated 5 times with it and the yeast keeps coming back so we're now using another liquid cleaner at home which has anti-yeast properties. We'll see how that goes!
 

daftcat75

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Krista woke up suddenly in the middle of the night (Jun 15, 2020), stumbled off the bed, threw up, and stumbled around, crawling on her hocks (the lower part of her back legs) like she had a stroke or a hypoglycemic episode. She had been on steroids for a number of months for her lymphoma. Diabetes was always a concern. They quickly ruled out any kind of diabetic event and kept her overnight to jump the line and get her seen by the neurologist faster than had I brought her home and booked an appointment. She got an MRI. The neurologist confirmed a severe middle ear infection. Antibiotics alone would be very slow and ineffective as the middle ear is technically outside the body. I brought her home for one night and took her back the next day for the VBO surgery.

Here she is coming home the day after her stumble and pop. The doc said she was exhibiting neurologic symptoms with nystagmus (the eyes darting),
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and vestibular issues (the head swimming and balance issues.)
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That's our BEFORE.

She got the surgery on 3/17 and stayed one night for recovery and observation. When she came home, she needed to be on activity restriction to prevent her from opening the stitches. I got her a pen.
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She got used to it. I took her cone off for meals and let her out for a few hours of supervised freedom each day.

Her favorite way to spend that freedom was to climb on top of my belly and chest and purr away while receiving her fill of scritches. 😻 Her eyes have stopped darting and her head movement has almost returned to normal. A touch jerky but not swimming like before.
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This is her just 3 days after the surgery (Jun 20.) She's still walking like a cowgirl too long in the saddle. But she's off her hocks!
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This is her impressive scar 3 more days after that (Jun 23.)
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And another three days after that (Jun 26)
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And this was her a month out (July 22, 2020.) I called her NASCAR because she was driving fast and turning left. 😹
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Sadly, she would pass three more weeks after that. But I am grateful for the surgery and would have done it again in a heartbeat. And as I said last night, if it weren't for the surgery and the medicine regime change her recovery required, she wouldn't have known a remission from her GI lymphoma in that last month or so. 😻
 
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sivyaleah

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daftcat75 daftcat75 Thank you for sharing. I'm sure this will be helpful to see for a lot of people.
Sorry for your loss. Lovely girl, I have a soft spot for Torties (we have one):hugs:
 
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