Remedies for (seemingly) incurable otic yeast(?) infection?

tjs0331

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Hi all,

This is my first time here; glad I found the site! Long post ahead.

My cat, Howie, is 10 years old. I have had him all my life. He was no more than two weeks old when we found him under a neighbor's porch, apparently abandoned by his mom. He's a lovely, generally healthy guy, but he's been battling some type of ear infection for nearly all of his life.

I was a teenager when we took him in. My parents never thought much of his ear issues, and only once or twice sought OTC treatment. When I moved out and took Howie with me, I quickly noticed how uncomfortable he was because of his ears. I started seeking veterinary help about four years ago.

His symptoms: (very) itchy ears, discharge from ears (clear, water-like), popping/rattling from the ears when he shakes. No foul smell or unusual appearance; on the surface they appear to be very healthy.

At our first vet visit, the vet determined that he had a yeast infection. She said that, because it has gone untreated for most of his life, it is likely chronic and incurable. She only offered an ear drop medicine that she said "is primarily used for dogs and could be fatal in cats". She said she had no other options for me. I did not accept this and sought help from another vet.

This one was far more interested and willing to help in a variety of ways. First, we started Howie on Zymox Otic and targeted his diet with Hill's z/d for potential allergies to his normal food. The Hill's proved to do little, but the Zymox Otic was fantastic--at least temporarily. He was feeling so much better after the treatment; no scratching/itchiness, and as such, no discharge or popping sounds. Unfortunately, this only lasted for a few days before his ears went bad again. I tried several more rounds of the Zymox Otic, all with the same result.

The vet wanted to get more aggressive. She had Howie sedated to fully clean and examine his inner ears. She reported finding nothing unusual; just some gunk deep down in there that she took out. Of note, she mentioned that his ears were so itchy that he was attempting to scratch them while sedated. Howie also had a complete blood panel done at this time, which came back perfect.

We decided to put him on a course of steroids as a last-ditch effort, but this did not help him. My vet's only recommendations are to start him on "immunotherapy", or referral to a dermatologist.

I'm looking for any help or advice you may have. Howie is clearly uncomfortable, and it makes me so sad. I realize that his condition may very well be chronic, but I'm still willing to try potential solutions, and in a worst-case scenario, find a solution to give him permanently that decreases his symptoms and boosts his quality of life.

Thanks for reading; here's a picture of the sweet guy.
20200315_105200.jpg
 

white shadow

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Hi tjs0331 and welcome to the forum !

I'm glad you were able to find a (more) competent Vet.

If he were here, I'd pursue having him seen by a dermatologist....before anything else.

I'd also get a complete copy of his medical records from Vet #1 to share with the specialist. (It's useful for us to always have up-to-date copies of these at home.)

Here's hoping Howie can get this resolved.......soon!

Just love that picture!
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stephanietx

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Did they do a culture to find out if there was a yeast infection involved? Do you give him a daily antihistamine? What are you feeding? (Wet or dry, grain free or not)
 
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tjs0331

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Did they do a culture to find out if there was a yeast infection involved? Do you give him a daily antihistamine? What are you feeding? (Wet or dry, grain free or not)
Hi,

The first vet did a culture and determined there was a yeast infection involved. I do not give him a daily antihistamine. He will not eat wet food (it's funny--he'll sniff it first and then "bury" it before walking away). Instead, I feed him "Rachael Ray Nutrish Natural Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Cat Food".
 

stephanietx

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Is it possible the yeast infection didn't clear up? There's a goopy salve that the vet can put in your kitty's ear to treat the yeast infection. It lasts for about 2 weeks and is gradually absorbed by the body. I'm wondering if the salmon and rice are causing some issues.
 
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