Strange rash on older kitty's ears...

nothinfancyreally

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Hi everyone,

I'm so glad I found this forum and I'm hoping some of you can help me with an issue our cat is having. :(

A little background info: he is a 15 yro indoor/outdoor cat (mostly indoor, but he goes outside too, they live in a secluded area) he lives in the countryside with my partner's parents. He's never had any health issues before. He's a little bit overweight, but that's it.

A couple of months ago, he started developing these rashes on his ears. Was taken to the vet. They tested for microsporum (negative), fungal infections (negative) and bacterial infections (negative). He's seen two vets now. Been prescribed iodine (didn't help), special diet food (no change so far), an antibiotic which he got a severe reaction to. We just got him some new hypoallergenic food at the vet as well (VetLife Ultra Hypo). At this time, they aren't sure whether this is an autoimmune disease. He was a perfectly healthy kitty up to a few months ago. Nothing has changed - not his food, not the environment, nothing.

I'm honestly at a loss on what to do next. The vet said our next option is taking a sample by cutting his ear and I would really like to avoid that if possible. The problem is, my partner's parents have managed to heal the rash, but new ones keep popping up as soon as the old ones heal. Kitty is very irritable and sad now, and doesn't understand what's happening and it's really making me worry so much. I know he is older, but I just want to help him be okay. If you have any tips on what this could be, or what we should do, I would appreciate it SO SO much.

I'm attaching pics of all his described treatments, none of which have helped so far:

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As well as a picture of the rash:

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Hoping for good news...
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi! It could be anything. Since he goes outdoors he could be exposed to something out there that is affecting his ears. Also, a cat can acquire a new allergy at any point in time in their lives, so it still could be an allergy of sorts - environmental or food. The thing that concerns me - as it does you - is cutting the ear to sample the skin cells. That is not necessary. Testing skin cells should be able to be accomplished with a skin scraping, which might not sound great, but really isn't as bad as it sounds and certainly beats taking part of the ear. If they did that already, and came up with nothing, I would look for another vet or perhaps one who specializes in dermatology and discuss options with them. You can get a copy of all his records to give to a new vet in order to reduce redundant costs/tests.

In the meantime, just to help with healing and reducing irritation, try this home remedy, courtesy of Mamanyt1953 Mamanyt1953 : "Buy a box of chamomile tea bags in the coffee/tea aisle of the grocery store. Get PLAIN chamomile, no blends, which will be clearly marked. I recommend the commercial bags because they are all 100% German chamomile, which is medicinally active and safe for cats. The English variety which is popular in gardens is pretty useless medicinally, and TOXIC to cats...brew a cup of the tea, and chill it in the fridge (it will keep in there for about 3 days)...For external use, simply dip a cotton ball or clean, soft cloth in the tea, and swab it on the area...For internal, stress-related use, draw up 1-3 teaspoonfuls (1-3 TABLESPOONFULS for cats over 11 pounds) into a syringe or medicine dropper, put on body armor, and dose your cat up to three times a day.. "

The tea has both soothing and healing properties, and can be dabbed on the rash multiple times a day. It won't cure what is causing the rash, but it should help to make him feel better.
 
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nothinfancyreally

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The thing that concerns me - as it does you - is cutting the ear to sample the skin cells. That is not necessary. Testing skin cells should be able to be accomplished with a skin scraping, which might not sound great, but really isn't as bad as it sounds and certainly beats taking part of the ear.
Thing is, they've already done the scraping, and still don't know what the problem is. They've done it twice. :(
Thank you so so much for your help! I relayed the chamomile remedy and will report back!
 

FeebysOwner

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Is a vet that specializes in dermatology involved? If not, find one. If yes, ask about consulting with a vet university for additional help.
I do know if food is the culprit, a change can take up to 2-3 months to see improvement.
 
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nothinfancyreally

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Yes, there are 2 vets who specialize in dermatology, they also sent his test results to Germany, and still haven't found the reason for the sores/rash. It's so upsetting, I honestly don't know what to do anymore.
 

FeebysOwner

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Me again, nothing new from my perspective - just responding in order to 'bump up' this thread in case other members who may have missed it before see it now and have some ideas.
 

Maria Bayote

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Hello.
I am not really good on this, but did the vets check for any polyps? Because Nasopharyngeal polyps can also cause ear infections.
 

Caspers Human

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The vet said our next option is taking a sample by cutting his ear and I would really like to avoid that if possible.
The thing that concerns me - as it does you - is cutting the ear to sample the skin cells. That is not necessary. Testing skin cells should be able to be accomplished with a skin scraping
A skin scraping can miss things that a biopsy won't.

For instance, if there is some kind of infection or organism living inside the hair follicles, a scraping won't see it. You need to transect a hair follicle and view a cross section under a microscope to see if there is anything living inside.

A skin biopsy shouldn't need to take a sample any bigger than the diameter of a pencil.

A biopsy is called for because just about every other option has been exhausted.

Don't worry, it's not that big of a deal. I've had one done on me.
 
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nothinfancyreally

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Hey everyone, I have some GREAT news! :tabbycat:
Kitty is responding incredibly well to Sporanox. It has cleared up most of the rash/scabs on his back + ears!! He only has a few scabs on the tippy tops of his ears now. I'm so so relieved! They've also been doing the chamomile cleanse and he loves it! Thank you so much for your help, everyone!
 
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nothinfancyreally

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He's getting better with each day! The hypoallergenic food helped loads too. We now think he was hit with ringworm and a food allergy at the same time. But he's improving so much!
 
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