October 15th, 2003, 08:48 PM
My cat has had small scabs on the outside of her ears for years. Last yr it got very bad on the tip of one ear. The scab grew like a horn. The Vet thought it was prob cancer and since Oreo is 16 yrs old, he said we should take it off each time it grew and gave us ointment to put on it. Her ear slowly deteriorated as we took off scabs and it grew back and covered more of the outer edge of her ear. She is a very frisky cat for her age, very agile, good hearing and sight. She has a slight heart murmer so the Vet does not want to put her under to cut off part of the ear. He also feels it could just grow back. Now that some scabbing has started on her other ear, he thinks ears may have had frostbite at some time in the past. She has always gone outside a lot even in the Winter so it is possible. Any info or comments on how to care for ears would be greatly appreciated. As the scabbing gets larger and heavier on her ear, she is scratching at it more and then it bleeds and starts to smell too. She is a lovely long hair cat. Thank you! Val
October 17th, 2003, 07:05 PM
Hi. What do the scabs look like? Are they bloody or is it more skin tone but flaky? My initial recommendation would be that you get a second opinion as I can't see this being a result of cancer.... cancer doesn't do this. Some sort of mite would be more likely in my opinion.
October 19th, 2003, 02:30 PM
Thanks for your reply. First the scab was like a small horn. Dr took that off and it grew again. Each time covering more area on the ear. It is not like a horn any more but along the whole side of her ear. It is large and never heals underneath. Dr tells us to pick it off as soon as it gets heavy and bothers her but sometimes she scratches at it before that. Then it gets bloody and smells too. She is so healthy in all other ways that we are just trying to keep her as comfortable as possible and not get blood around the house. Since she is 16 yrs old, the vet does not feel she would live thru an operation and he doesn't really think it would help anyway.
October 19th, 2003, 05:53 PM
I don't know that it's not cancer...has the vet biopsied any of the tissue? Seems to me that would at least rule some things out, if not identify the problem. And biopsies are usually quite inexpensive.
My old dog (now passed on) had a huge growth under her tongue. I didn't notice it until it was big enough for her to accidentally bite it and it wouldn't stop bleeding. I took her right to my vet who did a quick biopsy and determined it was some sort of slow growing cancer (can't remember the type.) She was 15 and too old to be anesthetised, but he was able to give her a sedative and a local fast-acting anasthetic and remove it.
I'd ask if you vet can do a biopsy, culture...whatever procedures they do to determine whether it's cancer, mites, bacterial or viral infections. Also a CBC would indicate whether she's fighting infection, as well as overall functioning.
Obviously I am not a veterinary professional, so take these suggestions with that in mind! Just thinking of some avenues you can discuss with your vet.
October 20th, 2003, 12:18 AM
I am not a vet professional either but I really don't think that picking off a scab of any type is a good idea. The body has a way of healing itself, forming a scab puts a protective layer over top of something... by taking off the scab you are inhibiting the body from keeping that area clean and therefore promoting infection. I would strongly recommend that you get a second opinion on this... I would be surprised if it is cancer, to my knowledge cancer just doesn't behave like this. Good luck, keep us updated I am very interested in knowing what this is.
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October 26th, 2003, 09:21 PM
THANKS FOR YOU RESPONSES. I APPRECIATE ANY IDEAS. I AM HOLDING OREO SO IT IS HARD TO TYPE, AND THIS IS MY FIRST TIME USING THE FORUM. WHEN THE SCAB HAS SPLIT RECENTLY FROM HER SCRATCHING AT IT, I SQUIRTED THE WASH AND POWDER OVER THE OPEN AREA INSTEAD OF TAKING THE SCAB OFF.
November 2nd, 2003, 10:59 AM
It doesn't sound like ear mites to me. Mite infestations don't cause "growths". Mite scabs are very distinctive and are usually found at the base of the ear where it joins the head, not the tip of the ear. Doesn't sound like frost-bite either as frost-bitten tissue dies and is incapable of growing back. Without a biopsy, skin cancer can't be ruled out. However, as your cat is 16 years old it would be unwise to put her through the stress of an operation, in any case, in older animals as in people, skin cancer is very slow advancing. DON'T pick off the scabs, you will only stimulate the cells underneath to grow. More importantly you may introduce a bacterial infection that will then require treatment. The best you can do is just keep the scabs clean by bathing them regulary with sterile saline and if you notice any foul-smelling, yellow discharge from the scabs get an antibiotic preparation. Perhaps you could ask your vet for a topical cream that would take the itch out of the scab to prevent Oreo from scratching.
Hope this helps and let us all know how moggy gets on.
November 19th, 2003, 06:59 PM
Thought I'd let you know that my Vet gave Oreo a steroid shot and oral med similar to take each day. Since it has started on other ear, he does not feel it is cancer. Maybe Lupus or some immune problem. I asked for a biopsy but he felt would need to put her under to get some live tissue, and at 16 yrs old and a heart murmer, that wouldn't be good idea. She seems to be feeling better and at least the ear isn't getting any worse. It isn't as red around the scab area but about half of her ear has deteriorated from whatever it is. Thanks to all that responded!
November 19th, 2003, 08:21 PM
Your cat is 16. If any steroids (like Prednisone) give her relief, I would say keep her on them.
At this point in time, quality is more important than quantity.
Has your vet mentioned interferon? I ask because my cat had a problem similiar to yours - either allergies or an immune disorder. I had a choice of Prednisone or euthanization. I chose the prednisone, which gave him dramatic and permanent relief from the symptoms, although it shortened his life.
When it was too late, a vet mentioned that interferon could help him.
November 23rd, 2003, 01:28 PM
Thank you for your response and I will also look into interferon. Did your cat develop a diabetic condition from the steroids?
Oreo does not seem to be drinking much extra.