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I have a cat with chronic ear problems.. need some help

August 31st, 2008, 09:21 PM
My russian blue Maxwell :cat: has always had chronic ear problems. When he was a baby he had ear mites and I treated them, but they wrecked his ears all up and now he has chronic ear problems from it. His ears produce too much wax which builds up and collects dirt and germs. I have to scoop out the dirt and wash out his ears with Epi-Otic about once a week..

Lately he has been having more problems then usual and I asked this question on ZooToo, but I'm more inclined to listen to people over here then over there. I brought a swab sample from both ears to the vets for testing and it came back negative for ear mites and was just wax and dirt like usual.

The problem is they are alot itchier then usual. He is having some dandruff in his ears as well! I've never seen that happen before. I looked as deep down into the canal as I could and it looked gross, but normal. No inflammation or redness, no funny smells.

I'd like to know if anyone had an home remedies that I could try. The vet said at this point he doesn't know what to tell me to do other then keep them clean. Poor little Max is scratching at his ears all the time now and he scabbed his face up bad! Those scabs are healing now, but on the inside of his ears I found all that dandruffy stuff and it's bothering me.

Ears are sensitive I know... so I'm concerned on what to do :shrug:

Thanks a bunch.. I know I'm always asking a bunch of questions on here but I've found you all to be very helpful and basically... you guys are always right :cool:

August 31st, 2008, 10:02 PM
Have you tried Apple Cider Vinegar? It's been recommended by the best for cleaning ears.

September 1st, 2008, 08:42 AM
Ohh and I do have some of that on hand for making deviled eggs :D

Do I mix it with water or what? His poor little ears are so gross and with that flaky stuff he's loosing some fur around his ears :sad:

September 1st, 2008, 10:15 AM
This is actually a thread that you had replied to.

You can put it on those makeup remover pads or cotton balls or something like that and apply it.

September 1st, 2008, 08:57 PM
Well that helps! Thanks! I replied to that thread but I wasn't sure if dog ears and cats ears were the same.

In all honesty I think he needs to be sedated and get a real good ear cleaning. Do vets do that? He's young and healthy... so I see no reason why they couldn't just knock him out for a bit and get all that crap out of his ears. He tears me up whenever I am cleaning them... usually rabbit kicks me and leaves nice big scratch marks down my arms.

Here's my Max's ear... all kinds of gross stuff going on in there.

September 1st, 2008, 09:46 PM
I think I would be taking him in to the vet to be checked out. I know you said you sent swabs but those ears look a little nasty. Just to be on the safe side.

September 3rd, 2008, 09:20 AM
Have the ears been checked for a fungal infection?

September 3rd, 2008, 10:03 AM
Have the ears been checked for a fungal infection?

I would assume so. He was there a few months ago because of this problem and the doctor looked and took some swabs and everything was negative. I had brought in q-tip swabs myself and asked my vet tech friend if she could check them for earmites. She did and the vet came back and said that the swab was negative.

Is there a different test I can have done for a fungal infection?

For when I clean his ears 2-3 times a week at this point, it takes aprx. 4 q-tips PER EAR to scoop all the dirt out. And the q-tips are black from it. Not like I'm just getting a spot here and there, it's a SCOOP of nasty gunk.

I can take a picture of it but that would be kinda weird... O_O

Dr Lee
September 6th, 2008, 12:08 PM
I would assume so. He was there a few months ago because of this problem and the doctor looked and took some swabs and everything was negative.

I assume by negative there were no distinct populations of bacteria, yeast or mites. What else was seen on the swab cytology? Just debris? Excess epithelial or inflammatory cells?

When pet ears are cleaned and immediately return with brown debris I become concerned that there is an underlying inflammatory condition such as food allergies, environmental allergies, chronic infections, etc...

The acetic acid in the vinegar should take care of most minor bacteria and yeast infections however culture may be beneficial regardless.

Hope this helps. :pawprint:

September 6th, 2008, 12:19 PM
I was just told it's Ear wax and dirt. :shrug:

Here is a picture of the a-tips after I did a quick swab

Does that look like anything to you? He's honestly ALWAYS been that way since day 1 and the vet has checked it out everytime he's been there for his checkup and then one time I accidentally broke his tail (long story) and had him in there for that and pointed out his ears being nasty and he checked them, swabbed them and said yep, no mites it's just wax and dirt.

Dr Lee
September 6th, 2008, 01:05 PM
...and he checked them, swabbed them and said yep, no mites it's just wax and dirt.

There are also a small subset of dogs and occasionally cats that anatomically produce more ear wax than others. If the swab does not have inflammatory cells (white blood cells, excess epithelial cells) then there is less concern. Routine cleaning would be the way to go!

Signs of infection of course will be redness, malodor, itchy ears, etc...:pawprint:

September 6th, 2008, 01:08 PM
I'm not sure if this is helpful at all or at all applies to cats, but I have a similar problem with my ears, wax & dry flaky itchy skin inside ... it drives me nuts! So when I was at the Ear/nose/throat doctor lady about my nose I asked her about my ears she said I was irritating them further by removing the wax, that it was there for a purpose and to stop using qtips alltogether. She said our bodies (all animal bodies) produce everything for a good reason... wax is to protect the ear. I know thats for people, but maybe what is irritating his ears is the removal of the wax not the wax itself? :shrug: Just an idea, might be worth enquiring about. I know the itch etc in mine slowly improved as I started using the qtips less and less.

:goodvibes: hope you find something that helps!

September 6th, 2008, 08:46 PM
Thank you to everyone! I understand what you are saying krdahmer, but if I slack off on cleaning his ears they become clogged with gunk in a matter of a week or two. It seems better to annoy my cat by scooping the gunk out and using something like Epi-Otic to dry the rest up then have him try to remove the blockages himself with his sharp nails :frustrated: He is no longer scratching like a maniac and the bald spots are healing up.

I will try the alternative ideas mentioned. I have got apple cider vinegar on hand so I think that would be something good to try. Maxwell is not going to appreciate it but he will get over it :D him and his nasty ears.

November 9th, 2008, 08:45 AM
just saw this... poppy has horrrid ear wax (result of a badly removed polyp) anyway.... I was told it was fungal and I got drops but the wax continues so I simply use steril water and a cotton but to keep it clean.

Someone suggested human polysporin to clean inside her ear as they are just gross! lol :frustrated: