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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14880
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Our 20 lb cat nuttered has a swollen ear week now and

Customer Question

Our 20 lb cat nuttered has a swollen ear for a week now and we drain it with a suringe and have been giving him a 1/4 cc penacilin morning and night after draining it twice a day, but it keeps swelling up and needs to be drained? what can this be what is the possible cause? I have found no caq\t tails because he is an indoor cat . he went out doors for about twenty minutes before we could capture hin but that is the extent of his outside activities/ PLEASE HELP we are living on ss SO WE DON'T HAVE MUCH MONEY.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
I'm sorry to hear about Cezar's swollen ear that has not responded to your frequent 
drainage and injections of Penicillin.
Does this swelling feel like a water balloon? Is it part of the ear flap?
Has he been shaking his head? 
Does he now or has he ever had an ear infection?
Does it look like the cat in the link below? (can be smaller but this will give you a general idea)
http://www.askavetquestion.com/images/puffyear.jpg
This sounds like an ear hematoma. This happens when a blood vessel in the ear breaks and the area inside the ear flap fills with blood. 
It is usually from them shaking their head/ears repeatedly from an ear infection.
But sometimes they just shake their head a few times and hit the ear on something.
If it is very small (nickel size) it may heal on its own just fine as the blood is reabsorbed.
 You can apply cortisone cream (like Cortaid) twice daily to help reduce inflammation.
But if it's larger then it may need to be drained and medication injected into the ear to reduce inflammation and/or have his ear sutured so it doesn't refill.
If you notice any odor or increased waxy debris then he may have an early infection which started all this, and then he should definitely see his veterinarian for proper treatment no matter that size of the swelling is.
If he is scratching at his ear quite a bit you can give him Benadryl (diphenhydramine) at 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight orally every 8 hours (one 25mg tablet for a cat his size every 8 hours). This will reduce allergic itchiness and can make him sleepy which should help him leave the ear alone.
If he continues scratching then place an elizabethan collar (lampshade collar) so he cannot reach his ear.
I would not continue to drain his ear at home. This only gives room for blood to continue to fill the ear if the ear isn't treated to prevent continued bleeding after draining. As well every time you drain it bacteria can be introduced into the body leading to an abscess. I understand that you have given Penicillin injections but plain Penicillin works poorly against skin and outer ear infections. It is best reserved for some respiratory infections, uncomplicated urinary tract infections and other specific infections. You may breed resistant bacteria by continuing to use it.
I understand that money is tight. I recommend contacting your local shelter or humane society to see if they run a low cost clinic or know of one in your area. If not here is a link that can help you find help:
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_pet.html?credit=web_id91754962#Assistance_by_state
Please let me know if you have any further questions.