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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14887
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My cat has always been a bit prone to earmites. He gets s

Customer Question

My cat has always been a bit prone to earmites. He gets his monthly drops on the back of the neck like clockwork and he had his last night, but he was scratching a little for a few days beforehand and looked uncomfortable (head shaking, etc). Anyway, it looks like he's drawn blood on the inside of his ear and he's still shaking a bit. It's a little swollen and red as well. He doesn't appear to be scratching it much any more. Will this clear up on it's own once the drops kick in? Is there much risk of infection? Should I wipe the area with water or anything or just leave it to heal on it's own? Any advice would be fantastic.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 8 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear that Coda has itchy, uncomfortable ears that are red and a little swollen and causing him to shake his head.

If he has scratched enough to draw blood the area may well become infected.

You can clean the area that is raw and bleeding with a little antibacterial soap and warm water on a cotton ball, and then pat dry and apply a little Polysporin. You can also apply a little cortisone ointment (like Cortaid) to the areas that aren't raw, but are red or swollen with a clean cotton swab.

If he continues to scratch then putting on an elizabethan collar (lampshade collar, cone of shame) for a few days while the inflammation quiets can help.

To control allergic inflammation symptoms you give an antihistamine. You can give:

1) Benadryl (diphenhydramine only, the combination products with decongestants and acetaminophen are toxic to cats) at a dose of 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight every 8 hours. That's a half of 25mg tablet every 8 hours for a cat that is 8 to 15 pounds. Benadryl is very bitter. Some cats will drool excessively or even vomit when it is given. It's not harmful, but not worth making him miserable so try a different antihistamine if that happens.

OR

2) Chlorpheniramine at a dose of 4mg per adult cat twice daily.

OR

3) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at a dose of 5 mg per cat given orally every 24 hours. Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because cats cannot tolerate decongestants.

Combined with high doses of omega-3 fatty acids antihistamines work to relieve his itchiness and improve skin and ear health. I like 3V caps or Derm Caps as they are reputable, high quality products. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 8 pound cat could take 160mg of EPA per day. Antihistamines and omega-3 fatty acids work synergistically, better together than either one alone. These should help reduce the itch. Be aware that antihistamines can cause drowsiness or hyperactivity which should resolve with continued use as his body adjusts to them.

If the raw area gets very swollen or has a green, foul smelling discharge it is infected and he must see his veterinarian.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 8 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and see if you had any further questions after reading my response. If you do please feel free to respond with them. If not and you found my information helpful please remember to rate my response positively so I may receive credit for my work thank you, ***** *****