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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 19121
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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My cat has a black/dark thick waxy discharge in his ear. I

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My cat has a black/dark thick waxy discharge in his ear. I cleaned the ear by rinsing it with Epi-otic preparation and Cicatrin powder. However, it has retured withing a week. Should I repeat the treatment or would you suggest another course of action. My cat is 16 years old and reasonably healty.
Thanks for the questionCustomer

1. The cicatrin powder is a topical broad-spectrum antibacterial. It is a human drug used to treat superficial bacterial infection of the skin, such as impetigo, varicose ulcers, pressure sores, trophic ulcers and burns.I do wonder if it is suitable to put into the depths of cat's ears, powders are not normally used as they do not penetrate well.

2. The epiotic is an ear cleaner and would have no direct effect against infections.

The general name for your cat's condition is Otitis Externa and the possible causes of it in the cat would be the following :

1. Bacterial infection
2. Fungal infection
3. Ear mites
4. Foreign objects in the ear canal
5. Polyps and tumours in the ear canal.
6. Allergic ear / skin disease.

As a first approach what us vets do is have a good look deep down the ear canal with our otoscope and then decide which is the most likely of the above conditions and prescribe some medicine usually in the form of drops. Usually we are lucky and hit the target the first time, then if no joy we try a second time with a different drop.

If the first line approach fails the disease may become chronic and my approach then would then be :

I would send samples from the infected ear to an outside laboratory and have culture and sensitivity carried out. The objective here is to identify the precise cause of the ear disease and which drug will cure it best. I would normally do this under anaesthesia as this gives me a much better chance to examine the ear in depth and thoroughly clean it out.

I would then apply the selected drug into the ear canals for a two week period. Be aware that some ear treatments fail because the client does not put the applicator as far down the ear canal as they should, so get your vet to demonstrate just to be on the safe side. The infection is normally deep in the ear canal not at the surface you see.

I am so sorry I cannot suggest any home remedies here there is nothing much you can do on your own, the problem is you have to identify the precise cause before you treat the condition as all the treatments are different. My advice therefor is that you should have your cat's ears checked by your vet.

If I have not covered your question fully enough or you would like to ask more I will be online for the next hour or so and I will be at your disposal

Scott Nimmo BVMS
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