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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7350
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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Dr. Z, my cat has been seeing a vet but it is perplexing...

Customer Question

Hello Dr. Z, my cat has been seeing a vet but it is perplexing... About 1 month ago he appeared suddenly with a perfectly circular bare skin patch above his left eye. I treated it with hydrogen peroxide for a few days, it turned red and ugly, so took him to the vet. His eye was half shut and droopy too. Vet said the skin patch was going through the process of dying and would fall off, which it did. He was perplexed but was confident it was caused by a venomous insect sting or bite, and it was affecting the nerves but chances are they would heal themselves over time. Treated with cleaning and cortisone ointment 3x/day, was well on the way to healing, hair growing back, and he was chipper. But I was worried because in the meantime it looked like it was spreading into his ear, but the vet wasn't so concerned, said it was the whole thing drying out. Then, very suddenly about 7-8 days ago (so 3 weeks since the beginning), he appeared one day (he's an outdoor cat) acting very weird - circling, disoriented, coughing/gagging in his throat, his voice very low and guttural, and acted as if maybe deaf. Took him back to vet the next day, his ear was thoroughly cleaned (had black gook inside), he was given a shot of antibiotics with high probability it was an inner ear infection, and given general blood test. His blood came back "picture perfect". But it's been 7 days now and his behavior hasn't changed, it's maybe gotten a little worse - circling alot, loss of balance, toppling over onto food dish, etc. He has had a very healthy appetite all along, and drinking a lot of water. Any thoughts? I'm so worried that maybe it's venom making its way deeper into the body...
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  petdrz replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and Willy today. I'm a veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy to work with you but need a bit more information in order to better assist you if you don't mind.
Did you vet do any sort of testing of the skin patches? Are there any still visible?
After his ear was cleaned out, were they able to visualize his ear drum and make sure it was intact?
Was any testing done on the discharge in his ear to better identify what it is?
Are you treating his ears with anything?
Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response or I may be offline, but if so, I will respond as soon as I am able.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No testing of skin, and I don't believe there are any visible. Unfortunately I'm at work now so cannot look inside his ear - that would be the only place. I'll check tonight.I know they examined inside his ear, and I'm assuming they would have told me if they found anything unusual.No testing on the discharge, no.Oh yes, forgot to say the vet gave me drops to put in his ear 1x/day to further clean it out.I will be speaking to my vet on the phone with an hour - I will ask about the ear drum.Thank you so much for your help.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I should add his left eye pupil was very small in the beginning also. But the whole eye condition has improved greatly since the beginning - it's almost normal, but a little glassy. And I have seen both eyes follow a target so I don't believe he is blind on that side (I was wondering if that might have caused the circling).
Expert:  petdrz replied 2 years ago.
Ok, great. As far as the lesions, anytime we have hair loss, especially in an outdoor cat, we need to be concerned about things like mites, ringworm and bacterial or yeast infections. If you start to notice any return of the skin lesions, I would definitely have your vet test for these.I think the circling (and probably the pupil size changes) are likely due to the ear infection. There are nerves that run through the inner ear that control the sense of balance and the eyes. If they are irritated, we can see symptoms similar to what you are describing. This is called vestibular disease.Here is a link with information about vestibular disease - the article refers to dogs, but it is the same condition in cats.LINK HERE
Expert:  petdrz replied 2 years ago.
Hi Heather,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Z.