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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20631
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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Shakes his head seems as though his ears are bothering him

Customer Question

Shakes his head seems as though his ears are bothering him but they are clean. For some reason he associates it with the bedroom and he will not come in there. He sits out side and sometimes meow;s but now sleeps in the living room.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the cat. What is the cat's name and age?
Customer: Tucker is 13 and he does have high blood pressure. Would that attribute to him shaking his head
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Tucker?
Customer: High blood pressure he is on (starts with Amp.... ) would that make him shake his head
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hello & welcome. I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long has he had these signs?

Any odor to the ears?

When was Tucker last treated for fleas and what product did you use?

Any appetite or eating issues? Drooling or pawing at his mouth or face?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Has been doing this Since Sunday, no odor or discharge in the ears. He is an indoor cat and has not been treated for fleas. No eating issues no drooling or pawing at his mouth. Just pawing at his ears, and shaking his head any ideas why he would not want to go in the bedroom. Do you think he assimilates the ear issue with the bedroom. It is like he is afraid to enter the bedroom. Would the head shake be attributed to high blood pressure
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Thank you,

First, I am glad to hear that he hasn't any oral issues, as we can see these same signs in cats with sore mouths and rotten teeth. In regards ***** ***** blood pressure, we don't tend to see head shaking with it but could see head tilting if he had a brain bleed from the pressure being too high (but this doesn't sound like what you are seeing with Tucker).

Now his behaviour in regards ***** ***** room isn’t odd for a cat. They can have faulty logic and blame things for their signs (ie cats with bladder infections sometimes hiss or avoid the litter box, or those with sore mouths may hiss at their food or dish). So, its not likely that anything in the room has caused the problem, but he is linking the two. Still, if we can soothe his discomfort, then we’d hope that he will “forgive” the room.

Given the lack of discharges, we'd be less wary of bacterial infection but could still have an underlying ear mite issue or allergy present. As well, we can see cats with ear based polyps or caught foreign bodies in the ear, but his being indoors makes the latter less likely and we'd expect a more gradual onset for polyp issues. With these concerns in mind, we can consider some supportive care for him at this stage. To start, you can gently flush his ears with luke warm salt water (1tbsp salt to a pint warm water) or OTC sterile saline (ie first aid eye wash, plain contact lens solution). This can just safely help flush anything caught and could help displace any discharge in the lower ear canal.

As well, if he hasn't been treated for fleas recently, you can consider using Advantage Multi or Revolution just now. Both are multi-species anti-parasitic and can help against ear mites. So, that would be an ideal here especially since even indoor cats can catch these mites.

Finally, to counter allergy concerns, you can consider a trial on antihistamines. Often we do use Benadryl/Diphenhydramine (More Info/Dose @ A low dose (ie. 0.25mg per pound of their body weight twice daily) can just be enough to reduce that allergic irritation. Alternatively, you can also use Cetirizine (just 5mg for a cat) once daily. For either, we like to keep the dose low, since it can cause drowsiness (just like people). Of course, we'd want to ring his vet before use since he does have some pre-existing health issues and is on medication for his blood pressure. And I'd note that if he is very irritated, then his vet could also use a long acting steroid to counter any allergies and double check that there are none of those other concerns deeper in the ear canal.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 9 months ago.

Hello again,

How is everything with your wee one?

Dr. B.