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Mystery possibly solved... [Aug. 30th, 2010|09:56 pm]
Near as I can tell, what happened was that a significant piece of the surgical incision was re-opened this morning.

I don't know what this tells me about the vet, but that incision was stitched, and stitches came out 6 days ago, and the area was undisturbed, and then within minutes of the cone coming off, Skitty's got a big gash on her ear - worse than I'd realized, even.

So, this clears up a major part of my worry. How could a cat who hadn't been scratching at the cone *at all* (except right after her ointment was applied) suddenly rip her ear open to the point that it was dripping blood? It couldn't be the itchiness - not when she'd left the cone alone for a couple days. Well, it must mean her ears are so fragile, it's either keep her in the cone in pereptuity, or consider other drastic measures.

But now we have an explanation for the fragility.

[User Picture]From: phoenixpdx
2010-08-31 06:03 am (UTC)
Dunno if this will help but...our Fearless had a stretch of scratching at his ear and bleeding like crazy. We thought he was just scratching hard (old cat, sensitive skin getting thin, etc.). It was to the point that our bedroom (aka the kitty geriatric unit) looked like something out of CSI. Blood EVERYwhere.

Turned out he had a squamous cell carcinoma on his ear that makes it itch and bleed like crazy. He got that part cut out (with a good margin) and after the cone came off he was fine. A few months later, when it started bleeding again, we got him right back in and the vet took off a little more ear. The cancer is a slow growing one that won't likely kill him (since he's 19 already!), and his new family has also had to have him in for some more ear to come off.

Maybe something to ask a/the vet about?
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[User Picture]From: marypcb
2010-08-31 10:52 am (UTC)
did you decrease the amount of/ regularity of ointmenting when the cone came off? (in case that was damping down the itchiness?)
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[User Picture]From: ladysprite
2010-08-31 11:56 am (UTC)
I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for you, and Skitty - my thoughts are with you, and I hope you get to the bottom of this and get her feeling better soon.

That said, I wouldn't necessarily think that this implies anything negative about the vet. Surgical incisions are fragile, and can sometimes take a while to heal even after the sutures are out. And some cats are smart - they'll learn that scratching at the cone doesn't actually stop the itching, so they'll stop trying, only to go crazy as soon as the cone is off.

On the other hand, given how long this has been going on, there's certainly something to be said for an outside perspective, and another doctor can provide that. Either way, if there's anything at all I can do, please let me know....
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-08-31 02:41 pm (UTC)
Well, like I said, the major panic is over - my biggest concern was that she couldn't be without the cone, ever, for more than a few minutes, without ripping her ears open enough to make them bleed that much - which is the only reason I considered declawing. If it was "just" itching, I couldn't understand how she could have done *that* much damage, that quickly, and without me even noticing it... not on healthy tissue.

A ripped (or improperly healed) incision at least puts things back in the realm of the rational and workable - I'm not trying to figure out how to live with a cat whose ears can start dripping blood at a moment's notice.

Re: the incision, thanks - it does look like a fragile spot for an incision. But I wish the doctor had told me a bit more about this; this isn't the kind of thing that makes for a good surprise. Maybe this is one of those things that sometimes just happens, and if you tell everyone, you worry 99 out of a hundred people needlessly - but I don't like the amount of spontaneous communication I've gotten from him so far. Maybe it's just superstition/bad luck. Two older cats starting to get into medical issues, with a mis-matched communication style.

Re: the underlying problem, one of the reasons it took a year is that for the past 3-5 months, I've been figuring out how to pay for the polyp removal. He'd found polyps a fair bit earlier.
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