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Question for vets and cat-knowledgeable folks [Aug. 30th, 2010|10:44 am]
Skitty has been scratching her ears bloody for over a year. I finally got some surgery that was supposed to remove the lesions/polyps/whatever that we thought were causing it.

I've also been giving her about two weeks of ointments/antibiotics, one right after the surgery, the other for six days, before I noticed she was shaking her head, but not scratching at her e-collar any longer. So, today, I took the e-collar off.

Within 30 minutes, she'd scratched her left ear bloody. (Yes kightp, it *was* her right ear that had it worse before.)

I grew up where Cats Were Declawed. That's just What One Did; one got a cat, and One Had It Declawed. And I've learned how painful it can be, and decided that I'd rather not do it to a cat, but I also know a cat can live a long, happy life after being declawed. I don't want to do it - the poor kitty's had a hard life already. But I think declawing might be better than her continuously opening up her ears. And, something has to change - I can't live with a cat who keeps spattering blood all over the house.

Obviously, we still want to address whatever-the-hell is bothering her ears. I should probably try another vet - I've started to have serious questions about my current one. But I'm hoping someone else might have some ideas, and let me know that whether the vet's going to look at me like something they scrape off the bottom of their shoe under the circumstances.

[User Picture]From: wolfette
2010-08-30 05:57 pm (UTC)
Look at getting some "soft paws" fitted on her rear claws meantime so she can't scratch herself bloody - but if she's shaking her head and scratching, sounds like she's itchy.

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[User Picture]From: susandennis
2010-08-30 05:57 pm (UTC)
I think declawing would be the best bet all the way around but I cannot imagine that you could find a vet around here to do it. I wish I had a better idea for you but changing vets sounds like a wise start.
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[User Picture]From: ftemery
2010-08-30 06:48 pm (UTC)
Just brain farts, no ideas per se; allergies to dust, food, and possibly the kind of litter you use. Ear mites. My cat was declawed and it never bothered him but we made sure to keep him inside as much as possible as he couldn't climb a tree to escape any predators after that. If you discuss the idea with a vet you'll find one who agrees without judgment. Or else you can find another, better one!
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[User Picture]From: kathrynt
2010-08-30 07:05 pm (UTC)
If she's scratching with her hind paws, you're out of luck no matter what -- basically nobody will declaw a cat's hind paws anymore, even if they'll do the front.
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[User Picture]From: ladysprite
2010-08-30 07:21 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't recommend declawing as a solution to scratching the ears - ultimately, it won't stop the problem, which is the itchiness. I do second the recommendation for softpaws, as a symptomatic treatment while you get to the bottom of the problem, though.

Most often, when a cat is scratching their ears that badly, there's an underlying problem - usually allergies (to food, plants, dust mites, or just about anything else you can imagine). I don't know what tests your vet has done to help get to the root of this, but if you want to email me with details (or discuss it here), I'd be happy to at least weigh in with my opinions and suggestions (keeping in mind that it's all speculation since I haven't examined her).

Also, have you talked with your vet about meds for the itching, beyond just the topical antibiotics? Sometimes antihistamines can work wonders...
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[User Picture]From: irismoonlight
2010-08-31 12:10 am (UTC)
Allergies, fleas, ear mites or simply sensitive skin ... you might try one of the sensitive skin cat foods.

You also might simply leave the cone of shame on longer. I had a cat explode his ear twice due to a undiagnosed ear mite issue. His ears did not look like he had mites. After the first surgery, they still itched from the bites and as they healed. Eventually he quit shaking his head and scratching, but he always had a sad busted ear after that.

Fleas: put the cat in a dry tub and brush/flea comb him. If you see little black spots that then run red when they get damp wet, you have fleas whether you can see them or not. Don't bother with flea collars. Trying to use a flea collar to control for fleas on the wet side of the West Coast is like trying to use a .22 against a charge of Orcs. It does not freeze cold enough to kill all the eggs. Use Advantage or its rival, the stuff you get FROM A VET; the knockoffs from the grocery/pet stores are NOT the same thing, they're just stronger flea collar stuff. And yes, you have to use it three months in a row and yes, it's expensive but it's worth it. Flea infestations can get.... bad. *shudder*
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[User Picture]From: marypcb
2010-08-31 01:12 am (UTC)
I know I have a cultural difference here but I find the notion of declawing deeply distressing because it removes - as I'm sure you know - not the claw but the bottom bone of the toe. And I know you're only considering it to help the cat but if you do you're only treating the symprom not the cause; there's something the cat is trying to get out of its ear (the cone works because the cat is smart enough to learn they can't scratch past it, not because it does anything of itself). I'd suspect ear mites (a vet who earned my lifelong admiration infected his own ear and said it's enough to drive you mad) or something similar; you could try allerpet in case it's more of an eczema or dermatitis thing. hope that helps rather than sounding preachy!
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[User Picture]From: calpatine
2010-08-31 01:55 am (UTC)
Declawing a full-grown cat is a pretty bad idea, since she'd have to get used to the pressure of paws suddenly missing a bone bearing her weight and that could mess up her spine and hips something terrible.

Unfortunately, I don't have experience with ear mites/allergies/whatever neurosis is causing her to hurt herself, though. :(
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