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Wobbly after ear cleaning.

Species: Cat
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Age: 2-5 years
The last two times Tigger has been to the vet, they noted that she had a mass in her ear. One of the doctors mentioned I should bring her back and have her put under to explore it. When I brought her in yesterday, I saw a different vet. She took Tigger in the back room to look at it. Before I knew it, I heard her howling. She was shortly brought back and the Dr told me the ear way mass "was gone". (Not that we got it out) Tigger was extremely traumatized. She hissed at me and bit and was terrified. She smelled like Vinegar and seemed to have some in her eye. I took her home, bathed her eye and went to work. When I came home, I found that she would fall over when she tried to walk. I called Dr; she said cats are sensative and could be 36 hours before she stopped being dizzy. She's not much better this morning. I asked Dr if she may have damaged Tigger's ear, she said not likely. I wonder too if she may have pushed mass down deeper? What would be expectation regarding recovering her balance after an event like this? When would I conclude that she's not recovering as she should? Are there possible things you would suspect - i.e. damage to her ear drum, etc? I'm fairly hesitant to bring her back; she's so terrified already - if I put her back in that carrier, she may die of fear. She's very small, only 7 pounds and has a bob tail. I've heard that cats with Bob tails have more problems with balance. I'm so worried, any advice would be very helpful.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Dorrie, Sorry for the delay...I was in surgery when your question came through.

I'm sorry to hear that Tigger had such a traumatic experience!

It sounds like she had an otoscopic exam. This is where a plastic scope with a light attached is directed down the ear canal to help the vet see what is in there. Most cats do not like this exam and it is not uncommon to have a bit of a struggle.

It is unlikely that a mass was pushed further down into the ear. It sounds like whatever the first vet was seeing is no longer there.

However, I am a little concerned about the balance issues that Tigger is having. Any time we do an otoscopic exam on a cat that is not cooperating we run the risk of damaging the eardrum. In many cases there is simply swelling around the eardrum area and the animal gets better in a few days. However, sometimes it can take a few weeks and occasionally (rarely) there is permanent damage.

There are other things that can cause the symptoms you are describing such as an inner ear infection, but this sounds unlikely as it happened immediately following an exam.

Tigger may need to have her ear examined under an anesthetic to determine if the drum is damaged. Or, your vet may want to try a course of some anti-inflammatory medication (i.e. steroids) to help her. It is not a bad idea to get an opinion from another vet if you have that option.

I hope she does ok!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much. I'm going to bring her to another Vet. I'm very concerned about them fighting her the way they did. She should have been put under to reduce the trauma.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's always a tough call, but I am lately doing more sedation for stressed out animals. It costs a little more, but it makes everybody's life so much easier.

Let me know if you have more questions!
Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.