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Ear infection and FIV.

Species: Cat
Breed: moggy
Age: 5-8 years

I got Monty from a rescue home 5 months ago. he is an fiv + cat and looked so sad in his advert i had to have him. he had a hard life and had been living rough for a while.he was terribly nervous and hyperventilating when he arrived but after a week was fine. he had a clean bill of health before he came to me and his teeth cleaned.

two weeks ago he shook his head and some dark liquid came out. i took him to the vet (i'd first checked that they were ok with fiv+ cats. it was hard as he was so nervous and he was hyperventilating by the time we arrived. Vet looked in his ear and it was full of brown gunk which he cleaned out. he said he thought the problem was long standing and probably from before he came to me, thought his teeth were poor, that he may well have fluid on his tummy and that he wasn't in good shape at all and implied that the next time he came in he would have to be put to sleep. he also stressed that if i thought he was uncofortabel in any way i should bring him in and have him put down.

i was very shocked and said but he pees, poos, eats, plays and likes cuddles but vet not convinced.

he gave me canaural to put in ears twice daily, ear softening drops once daily and advised cleaning cats ear out daily. this was very difficult and i am improving but i am not always sure that all the drops go in the ear. Cleaning ear out has been beyond me.

i noticed tonight that ear is now oozing a clear fluid and doesn't look good tho Monty still eating etc. etc.

i obviously need to take Monty back to the vet - but is this the end? can anything be done with ear infection or mite (not sure which it is? is there any treatment other than ear drops how do i know if fluid on tummy or just plump?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Awww...Poor Monty. Thank you for taking in this kitty. It sounds like you are the perfect home for him.

I find that cleaning cat ears is difficult and I don't often advise my clients to do this. My experience is that once we clear up the root of the problem then the ears tend to clean themselves. However, I would follow your vet's advice as they have more information on exactly what is going on with Monty.

If there is an ear infection and it is not clearing up with Canaural it may be that there is something more serious going on. It's possible that Monty needs a different type of ear medication, possibly combined with an oral antibiotic. When an FIV kitty has an infection that is not clearing up then I do worry that there is a more serious illness going on that is connected to the FIV.

Fluid in the abdomen is never a good sign in a cat. It can be a sign of a serious condition called FIP which unfortunately there is no cure for. Or it could be a sign of a serious liver problem or a cancer of some sort.

With all of that being said, though, if Monty is eating well and seems happy then this is a good sign. We don't know for certain that there is fluid...just the vet suspects that there is.

If this were my case then I would be highly advising more tests to determine how serious the problem is. However, the tests that would need to be done will add extra expense. I would want to be running a blood profile to look for things like a serious liver or kidney problem or signs of a systemic infection. I may also want to do xrays to determine if i can see an abdominal cancer or if there really is fluid in the abdomen.

If that kind of testing is not in your budget then the vet may consider adding on some oral antibiotics and changing the ear medication.

Here are some things to look for that might indicate that the condition is getting more serious:

-loss of appetite
-if his abdomen is getting larger (You may want to try to measure the circumference of it at its widest point so you can monitor this.)
-extreme lethargy

I hope that things look up soon!

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:


Thanks for your reply.

I realised that in fact the clear liquid was from me being rather too enthusiastic putting in the wax softening drops! That has cleared up now so in fact I haven't taken Monty back to the vet as yet as there isn't any discharge.

Monty's appetite is extremely good! and he is not lethargic which is good too. His tummy is large tho and I wonder if, as he is so hungry, I am over feeding him. I will monitor his food for a while and see what happens on the weight/tummy front.

So...while he is happy, bright eyed, eating, peeing, pooing and enjoying cuddles things can i assume things can't be too bad? is there anything else i should be looking out for? I'm aware that if he gets poorly he will have to be put down - apart from antibiotics I don't think any other treatment would be worth it due to the fiv.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh that is good news that things are clearing up with the ear! And yes, if he's bright and happy and eating well then I'd say things are going well!

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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.