When we adopted Maxwell five years ago, we didn't know that he was profoundly deaf.
|Our first photo of Maxwell, sitting on my lap during the adoption process.|
Diagnosis: Kennel Cough. Wow, really?
At the time, I thought that was a disease associated with dogs. Kennel Cough is the common name for respiratory infections often found in shelter animals, specifically in the windpipe and lungs ("tracheobronchitis"). And - though rare - it can infect cats as well as dogs.
____________________This post is sponsored by Bayer® ExpertCare™ and the BlogPaws Influencer Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Bayer ExpertCare products but A Tonk's Tail only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Bayer ExpertCare is not responsible for the content of this article. ____________________
[While this is a sponsored post, it also has important educational information for volunteers who work with shelter animals. It's something I've been hoping to share with you for a while now, and I'm glad Bayer has provided the opportunity to do so.]
Kennel Cough got its nickname because it's commonly found in companion animals being kenneled in a shelter. Being kenneled is stressful on any animal, more so with cats than dogs. And numerous studies have found that stress plays a key role in immune suppression. Animals with suppressed immunity are more susceptible to diseases like Kennel Cough.
They're also susceptible to another, equally painful condition, an opportunistic disease also found in immune-suppressed animals.
And the emergency vet failed to find it, despite a question we asked that I believe should have led to its discovery.
Is Maxwell deaf?
The emergency vet snapped her fingers behind Maxie's head, clapped a few times, then looked up and told us, "Looks like he might be, but it's hard to tell." And then she sent us home.
That night, I noticed an awful smell emanating from this new kitty cuddled up next to me in bed. The next morning, Maxie got a bath, much to his chagrin. Yet still, he smelled.
|"Momma, let's talk about me and bath time. I think you might be a teensy bit obsessed with that. |
My FUR didn't smell. My EARS did."
Maxwell had a raging ear infection.
Ear infections are opportunistic fellows. They are very painful and can lead to deafness. They're tenacious, too. It took five months - five months - of daily treatment before Maxie finally was declared infection-free.
That day, he was given a thorough ear wash, then sent home with antibiotics and antifungal treatments, both oral and in ear drop form.
So, here's my question to you....
How often do you
examine your cat's ears?
What about in the shelter where you volunteer? Shelter medical staff often rely on the observations of volunteers to help them catch disease early on.
I've made it a habit to check each shelter cat I visit for dirty ears. I also lean in and check for any foul odor. I'd encourage you to, as well. If there's debris or an odor, let shelter staff know.
And in your own cats, if you see wax, dirt, or other debris, then it's probably time for a cleaning.
|No, Faraday. Not THAT type of cleaning. You should NEVER stick a Q-Tip in ANY pet's ear!|
I like what I see in the ingredients label on the Bayer® ExpertCare™ Ear Care Rinse and if I could, I would use it on Maxwell. But Maxie's case is special - he has a birth defect. He was born without an eardrum. So any ear drops I gave him would bypass the outer ear and go straight into his middle ear.
So instead of a product review, this is me advocating for both a heightened awareness of the signs of ear infection in cats, as well as the responsible use of safe ear rinse products. And Bayer® ExpertCare™ Ear Care Rinse is one of them.
Please don't try a home remedy without thoroughly researching it first! The Merck Veterinary Manual cautions against using home remedies and vinegar dilutions, stating they cause swelling of the ear canal lining, which will predispose your cat to opportunistic infections.
And if your cat does end up with an ear infection, you may be advised by your vet to routinely cleanse your cat's ears to prevent a recurrance. Should that happen, it's important to know how to do this, what to use, and how often. (Merck also noted that owners can be too aggressive when cleaning, causing trauma to the ear.)
|A product like Bayer ExpertCare Ear Cleansing Rinse is safe for use on cats. Some home remedies are NOT.|
Bayer's Ear Cleansing Rinse contains Salicyclic Acid, which reduces swelling & redness. It contains Benzoic Acid, which is an antifungal agent. And it contains Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate Surfactant, which is a cleansing and emulsifying agent. And it can be purchased at your local PetSmart or on PetSmart.com.
If you want to read more about ear infections in cats,
here are links to a few articles by veterinarians and experts:
Vetstreet.com: Chronic Ear Infections
VCA Hospitals: Ear Infections in Cats
Merck Veterinary Manual: Overview of Otitis Externa