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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22457
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Yesterday, after our 10 year old cat fell off a metal workshop

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Yesterday, after our 10 year old cat fell off a metal workshop frame yesterday and fell onto the bottom of the metal frame she seemed unhurt although we thought it unusual that she would fall as she had never lost her balance before. but today she seemed to be walking with a slight limp and crouched down with her hips lowered..and then later she seemed to have a wobble on her head and although her vitality and appetite were normal we took her for a check at the Vet to make sure of her reason for wobbling. The vet was young and fairly new and was very pleasant and diagnosed an ear polyp. We came home with ear was, antibiotic and to go back in 4 days. She was looking for an eye condition which accompanies it sometimes and at first said she couldn't see then dropped a tissue by the cat which she watched as it fell so she said that she obviously could see. However she has been deaf for some time, if not years. (Afetr recovering symptomatically from Feline hIV) my question is how long would she have been developing this feline Ear Polyp she says she has and what occurs without an operation for it? Thanks
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.

Ear polyps are a common issue in older animals. And like any growth can arise at any time and grow as slowly or quickly as the cells that compose it can divide. You noted that she is deaf, but it is important to appreciate that this isn't usually related to hearing (though it can reduce hearing in non-deaf cats by causing a physical obstruction in the canal). Furthermore, if the polyp is invading the middle ear with its growth (so growing downwards), then it could certainly compromise her balance. As well, if it was being affected by a secondary infection and/or inflamed, then could make a non-clinically significant polyp could again start to cause signs.

That all said, I do have to note some other concerns for her signs. We can see wobbliness related to middle ear infection, brain based trauma (ie hematomas, soft tissue swelling), protozoal or bacterial infections of the brain, and also with tumours (both of the brain but also within the ear). So, we do need to consider these as well especially as some ear based tumours can look like polyps and can only be differentiated by taking a sample for analysis.

With all this in mind, the vet's treatment is reasonable. She is ruling out infection related to the polyp, as well as middle ear disease (which also could cause these signs). Furthermore, her use of the ear wash will remove any function ear based infections/inflammation from our differential list here. And these are all important since the polyp has likely been present for a while and often these other issues are what trigger symptoms (unless it has grown to a critical point). The only other potential treatment, she may have considered using here would have been a feline friendly anti-inflammatory (ie Metacam) to rule out inflammation and swelling but also address any potential soreness from her fall. But if your cat is older, then the vet may have been reluctant to use this at this stage. Still it is something to consider if we don't see improvement or if she is very sore from the fall.

Finally, if she doesn't improve, then surgery could be a potential option. Of course, the possibility of surgery would depend on just how invasive that polyp was and whether the vet thought it could be removed. Though in regards ***** ***** question, if it was left, this would just mean that her wobbliness may not settle, could worsen with time, and you would need to modify her access to locations where she wouldn't be at risk of falling.

Overall, the approach so far has been appropriate for the situation. Of course, if she is sore, then it is worth ringing the vet about potentially starting Metacam as well. Otherwise, it is a case of seeing how she responds and then deciding if you did want to diagnose this further (ie xrays, CT, biopsy or bloods/MRI to rule out those other issues) or just work with the vet to help finding the right treatment protocol to at least keep your lass comfortable for as long as possible.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


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