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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22450
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My cat has quite a lot of brown gunk in his left ear and the

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My cat has quite a lot of brown gunk in his left ear and the vet thought it was probably just ear wax but I'm really worried it might be something else. I would be so grateful for a second opinion. I have a picture of it. Thank you ever so much. Josie x

Hello & welcome, Josie. I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Has your kitty been very irritated and scratching this ear?

If you can post your photos, that would be grand. To do so, you can either use the paper clip on the tool bar. Or if you cannot see that on your phone/computer, then you can post them on any site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, Imgr etc) and paste the web address here for me to have a peek.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

He has been scratching it a bit but not overly. The reason I'm worried is a few weeks out of the blue he lost quite a bit of his hearing. He could hear the vet clap behind him but he no longer heard me calling for him or hear me if I came in a room etc. I feel like some of that hearing might be coming back as he heard me come up behind him yesterday and he's started running again when I call. He often gets the direction wrong though. So if I'm calling him from one side he often runs and looks to the opposite side. If its ok would I be able to ask you one more question that may or may not be connected to this? Thank you so much

Thank you,You can ask that question now, as I put type out my thoughts about that very dirty ear.Dr. B.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Dr B.

Over a month ago he lost his hearing. Then a few days later he didn't want to eat. He took a little bit of white fish off me but wasn't really fussed. Normally he goes crazy for food- he LOVES food!

Then he started becoming extremely quiet and sitting in the middle of a room all day sort of staring into space. He wouldn't purr and didn't want to be stroked.Normally he follows me round the house and jumps all over me for cuddles.

I took him to the vet. Over the course of a few weeks I took him back and back to the vet. He had blood tests- liver, kidney, checking for infections etc all were normal. They tried him with painkillers, antibiotics, a tablet to increase his appetite. He was on a drip for a day and he did not improve. He then had a chest xray and ultrasound (I think of abdomen) and further blood tests for viruses, toxoplasmosis and other 'unusual' things as the vet called it. All were normal except he has a low level toxoplasmosis that the vet didn't think was high enough to be causing a problem and they found spondylosis/arthritis of the spine on the x ray but again the vet didn't think it was connected to his symptoms.

Having had a devastating diagnosis myself my cat has now become my lifeline and I can't bear to see him like this. Its like his personality has completely changed. Thankfully he has now got his appetite back and is occasionally purring but still doesn't want to be cuddled and just sits on his own sort of staring into space.

Then the last few days this ear gunk has appeared and I just wanted to mention the other stuff just in case it was relevant. I was just wondering if you thought perhaps pain from the arthritis in his spine could cause this change in personality? So sorry this is so long! Thank you so much for taking the time to help me.

Thank you,

First, the discharge does just look like wax (which could cause temporary deafness due to blockage of the ear canal). Still, if he is irritated and scratching then we'd be concerned about possible eat mites +/- yeast infection. Therefore, it would be ideal to consider having your vet examine a sample under the microscope or consider treating for these two.

Otherwise, while again hearing loss (especially if the ear drum has been compromised) and even spacey behaviour could be related to this, it is difficult to assume the ear signs would be causing appetite loss and general withdrawal. That said, pain/discomfort from arthritis could do and could also cause him to be withdrawn and not himself, so that is more likely to be fitting with this. And we'd hope that if the pain is managed adequately that he will regain his usual demeaner.

Overall, his ear situation does raise concerns of possible yeast/mites infection without a microscopic analysis. Still, it is unlikely to be related to the other signs. Therefore, we would be concerned about discomfort and make sure that is being addressed with kitty safe pain relief at this stage to see if we can get him feeling more like himself.

I hope this information is helpful.

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

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Dr B.

He was given Meloxicam/ Loxicom 0.5mg/ml initially before we discovered the arthritis, but I don't think it helped.

What pain relief would you recommend I ask for?

I'm just a bit worried to take him back again as the vet told me he thought it was just ear wax and I don't want him to get cross with me (due to being on welfare I take him to a donation based vet who are super busy and under staffed and I just don't want them to get upset with me, keeping on bringing him back)

Thank you ever so much for helping me- I'm so grateful!

Hi again,

Meloxicam is a very good anti-inflammatory for cats. Though if you do not think it helped much, then you could speak to his vet about pure pain relief options like Bupenorphine, Tramadol, or possibly Gabapentin (which can help if we have nerve/spinal pain).

Otherwise, in regards ***** ***** ears, you have a few options. If it was just wax, then gently flushing/cleaning the ears with luke warm water should clear this. As well, you could ring the local vet to dispense a spot on that can help against mites (ie Revolution, Stronghold, Advantage Multi). They should have no issue dispensing this if he has been see recently and they have an up to date weight for him.

Otherwise, you would need to be frank with your vet and discuss your concerns. Because if he doesn't respond to the above, then an ear treatment or examiantion of the discharge would be indicated if this is not settling with basic treatment for wax.

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dr B, thank you so much. Sorry can I just ask a few more questions?

Can all those medications be given long term? It said in the Loxicam leaflet not to give it for too long because it can cause renal problems?

I did a stronghold for his fleas a few weeks ago would this have covered the mite issue?

Can I use a cue tip to clean his ear or just a paper towel? If the discharge is caused by mites or yeast is it safe for me to clean his ears?

I can't thank you enough for your kindness and patience

You are very welcome,

First, no Q-tips allowed at all, as one can easily damage the ear drum using these in cats ears. Instead, a cotton ball can be used (only as far as your finger can reach) to help you flush these ears. In regards ***** ***** Stronghold, it should help if there are mites present. Otherwise, all the pain medications we have discussed can be used as long as needed. As well, Loxicom can be given as long as needed too provided kidney function is monitored (via urine or blood test). And I would note that we often use it long term in cases where it is effective at relieving pain.
Take care,
Dr. B.
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