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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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My cat has polyps covering his ear canal, he also has slight

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my cat has polyps covering his ear canal, he also has slight kidney problems and ulcers in his mouth, he has had numerous lots over the last 2 years of antibiotics, canural and last week , steroids 5mg , today the vet said they could opperate but it better to put him to sleep as he old and may not survive the op, i need to know if he is in pain with this , as i cannot keep him alive if he is suffering , but if theres hope the op will work ?? can u please give me some advise thanks heather
Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian in the US who works exclusively with cats and dogs. I'm really sorry to hear that Snowy is so ill. I'll do my best to give you some perspective here. Ear polyps are common in kitties and they do tend to cause significant discomfort from both the actual polyp and the secondary infections that they cause. It's very unrewarding to try to treat polyps medically, as you can clear infection temporarily but not shrink the polyps. Once we stop giving antibiotics, though, the infection comes right back. The kitties that I see with chronic ear infections and ulcerated polyps are quite uncomfortable. If ear polyps were his only concern, you could certainly consider surgery - the surgery of choice to remove polyps like you're describing is called a total ear canal ablation. In this procedure the entire ear canal is removed, because there is no way to remove just the polyps and guarantee that they won't come back. In a few cases where the kitty only had one polyp that I could grab externally, I have anesthetized them to "debulk" the polyp, which bought the kitty a few more months of polyp free life, but these do come back unless you've gotten the whole canal. A total ear canal ablation is a very aggressive surgery and can be quite costly. We usually want the pet to be in excellent health before we embark on such an aggressive and expensive treatment. Unfortunately it sounds like Snowy isn't the greatest candidate for surgery based on your description of kidney troubles and ulcers in his mouth. We want to be sure not only that he can live through surgery, but also that nothing else that he has going on is going to threaten his life within the near future. We want to be sure he will live long enough after surgery to enjoy is pain free life. If he's still got other issues besides his ears, then just fixing his ears isn't going to improve his overall quality of life.Oral ulcers can also be severely painful and even cause a kitty to be unable to eat for the pain in their mouths. I'm not sure how bad his ulcers are, but that would be a separate problem. What we are generally trying to do with our patients is take care of the most pressing issues in terms of quality of life. We want to maximize Snowy's quality of life, not just the quantity of life. He may be too unhealthy for surgery, but potentially the ear medicine, pain medications, and intermittent antibiotics can keep him comfortable for awhile. In my experience, though, kitties who have polyps that cause them problems as soon as we stop the medication do not do well in the long term. Earlier on in the disease we can see them do great for months at a time without needing intervention, but eventually they get worse and get to the point where the medications just don't help anymore.\The following are two different scales that try to give you a quantitative number on what is otherwise a very subjective idea of quality of life: Please let me know what other questions I can answer for you~Dr. Sara----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------My goal is to provide you with the most complete and accurate “five star” answer. If my answer isn’t what you were expecting, it’s incomplete, or you have more questions PLEASE REPLY to let me know what information you are looking for BEFORE giving me a negative rating! If my answer has been helpful to you, please show me by giving me a favorable rating. Thank you so much :)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thanks ever so much for exsplaining more , if i can ask , as i was given snowy by an old gentleman years ago , and do not know if, do u think he is to old now at 12 yrs to go through an anesthetic , i know he is really , im just trying to get him a way out i think , but like u say , its a big op, so i think thats out of the question now . so all i can ask now is , as it has flarred up every 4 months for the last 2 years , and hes back for more drops etc. he must be in pain every time it flares up????. its just im finding it hard to justify taking him back tommorow to be put to sleep as he looks ok now , but the vet said its only a matter of time before he has to be put to sleep because of it. i dont want to keep him alive in pain, ?? heather

The decision on surgery really is that we want to know that he's going to live awhile after surgery. 12 isn't all that old for any sort of surgery, unless he has a lot of other health problems. Honestly in my experience the barrier to the surgery is usually financial, in that it's quite expensive. Most of my clients tell me that they can't afford the price if the cat is still going to pass on of something else, say kidney failure, within a few months or a year of having had the surgery. We want to know that you're going to get a good amount of time after surgery to enjoy him. On to the other question - my take on these always is that if the cat is happy in between flare ups and doing well in every other way, we treat until the treatments stop working or until the owner feels like their pet is in discomfort all the time. Yes, it's only a matter of time until it flares up again. How much time? It's hard to say, but his past pattern is the best predictor of how he'll do in the future. Let me know what other questions I can answer for you.~Dr. Sara
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