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  1. #1
    Platinum Member SnowFox's Avatar
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    cat keeps shaking head- like his ears bother him

    In the past two days, my 14 year old cat has started shaking his head often like his ears bother them. He is also keeping his ears slightly down so it looks like he is mad or irritated. He is not meowing or anything. But he occasionally tries to scratch one of his ears.

    I have an appointment on Thursday because over the past few months he has developed all sorts of strange problems - first a skin rash, then diarrhea, then he stopped eating food and lost weight, now the ear thing. His blood work showed a possible liver problem but the vet wasn't sure what could be causing it (several things to rule out).

    I looked in his ears and don't see anything in there. If I take him to a vet today or tomorrow it will be the emergency vet which will probably cost a couple of hundred dollars. I've already spent $250 on previous appointments, blood work, and medications in the past 3 months.

    I'm wondering if I can just wait until Thursday to get it checked out. Obviously he can't tell me if he is in pain, but he seems friendly, purrs, and is otherwise acting normal (except not eating as much as usual but that started over a week ago, prior to shaking his head).

    Wondering if anyone has any ideas. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member FathomFear's Avatar
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    My cat did that quite a bit when he had ear mites. Ear mites look like a kind of black gunk inside the cat's ear. Sort of like this: http://www.bullwrinkle.com/Assets/Images/ear-mites.jpg

  3. #3
    Platinum Member jengh's Avatar
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    What do the inside of his ears look like? Like the poster above said, he could have mites. My cat, D!ckens, has battled mites his whole life (despite constant treatment!). It could also be some sort of yeast infection (my other cat would get those).
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  4. #4
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    I was thinking mites, too. But you would have seen black in his ears... It could simply be a middle ear infection - I assume cats can get them?

    Why don't you call and see if they can bring the appointment forward (as this sounds more urgent) and ask their advice?

    I would say it's unlikely to kill him before Thursday! But it sounds as though he's very uncomfortable... Probably if it were me I wouldn't go to the emergency vet but I WOULD try to get there sooner than planned. If you tell them there is a new symptom presenting which is causing him distress, they ought to see you sooner..?
    It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, It is because we do not dare that they are difficult. (Seneca)

  5. #5
    Platinum Member SnowFox's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback-

    Unfortunately tomorrow is a holiday so the regular vet is closed. Maybe I can call the regular vet in the AM on Tues if it is still a problem and they can see him then.

    I didn't see any black stuff or crud in his ears (I did a google search earlier so was thinking it could be mites).

    If he started shaking his head nonstop I might think about going to emergency vet, but since its not at that point, I am going to try to wait.

    I just feel so bad- he was so healthy until last fall when he got this itchy patch under his chin- we gave him two different medications and ever since then, he keeps having one strange problem after another.

  6. #6
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    A long shot here, my cat had itching a few years back and the vet suggested keeping her off fish (!!). In fact it didn't turn out to be that but I HAVE noticed that she seems to be generally itchy after eating food containing prawns.

    However it sounds as though there maybe something systemic going on here (have they done the bloods for thyroid too? Does he get agitated?)

    Hope you can get him in on Tuesday...
    It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, It is because we do not dare that they are difficult. (Seneca)

  7. #7
    Platinum Member SnowFox's Avatar
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    Well, I am glad i did not take him to the emergency vet yesterday- the charges for those are a minimum of $60 to $100, then they usually add other charges on top of that, plus they charge a lot for medications (higher prices than normal since people are in crisis and will pay for it). And that isn't even a guarantee that they will be able to figure out what is wrong with the animal.

    so I decided to just wait and see how he was doing since it didn't appear he was in pain.

    Today, his ears are standing straight up like normal and he is only occasionally shaking his head- but not nearly to the degree he was yesterday. So it appears that the problem has greatly diminished if not disappeared entirely.

    Maybe he was having an allergy to something, I don't know.

  8. #8
    Gold Member absinthe's Avatar
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    Hopefully it's ear mites which is easy to treat. When we first got our cat, he had ear mites AND fleas so the vet recommended Revolution®. Fantastic stuff that got rid of both in two treatments. Not only does it treat for ear mites and fleas, it also gets rid of hookworm and roundworm.

    And no, I'm not paid to spam for this company, just sharing what worked so perfectly on my big baby.

  9. #9
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    If you're not seeing any mite dirt, it could be some sort of allergy. Itchy ears can be caused by a food allergy or an allergic reaction to something in the environment, both of which tend to show up as itchiness of the ears and head/neck area in cats. My kitty was having similar problems and the vet thinks it was a food allergy, so now he is eating special (and expensive...) low-allergen food.

    If it seems like he's getting better, maybe it was just an allergic response to something that he encountered in the environment. Good luck figuring it out

  10. #10
    Platinum Member SnowFox's Avatar
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    So far, the ear problem hasn't returned. So I am inclined to think it was an allergy - it seemed to last for about 36 hours or so.

    I'm glad his ears aren't bothering him anymore.

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