When Newton started to walk with his head tilted to the right and pawed at his ear, it was clear there was trouble. We could see black gunk down in his ear. Yuck!
That meant an unexpected trip to the vet. As usual, Newton would rather have been napping at home.
He was the only cat in the office at that time, which is unusual, but it meant that everyone could give him lots of extra attention.
Dr. Avok took a sample of the gunk in his ear and looked at it under a microscope. She found both yeast and cocci bacteria.
Cats, like humans, have a certain amount of naturally-occurring yeast and bacteria in their ears. Excessive ear wax buildup can make a cat’s ear a more hospitable environment for yeast and bacteria. This, in turn, allows extra yeast and bacteria and results in an ear infection.
Sara, one of the awesome techs at our veterinarian’s office, wrapped Newton in a towel and cleaned all of the gunk out of Newton’s ear.
He was really well-behaved through the whole process, but he wanted to hide inside the towel by the time it was over.
Newton: I’ll be right in here until I can go home.
Not so fast, Newton! As long as he was at the vet, we went ahead and did the followup check with his urine.
Newton went to the litterbox sometime before he left, so he wasn’t full of urine. That meant an ultrasound was necessary to draw his sample. The ultrasound couldn’t come to the exam room that day, so we went into the back to get his sample.
Newton: I’ll let you be my girlfriend if you can get me out of here, Darby.
Sara pointed out Newton’s bladder for us on the ultrasound before taking the sample.
Newton: You’re not putting pictures of this on the internet again, are you?
The results of his urinalysis weren’t as good as we had hoped. Despite a switch to distilled water, Newton’s urinary pH crept up from 7.5 to 8. That isn’t as high as it was before he was on distilled water, but there were a few crystals in his latest urine sample. Newton may to be a cat cats whose body naturally has a higher pH and predisposition to sterile urinary crystals.
At this point, we just want him feeling better and also willing to eat the food we put in front of him. So we are going to try to modify his raw diet a bit while keeping it balanced so that he can be happy with what he is eating and hopefully get his urinary issues in order once and for all.
In the meantime, he’s sleeping off this last vet trip and getting ear drops twice daily. It’s a good thing he’s such a patient kitty!
Research and further reading
Biochim Biophys Acta, Factors affecting struvite (MgNH4PO4.6H2O) crystallization in feline urine
Vetstreet, Chronic Ear Infections (Chronic Otitis) in Cats