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Balance problems following dental and ear cleaning

This forum is for cat lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your cat.

  


Member Since
04/03/2013
 
 
Purred: Wed Apr 3, '13 6:44pm PST 
On Wednesday, 3/27, I took my 15 year old tabby, Magic, in for a dental cleaning. While he was under, the vet removed a tooth and cleaned out his ears. The vet commented that he had some scratches in his ears, so we should keep an eye out for any excessive scratching. When I brought him home that afternoon, he was understandably very groggy, one of his third eyelids was exposed, and he was losing his balance when he shook his head. The vet explained that all these issues were normal following anesthesia, so I wasn't too concerned. He'd taken less of an interest in his food and water than usual for a few days afterward, but by Saturday, 3/30, he was eating consistently again and was acting like himself. Unfortunately his balance issues had gotten worse by Saturday. I called the vet and explained what I was seeing, and they thought he might have an ear infection. They prescribed tresaderm drops to be given twice a day. Despite the meds, his balance continued to degrade over the next couple of days. By Tuesday morning he could barely walk across the room without losing his footing a few times along the way, mostly falling toward his right side. I took him in to see the vet Tuesday afternoon. The vet couldn't see any signs of infection in the parts of the ear she could observe, and the eardrums were intact. They said it could be a middle/inner ear problem, and that the drops could be aggravating things rather than making them better. They took him off the drops and put him on oral antibiotics (clavamox) and steroids (pred-nisone). The vet suggested that if his balance didn't improve in response to the new meds he might have a neurological condition and need to see another doctor. It's now Wednesday evening, and he's had a total of four doses of the antibiotics and two doses of the steroids. His balance is even worse, to the point where he can't take more than a few steps without falling over.

He had blood work done about a month ago and a urine sample taken at the cleaning, and neither indicated any problems.

Despite the vet's comment about the scratches in his ears, I don't expect ear mites. The vet has looked in his ears twice and cleaned them out without comment about that possibility. If this was neurological, I wouldn't expect to be able to pinpoint an event that could have started the problem, the ear cleaning, and I would have expected to see a slower progression of balance problems. A rapid progression seems to suggest a spreading infection to me rather than a neurological problem, but I'm no vet.

Does anyone out there have any experience with steadily progressing balance issues follow anesthesia/cleaning or any thoughts about what Magic's issue might be? Could something the vet did during the cleaning trigger this? Is antibiotics the right way to go? Is there something other than an ear infection or a neurological condition that could be to blame?
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Sammie

little stinker
 
 
Purred: Wed Apr 3, '13 7:44pm PST 
We never had this happen to us, but, we say go to another vet for a second opinion, ASAP!!!. Good luck, hope your kitty gets better.

purrs
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Member Since
04/03/2013
 
 
Purred: Sat Apr 27, '13 5:28am PST 
So we're a month out from when he had the surgery that started all this, and I'm happy to report that he is doing much better! We ended up seeing the same vet a few more times, another vet at the same clinic, and talking with a third about the situation. All of them agreed that it was likely an ear infection and there was no malpractice involved. A few days after posting this Magic started responding to the antibiotics/roids and his balance started to improve. He had a few bad days here and there (wouldn't eat, throwing up), but he toughed it out. By the time he finished his round of the meds two weeks later, he was completely back to normal smile
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Baron

1120674
 
 
Purred: Tue Apr 30, '13 5:00pm PST 
Thank you for posting an update! Baron is going in for dental cleaning tomorrow. Hoping for the best!
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Member Since
02/26/2014
 
 
Purred: Wed Feb 26, '14 9:22am PST 
I realize this topic is several months old, but I had to comment. The exact same thing happened to my cat. It turned out that the probing in his ears had caused nerve damage. This resulted in vestibular disease and Horner's syndrome. Baxter was wobbly, his eyes darted back and forth, and one eye was dilated. It took about six weeks for him to fully recover. Now my vet will not attempt to clean Baxter's ears again! If he so much as puts a q-tip slightly into the ear canal, one of Baxter's eyes will start to dilate.
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