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C2010-13

Dear Christopher Cat

I have two cats, and their ears feel hot. When this problem occurred in the past, my veterinarian dispensed antibiotic pills, which cooled their ears by the next day. Now, she refuses to prescribe them. Why?

Christopher Responds

You’ll have to ask her to be sure, but two reasons come to my feline mind.

First, if you called and requested antibiotics without making an appointment for your cats, your veterinarian likely balked because, without examining their ears, she wouldn’t know what the problem was.

Our ears may feel hot because of allergies, bacterial infections, fungal infections, ear mites, fleas, polyps or any number of other problems. Each of these situations is treated differently. So your veterinarian must examine your cats before she can prescribe an effective treatment.

Moreover, if she hasn’t seen your cats during the past year, state regulations prohibit her from recommending any treatment.

Second, most feline ear infections -– assuming that’s what’s going on -- respond well to antibiotic ear drops. Because oral antibiotics carry some risk, including vomiting, diarrhea and the potential that antibiotic overuse will result in bacterial resistance, veterinarians prescribe them only when the benefits outweigh the hazards.

Take your cats to see their veterinarian soon, so they’ll get the relief they need.

 

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