Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Low Down on Jake's Ears

Ever since I adopted Jake, he's had ear infections.  I've had him 2.5 years and in that entire time, his ears have only been clean and uninfected for 4-5 months, usually in the dead of winter.  I've been treating him with a variety of antibiotics and ear drops.  This involves chasing Jake around the house as he's not a big fan of ear drops.  His ears hurt and I have to stick a syringe or dropper in them and then massage them to make sure the stuff doesn't come right back out.  Giving him pills is another challenge

After the last cytology came back from the vet in St. Louis, she recommended that I consult with a specialist after bacteria came back drug resistent to everything available.  Initially, I took him to the vet school at Iowa State University because they had a heart trial starting, and Jake looked like a possible candidate.  (Oh yea, Jake developed a heart murmur in May.)  The dermatologist concocoted some frozen meds for Jake's ears and it really helped.  Because of the distance and other factors, for the recheck, I took Jake to see the dermatologist at University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign.  The bacteria was gone, but now he had yeast.  He had yeast all over too.  Less then three weeks off the antibiotics, green puss (mucus) started coming out of his ears.  This has been the story throughout.  Once one infection is eliminated, another develops to take it's place.

On 9/22/09, Jake had a recheck at UI.  The vet was able to see into Jake's ear (this is an improvement) and saw a mass.  Jake then had a CT scan and video otoscopy.  The CT scan showed that both of his ears have calcification in them (this is bad BTW).  His right ear drum has thickened, develop some balloon like structure and flopped over.  The left ear has a largish mass.  The vet tried to get a sample, but it was so hard she couldn't get any stuff off really.  She suspects the left ear has a ceruminous gland adenocarcinoma, a tumor of the secretory glands of the ear.

If it is cancer, Jake has a good prognosis because this cancer has a low metastatic rate and will most likely not spread.  Regardless, the treatment recommended is a total ear ablation, removing the inside of his left ear.  He gets to keep the flap though :).

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