Ear diseases in our pets are regularly found in veterinary practice. As a rule, we are talking about pathologies caused by ear mites, but sometimes you have to deal with something more serious. Such as otitis media in cats.
What it is
The second name of the disease is otomycosis. This is an inflammation of the ears caused by pathogenic or conditionally pathogenic fungi.and in the latter case, microorganisms cause the disease only in special conditions, accompanied by a deterioration in the resistance of the cat's body. Very often, otitis media is a secondary disease, developing against the background of bacterial infections or all the same ticks. We emphasize once again that in many cases, otitis media appears as a result of the action of fungi or yeasts that are not initially pathogenic.
This pathology was first described in 1844 or even in 1843. It was studied in more detail in the period from 1903 to 1920. Wolff in 1947 described the main pathogens, and this list is still relevant. But only Gregson et al. In 1961 confirmed the danger of conditionally pathogenic fungi and yeast, describing cases of severe otitis media caused by them.
Epidemiology and prevalence of pathology
Flowing in acute or chronic form. The latter occurs in 3-5% of all sick animals. In 90% of cases, fungal otitis media develops after a serious injury to the external auditory canal or some kind of infectious disease that weakened the animal’s immunity.
It is reported that approximately ¼ cases are related to external otomycosis. The disease is widespread in all countries of the world and on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica (it is cold there for mushrooms). The warmer and wetter the terrain, the more favorable the conditions for the growth and development of all types of mushrooms. In addition, sharply increases the likelihood of infection living the animal in dirty, dusty rooms, where there is always a lot of mushroom spores. The best chances of catching the infection are among the youngest and also depleted animals, as well as in pets whose diet is far from ideal in micro- and macroelements, vitamins. Severe and prolonged stress also contributes to the development of the disease.
What are the symptoms of "mushroom" ear damage? Otomycosis usually "gives" the animal severe itching, irritation, causes pain and discomfort. Note that, in contrast to ear inflammation of bacterial etiology, fungal otitis is very rarely accompanied by exudation. The latter, of course, is, but it is very few. But deposits in the ear canals (again, when compared with bacterial etiology) are many times more. Because of this, a sick cat can even completely go deaf, as its ear canals are completely clogged with the waste products of fungal colonies.
Kurnatovsky et al. Write that the usual manifestation of fungal inflammation of the ears is the rapid and severe redness of the auricles. We also note that initially only one ear is affected, the process is extremely rarely bilateral from the very beginning, but in more than 97% of cases, fungal colonies “colonize” the second organ in the first days. Presumably, middle and deep otitis media of fungal origin can be caused solely by parasites of the genus Aspergillus. These varieties are extremely dangerous, since they often cause perforation of the eardrum, often leading to damage to the central nervous system. Acute otitis externa of fungal origin also has an unpleasant "habit" of a quick transition to a chronic inflammatory process that goes deep into the ear canal. Simply put, it is necessary to treat this disease quickly, not sparing time and money for it.
If you look into the sore ear with an otoscope, you can see, firstly, severely inflamed skin, and also, as we indicated above, large volumes of deposits of fungal nature. Sometimes the entire lumen of the ear canal is covered by a mass similar to cotton wool or filter paper, greenish-gray or just gray. In severe cases, when the inflammation was caused by Aspergillus fungi, it is easy to see growths or, on the contrary, “bumps” directly in the bone tissue. The fact is that parasites of this genus grow extremely aggressively, simultaneously melting surrounding tissues with their secretions. This ends badly - in the best case, an animal can be helped by a complicated operation, but in the worst case, it dies from brain damage or severe sepsis.
This phenomenon was described by Carfrae et al in 2008. The disease is characterized by a very high death rate. Researchers suggest that such an outcome is at risk of "earning" initially weakened animals, and pets who were previously treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are at risk. Many veterinarians believe that even after the successful cure of such otitis media in animals, an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome often occurs. A sort of "fungal AIDS." How is the treatment of fungal otitis media in cats?
The first step is to make it a rule to clean the ear canal daily from the excreta accumulated in it. Please note that this is only about thoroughly wiping the skin with napkins and removing overlays with cotton swabs. Douching the ear canal is strictly prohibited, since in this case the living conditions of the pathogen will only dramatically improve! After the procedure, the ears are thoroughly wiped with any alcohol-based antiseptic solutions.
As for specific drugs ... Well proven: amphotericin B (3%), flucytosine (10%), econazole (1%), clotrimazole (1%). Salicylic acid, griseofulvin and ketoconazole are less effective. Econazole (1%) in the form of a solution (that is, its drops) is especially good, allowing for stable remission after three weeks of treatment. By the way, it is in the form of drops that this drug is recommended to be used by experienced veterinarians, since in this case its toxic effect on the body of the animal itself will be minimal. If there is a suspicion of damage to the eardrum and serious erosion of other organs, it is preferable to use tolnaftate (also 1% solution). It is less toxic and much safer for all types of animals. It is important to note that immediately after using the drops, it is advisable to keep the pet in a lateral position for at least five to six minutes, so that the drug can flow as deep as possible. Otherwise, the effectiveness of treatment may be zero.
Antifungal ointments and liniments have proven themselves well., the only drawback of which is the need to lay them in the very depth of the ear canal. But you don’t need to hold the pet for several minutes, which greatly saves time and saves nerve cells.
Finally, I would like to say about a drug with an interesting name "Mercurochrome". This is a special organometallic compound. The drug itself is an aqueous solution with an active substance content of 1-2%. Its main advantage is a very high efficiency - from 96 to 100%. There is only one problem - the medicine contains mercury, it is quite toxic, and you can get it only by prescription. So only a veterinarian can prescribe it.