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Opaque eardrums?

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#1
One of my F2s has been deaf since birth. In Jan. 2009 at 9 mos of age he exhibited an acute episode of circling to the right with severe horizontal nystagmus. All tests, including blood work, were normal. Since that time he has experienced 2-3 mild episodes of nystagmus when he is on high things such as cabinets particularly in the winter and spring. When I retrieve him from the heights and put him on the floor he is fine. At the end of Jan. 2011 he had another mild episode and developed a slight head tilt to the right. He is going for his yearly physical tomorrow and I've already spoken with his vet to arrange for an MRI. I am hoping for a diagnosis of vestibular syndrome and not a brain tumor.

Upon physical examination of my F6 during his physical today, she said his eardrums are also opaque. Neither cat has any swelling, redness, or exhudation from their ears. The F6 is not deaf.

Any idea why their ear drums are opaque? Is this perhaps indicative of hybrid heritage?
 

Per Lausund

Moderator
Staff member
#5
One of my F2s has been deaf since birth. In Jan. 2009 at 9 mos of age he exhibited an acute episode of circling to the right with severe horizontal nystagmus. All tests, including blood work, were normal. Since that time he has experienced 2-3 mild episodes of nystagmus when he is on high things such as cabinets particularly in the winter and spring. When I retrieve him from the heights and put him on the floor he is fine. At the end of Jan. 2011 he had another mild episode and developed a slight head tilt to the right. He is going for his yearly physical tomorrow and I've already spoken with his vet to arrange for an MRI. I am hoping for a diagnosis of vestibular syndrome and not a brain tumor.

Upon physical examination of my F6 during his physical today, she said his eardrums are also opaque. Neither cat has any swelling, redness, or exhudation from their ears. The F6 is not deaf.

Any idea why their ear drums are opaque? Is this perhaps indicative of hybrid heritage?
When a cat is on my table with symptoms like that the first potential diagnosis that enters my head is an infection in the inner or usually middle ear. The episode in 2009 bears all the hallmarks of an acute otitis media. You don´t mention any treatment, I would have prescribed antibiotics as a first measure. Never mind "normal" values, what you see is what you described, and that has a high predictive value for otitis media (middle ear inflammation/infection). It can resolve spontaneously, or it may lie dormant and repeat (of course, in order to have a repeat you need a first time!). The tilt to the right supports this diagnosis. Mind you, this is a paper exercise, not having examined the animal, but in order of probability I would put: otitis media, followed by vestibulitis or trauma (even odds), parasitic infection (wandering larvae) and at the very end somewhere low brain tumour (and with no progressive disease that one sort of fades further). There may be chronic changes following inflammation, maybe that is what your vet sees as opaque eardrum. That does not explain the F6, but then you do not describe any clinical symptoms for him. I may be way off the mark here, but it would be interesting to hear from someone who has actually examined the cat!
P
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#6
Thank you for your input Per. I appreciate it. My vet had nothing more to add to what I've shared already. She examined all 3 cats' ears during the past 2 days and said they all look the same. She now thinks that the opacity of Juba's ears is normal since it is present in the other 2 cats.

We are trying to get an MRI scheduled for Juba. I hope we can get a firm diagnosis from that in order to come up with an appropriate treatment plan.
 

Per Lausund

Moderator
Staff member
#7
Thank you for your input Per. I appreciate it. My vet had nothing more to add to what I've shared already. She examined all 3 cats' ears during the past 2 days and said they all look the same. She now thinks that the opacity of Juba's ears is normal since it is present in the other 2 cats.

We are trying to get an MRI scheduled for Juba. I hope we can get a firm diagnosis from that in order to come up with an appropriate treatment plan.
Re opacity: should she be looking at some more cats to get an impression of "normal"? Rice paper is normal, you can sometimes make out fuzzy structures on the other side. I would have thought she meant thickened as opposed to normal, but ok...
I would still suspect an otitis media that was either persistent or left scars. Good luck!
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#8
Per,
The results of Juba's MRI show no abnormalities of any kind so the diagnosis is idiopathic vestibular disease. They also took a sampling of spinal fluid and sent it out for testing and we should should have results in 2-3 days. The spinal fluid looked clear so unless something shows up at testing, we're dealing with a chronic but non-life threatening condition. I am so relieved.
 

Per Lausund

Moderator
Staff member
#9
Per,
The results of Juba's MRI show no abnormalities of any kind so the diagnosis is idiopathic vestibular disease. They also took a sampling of spinal fluid and sent it out for testing and we should should have results in 2-3 days. The spinal fluid looked clear so unless something shows up at testing, we're dealing with a chronic but non-life threatening condition. I am so relieved.
:) Good! Remember that idiopathic means unknown cause, though.
I would recommend you read the following:
http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/Health/Feline_Vestibular_Disease_Thayer.pdf
http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=564
http://www.fabcats.org/owners/wobbly_kittens/info.html
http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/31000.htm
they are all very helpful. Has Juba ever been treated with Streptomycin? The reason I´m asking is taht this drug is neurotoxic specifically to the nerves that control balance, while the "brother" Dihydrostreptomycin (DHS), is toxic to the nerves that regulate hearing.
Good luck with continued testing and perhaps some treatment will result?

Per