Saturday, January 1, 2011

Year of the Cat

Layla snoopervising as I do some school work on my laptop.

Layla's been doing OK since the last time I posted about her.  She had a brief spell last week where she didn't want to eat very much, but her spirits remained high and her appetite has since improved tremendously.

Unfortunately, it does look like the ear infection which caused her stumbling last month has come back.  Her ears are horribly itchy and they seem to be hurting her, too.  Thankfully, she is not wobbling all over the place like she did last time, but she does seem to lose her balance a little bit when she shakes her head.

I have no doubt that it will be cleared up again with another round of antibiotics, but what is worrying me is the source of the infection: I, personally, think it's being caused by build-up in her ears as a result of a food allergy.  That would mean that the food she is eating is indirectly causing the infection.  I'm not sure if this is really possible, but it's my best guess, because nothing else has changed that would cause the infection.

Her current menu consists solely of Royal Canin Veterinary Duck & Green Pea kibble.  This is not my first choice at all; I would have preferred for her to eat EVO 95% Canned Duck exclusively, but her intolerance to wet food (likely an allergy to the thickeners) rendered that impossible after her nose blew up from it.  Royal Canin does not cause her digestive or respiratory problems as some other foods have, but it does seem to be making her ears awfully itchy.

My next step will be to call the vet on Monday and ask him what I should do.  One option could be re-trying one of the kibbles we sampled over the summer (perhaps Natural Balance); it's very possible that because she was eating so many different things at the time, not all of them were making her sick.  Another option might be taking Layla to a special nutritionist, who might have alternative feeding suggestions.  Or, maybe he'll simply opt to do another round of antibiotics before making any diet changes.

In the meantime, she's hanging in there, and certainly plenty fiesty - as evidenced by the demanding meows she bellowed up to me this morning, asking for her breakfast!  My most important goal of all for 2011 is to keep that happiness in her for a long, long time.


Ice Pony Girl January 1, 2011 at 11:54 PM  

Reiki and love sent to your baby Layla. {{{HUGS}}}

KimT January 2, 2011 at 6:33 AM  

Oh our dog Chester gets those insanely itchy ears from food allergies! It's frustrating, isn't it?! Good luck! And Happy New Year!!

Unknown January 2, 2011 at 7:05 AM  

Oh poor Layla!
I'm sure she's a strong girl. My prayers are with her and I hope she fights this nasty ear infection!

Anonymous January 2, 2011 at 7:49 AM  

Happy New Year! Sendin y'all healthy happy wishes for a super duper year :)


Dawn January 2, 2011 at 8:32 AM  

I hope you can figure it out! It's so hard on us when our pets don't feel well and they can't tell us what's up. Poor kitty...

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ January 2, 2011 at 8:35 AM  

Getting to the bottom of food problems can be so frustrating. You are doing a great job trying to find what is best for Layla. Glad to hear she is doing better other than the ears. Mom once had a Golden Retriever who had a tough time with itchy ears and infections. Adding a bit of oil to her food helped tremendously, but with all of Layla's food problems that might not work for you.

Good luck.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Cyndi and Stumpy January 2, 2011 at 8:53 AM  

I hope 2011 is better for layla! She's so blessed to have you as her champion!

Frankie Furter and Ernie January 2, 2011 at 10:48 AM  

I am sure that 2011 will be a grrreat year fur Layla!!!!

Sue January 2, 2011 at 12:17 PM  

Monty had issues with his ears, too. They were caused by allergies and we were constantly watching and treating them. Good luck to Layla I hope you can find a food that agrees with the whole cat.

the teacher's pets January 2, 2011 at 12:26 PM  

A veterinarian told me that our coon hound, Daisy, could be allergic to some of her food as well which has caused her to scratch her ears often. We've cleaned her ears and have added yogurt to her diet but she still has issues with her ears from time to time. I'm with you about your thoughts on going to a nutritionist and I have a feeling both Layla and Daisy will have happy ears from then on.
Thank you for your insightful comments regarding the bulldog who has been forced to wear a muzzle in order to "train" her to stop destroying things in the living room. I agree that there are supplements, dog trainers, crates, etc, that could help with the situation but the owners are not willing to listen to reason or try any of my pieces of advice. It's sad because Ellie is suffering and it seems I'm the only one who dared to try to help her!

houndstooth January 2, 2011 at 1:29 PM  

I have been lucky in that we haven't had to deal with food allergy issues, so I'm not a lot of help from a firsthand perspective. I have heard of itchiness being caused by allergies, though. Would a good ear cleaning help? After the infection is cleared up, of course. No sense aggravating the issue while it's flaring up, but it might help, especially since you thought it might be build up from the food. I really hope that you find something that works well for her, though! She's a cute little thing!

Tucker The Crestie January 2, 2011 at 1:32 PM  

Mom was wondering if you had thought about trying a raw diet for Layla. Because of the limited "ingredients" it makes it really easy to pinpoint the source of any allergies, and oftentimes cats that showed a reaction to a certain protein in commercial food do not exhibit it when the protein is in raw form. It's certainly nothing that you should jump into without doing some research first, but help is out there for you if you are inclined to give it a try.

Good luck!

Kirby, CGC January 2, 2011 at 3:45 PM  

Hoping that 2011 is a good year for you, Marge and Layla! I think you are on the right track about the food and allergies for Layla's ears, good luck with finding something that works (she's lucky to have you!)

Kiby's mom

Kathy Mocharnuk January 2, 2011 at 4:30 PM  

I wonder if she could do a raw diet, then you could control what she eats? Maybe you could then start out with one ingredient and then do an elimination diet and just add in one thing at a time. Boy that just sounds like a rough situation with the food. Glad she is hanging in there though--Kathy

Kari in Alaska January 2, 2011 at 7:57 PM  

I sure hope you can get her all squared away soon. Maybe she needs raw?


Sam January 2, 2011 at 8:04 PM  

Regarding raw:

I have no problems with raw whatsoever (wish I could feed Marge raw but it's not an option right now) and have looked into feed Layla pre-made raw, but I keep running in to the same issues - duck is not isolated in any pre-made as a protein source. The thought that she might not react to raw protein the same as cooked protein, though, is an interesting thought. Maybe I'll glance over some of the ingredient lists again.

I could buy whole frozen duck, I suppose, but I honestly do not think that she'd eat it (and I'm really not in a position to play the wait-and-see game with her with regard to eating, as she's already a rail-thin 7lbs and has liver issues).

KB January 2, 2011 at 8:18 PM  

I'm glad that Layla is generally doing well. But, it must be frustrating to have the infection back again. A nutritionist was hugely helpful for us in figuring out how to manage K's pancreatitis - we found one from Angel Memorial Pet Hospital in Boston who did a phone consultation with us, and then sent us a written recommendation.

In any case, I hope that you solve the source of Layla's ear infections... but I'm glad that she's happy now!

Diana January 2, 2011 at 8:31 PM  

Layla sure has had a hard time. I hope you and the vet can figure out this cause.

Two French Bulldogs January 2, 2011 at 8:51 PM  

Good job Layla. Hope you knew all the answers. Love the header
Benny & Lily

Lorenza January 2, 2011 at 11:47 PM  

I am sure you will find the right food for Layla!
Glad to know she is being fiesty!
Take care
Kisses and hugs

Chris and Ricky January 3, 2011 at 7:28 AM  

Layla has such a rough time - imagine being hungry and everything you eat makes you feel bad in one way or another. I hope the vet is able to help you guys this time. But I am glad to hear she is doing well enough to have more energy and be more demanding - :)

Muttsandaklutz January 5, 2011 at 8:01 PM  

Aw, sorry to hear about the ear infection. Lucy tends to get ear infections a few times a year and it totally sucks, no fun at all.

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