Sterling – advanced ear disease

Sterling at Jake's Place

“Sterling” was a 10 year old, male neutered domestic short hair kitty who had been living under the care of a rescue group. He had experienced intermittent ear infections over an extended period of time, and was also being managed with oral medications for high blood pressure.

Sterling had been evaluated for weight loss, discomfort and discharge from his left eye. At that examination, he was also found to have an active infection in his left ear (confirmed with a culture). Blood work was done and he was found to have normal chemistry and cell counts, along with normal thyroid function. He was treated with oral and topical ear antibiotics.

He started to show other clinic signs during treatment including sneezing and neurological symptoms (tilting the head, disorientation, and irregular pupil sizes).  X-rays were done and showed increased “soft tissue” inside the left middle ear. It was also thought that there may have been some changes in the bone around the site.

A CT study was done on Sterling to try and determine if surgical intervention would be an appropriate choice to open up and clean out the middle ear. 2 post contrast CT views are provided from Sterling’s study. 1 axial image (“cutting” the body into front and back planes and looking at the surface in the middle) and 1 coronal image (“cutting” the body into to top and bottom and looking down from above).


Blue arrows: aggressive bony lesion involving the left tympanic bulla and skull.  Soft tissue material/fluid is visible in the middle and external ear canals.

Red arrows:  Regional contrast enhancement at the margin of the brain suggesting local encephalitis/meningitis.


Due to the aggressive and proliferative lesion, surgical intervention was not an option.  Although he exhibited some additional neurological signs, Sterling did relatively well until the last 1 – 2 days of his life when he experienced a seizure and was unable to recover.  Humane euthanasia was elected.


Photos of Sterling and case details are shared with his family’s permission!