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Question
Dr. Gotthelf: I have an indoor cat that has a mild black buildup in his ears.  The veterinarian used a cotton swab to examine the buildup, which she said was fungus.  (She did not use an otoscope or check the material under a microscope). She said to treat the fungus by applying rubbing alcohol to his ears with a cotton ball. Is rubbing alcohol an effective treatment for ear fungus?  Thank you.

Answer
NO, alcohol is not a fungicide.  I don't know how she could have diagnosed a fungal disease without using the microscope or doing a culture.  If the cat is having just waxy ears without having any symptoms, that is probably normal.  IF the cat is scratching or rubbing the ears excessively, then it needs to be checked out better, possibly by someone else.

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Dr. Louis N. Gotthelf

Expertise

Dermatology and ear diseases of dogs and cats

Experience

I am the author of "Small Animal Ear Diseases; An Illustrated Guide" published by W.B. Saunders. I have over 25 years of clinical experience with a special interest in dermatologic conditions and ear diseases.

Organizations
American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology

Publications
Veterinary Forum
Veterinary Medicine
Waltham Focus

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