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Ear Infection in Cats

Ear Infection in Cats

Our veterinarians in Denver don't encounter as many ear infections in cats as in dogs. However, they might suggest an underlying health problem when we do find them. Today, let's explore cat ear infections.

Ear Infection in Cats

Although not very common, cats can get ear infections, and when they do, it could be a serious issue. That's why it's crucial to treat your cat's ear infection as soon as possible. A superficial outer ear infection can spread fast to the middle ear and even farther, causing more pain and serious inner ear infections in cats.

Causes of Ear Infection in Cats

The primary reason behind cat ear infections is ear mites. If your kitty has a weak immune system, allergies, or diabetes, they may be more prone to ear infections than healthy cats.

Your furry friend might get an ear infection if the skin inside their ear gets irritated and swollen. This leads to extra wax production and creates a situation where the natural bacteria and yeast in the ear can grow too much, making your cat's ears feel itchy and uncomfortable. When this happens, you might notice your cat rubbing their ear, scratching, clawing, or shaking their head.

Some common reasons why cats can get outer and middle ear infections include:

  • Immune system diseases (FLV or FIV)
  • Irritants in the environment
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Allergies (pollen, food, etc).
  • Wax buildup
  • Foreign bodies in the ear canal
  • Thick fur or hair in the ear canal
  • Excessive growth of bacteria, yeast, or both
  • Polyps or tumors in the ear canal
  • Incorrect ear cleaning
  • Ruptured eardrum
  • Diabetes mellitus

Signs of Ear Infection in Cats

If your cat is scratching its ear or seems uncomfortable, it might be getting an ear infection. Healthy cat ears are pale pink and don't have any wax or bad smells. If your cat's ears are red, swollen, or smell funny, they could be infected. Here are some other signs your cat might show if it has an ear infection:

  • Yellowish or black discharge
  • Head tilting
  • Ear discharge resembling coffee grounds
  • Hearing loss
  • Redness or swelling in the ear canal
  • Strong odor
  • Waxy buildup near or on the canal
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of balance
  • Redness or swelling of the ear flap

Diagnosing Ear Infections in Cats

Your vet will start by examining your cat's ear canal, then take a sample of ear debris to examine under a microscope in order to determine whether bacteria, yeast, or ear mites are causing the issue.

How To Treat Ear Infection in Cats

Treating cat ear infections is usually quite simple. First, your vet might trim the fur around your cat's ear canal to keep it clean and dry.

If the infection has spread to the middle ear without affecting the eardrum, your vet may provide antibiotics in pill or injection form to clear it up.

In case your cat has an ear infection caused by ear mites, bacteria, or yeast, the treatment may involve using eardrops containing corticosteroids, antifungals, antibiotics, or anti-parasitic medications.

Regularly check your cat's ears to make sure the inside of the ear flap is clean and the ear canal is clear. If your vet has given you eardrops, gently lift the ear flap and apply the solution into the ear canal, massaging the base of the ear to help the medicine reach the ear canal.

Promptly addressing infections is crucial because they can become chronic and potentially lead to problems like facial paralysis or hearing loss.

Chronic Ear Infection in Cats

Cats with chronic ear infections might be going through some troubles like growths, allergies, parasites, and other issues. If you notice that your furry friend has an ear infection that won't go away and is making their ears all itchy and painful, it's time to chat with your veterinarian. Your vet might give you some medicine to help with the swelling inside the ear canal.

Sometimes, but not very often, surgery might be needed to fix the problem and remove the swollen tissue blocking or squeezing the canal.

Preventing Your Cat From Getting an Ear Infection

To help your furry feline buddy stay healthy and happy, you can make sure their ears are in good shape. Regularly check your kitty's ears to ensure there's no odor, residue, redness, swelling, or other symptoms. Be sure to have any issues treated early before they worsen, and ask your vet to show you how to clean your cat's ears correctly - or bring your feline friend to the vet for regular cleanings.

Do not insert cleaning devices into your cat's ear canal unless your vet instructs you to do so.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat looks in pain or shows signs of an ear infection, get in touch with our vets at Pets on Broadway Animal Hospital located in Denver today.

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