The 3 Most Common Cat Ear Problems & Treatments

Published: 01st July 2007
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Cat ear problems are often one of the most common conditions why a cat owner brings the cat to the vet.



Some of the signs that your cat may be having ear problems are:



1) Shaking its head and ears often and sometimes very vigorously.



2) Scratching its ears more often than normal.



3) Foul smell coming from the ears.



4) Ear discharge which is usually yellow, brown or purplish.



5) Either the ear flap or the ear canal opening is inflamed.



6) Turns aggressive when you touch its ears or an area near the ears.



7) Tilts its head to one side all the time.



8) Appears not to be able to hear you or loud noises (loss of hearing).



The 3 most common ear problems are:



EAR MITES AND EAR INFECTIONS



Ear mite infestation is common in young cats. This condition, called otitis, causes the skin in the ear to become inflamed. To add to this problem, some bacteria such as the yeast Malassezia pachydermatis, takes advantage of mite infestations and act to create severe ear infections. If left untreated, there is a danger of a ruptured eardrum.



Infections in the middle or inner ear cause a loss of balance, poor co-ordination and possibly fever, loss of appetite and vomiting.



Treatment: If you have a cat who has ear mite infestations, do treat all your other pets for mites as well. Mites spread and multiply very easily and quickly. Treatments should last for at least 3 weeks. Click here for more ear mite treatments.



If your cat has other types of ear infections, it is highly recommended that you bring your cat to a vet for professional advice on treatments. A cat which has an ear infection and a ruptured ear drum, will need special medicines. Also be aware that some drugs and antibiotics can cause ear-nerve damage if not administered properly and in the correct dosage. Your vet will be the best person to advise.



EAR TUMORS



A common ear tumor ceruminomas, often affects adult cats. It grows inside the ear canal and is grey-blue and blister-like.



Treatment: Surgical removal of the tumor is required by your vet.



DEAFNESS



Deafness may affect older cats as part of the aging process. Certain types of cats have a higher tendency than others to be born deaf. The most commonly known are white cats with blue eyes. As much as 20% of cats with this combination of coat and eye color are known to be born deaf. To test if your cat is deaf, go to the vet for a brain-stem auditory-evoked response test (BAER).



Handling: If you have a deaf cat, it is risky for it to be outdoors so make sure to keep it inside at all times. Without its hearing, it is helpless against oncoming traffic and other hostile cats or dogs (and unfortunately even some humans!).



Approach a deaf cat slowly so as not to startle it. It is best to move slowly into its line of vision instead of suddenly appearing in front of it.



You may also consider getting a hearing companion for your cat. It may be another cat or dog. Animals communicate and read one another's body signals better than humans do. By observing this companion, your cat will be able to understand its environment better.

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