Ear Infections in Cats- What You Need to Know!
6 March, 2018
ear infection in cats

Cats don’t often get ear infections, but when they do, it can be difficult to pinpoint.  If your vet has ruled out ear mites, the most common feline ear infection, than it’s important to get to the cause of your cat’s ear infection. The infectious agent is usually bacterial, although yeast, fungus and allergies can also cause an inner ear infection.

It’s important to take your cat  to the vet as soon as you notice signs of ear discomfort.  Ear infections can become chronic and lead to deafness and facial paralysis.

What are the signs of an inner ear infection?

The signs and symptoms of an inner ear infection depend on the severity and the extent of the infection. Some cats may show no outward signs at all, but you may notice your cat is reluctant to chew or seems to be in pain when opening her mouth. She may shake his head or paw at the affected ear or tilt his or her head in the direction of the painful ear.

Other symptoms to look for include:

Black or yellowish discharge, redness or swelling of the ear flap or ear canal, waxy buildup on or near the ear canal, discharge from the ear that resembles coffee grounds (a symptom of ear mites), strong foul odor, hearing loss, loss of balance or disorientation.

The causes of ear infections in cats

Generally, unless your cat has picked up mites from another animal, ear infections are a secondary condition. That means they are actually the result of some other underlying medical problem.

Here are some of the contributing causes for external ear and middle ear infections: an overgrowth of yeast or bacteria, or often, both, wax build up In the ear canal, allergies such as food or pollen, autoimmune diseases, improper ear cleaning, foreign bodies, and environmental irritants.

Treatment for ear infections in cats

If your vet determines that your cat has ear mites or a yeast or bacterial infection, the treatment will consist of anti-parasitics, antifungals, or antibiotics, as appropriate. These all come in ointment or eardrop form.

Medications will be administered directly in the ear and orally. Antibiotics will be used for a bacterial infection. If the infection is fungal in nature, an anti-fungal medication will be prescribed. Whatever medications are chosen, it is critical that they be given precisely as prescribed.

At home, you should check your cat’s ear to see if the inside of the ear flap is pink and clear. If ear drops have been prescribed, gently lift the ear flap and squeeze out the solution into the ear canal. Gently massage the base of the ear to help the medicine work its way into the ear canal.

Preventing ear infections

Because outdoor cats are more likely to be exposed to ear mites, keeping cats indoors can reduce the chances of ear mites and associated infections.  Any new kitten or cat being introduced into the home should be examined by a veterinarian to ensure she is ear mite free before being introduced to other cats in the household.

Regular cleaning and checking of the ears can identify infections early, so it can be treated effectively before chronic problems result.

Begin by checking your cat’s ears for odor, redness, or discharge. The inside of your cat’s ear should be a pale pink color and free of unusual odors or wax buildup. Using mild ear cleansers on a regular basis can help reduce the occurrence of ear infections.

Other related articles:

Ear Mites in Cats 

How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears

Eye Infections in Cats



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