Ear Infections and Your Cat

Your cat Misty just won’t stop messing with her ears. For the past few days, Misty’s been constantly pawing at her ears and rubbing them on the floor. When she’s not doing that, Misty shakes her head back and forth in a frenzy. Misty’s ears are clearly causing her great discomfort, and you clean them regularly, so you’re out of ideas. You’ve made an appointment with your Jensen Beach veterinarian, who can diagnose and treat Misty’s ear problem.


Infection Symptoms

Besides Misty’s incessant ear scratching and head shaking, her ear infection symptoms might include swelling or redness of her ear canal or ear flap. You might see a yellowish discharge; or perhaps a black discharge that looks like coffee grounds. Misty’s ears might smell awful, and she can have some hearing problems, too. Finally, don’t be surprised if Misty looks a bit disoriented and off balance.


Multiple Causes

Your vet will first look for ear mites, responsible for about half of all feline infections of the ears. Misty would have picked up the mites from another animal. If your vet doesn’t see any mites, he will conclude that this external or middle ear infection is due to an underlying problem. Misty might be victim to an explosion of yeast and/or bacteria. She might have gotten a foreign object, such as grass bristle or a burr, stuck in her ear canal. She might also have excess wax or thick hair that’s disturbing her; or possibly a ruptured eardrum or ear canal tumor. It’s also possible that Misty’s ear problem results from a disease that affects her entire body, such as an autoimmune disease or diabetes. Regardless of the reason, Misty should receive immediate treatment so her ear problem doesn’t become a chronic infection, which can result in facial paralysis and deafness.


Treatment Options

Your vet can treat Misty’s bacterial or yeast infection, or her mite infestation, with an appropriate eardrop or ointment medication. Your vet will show you how to apply Misty’s medication at home. He might prescribe antibiotics for an infection that has migrated into Misty’s middle ear. In some cases, surgery might be needed to remove swollen ear canal tissues.


Help avoid future infections by regularly checking Misty’s ears, and cleaning them with a solution your Jensen Beach vet recommends. After all, you want Misty’s ears to be infection-free so she can enjoy the carefree, comfortable life she deserves.

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