The Cat Ear Infection : The Causes, The Symptoms & The Treatment

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There are a wide variety of conditions and causes which can lead to inflammation of the ear (otitis) in cats. Starting from ear mites, allergies, fungi, bacteria, cancer, injuries, immune system nuisance, etc. are the causing of ear infections.

In general, the ear is divided into three parts, the outer (external), the middle and the (internal). It can occur in one or all three parts of the ear. The infection that occurs in the inner ears is usually severe and fatal, can cause loss of hearing ability permanently.

Otitis which is not treated quickly and properly can cause longstanding inflammation/chronic. Under some conditions of chronic inflammation can cause the growth of polyps. Furthermore these polyps can develop into a tumor/cancer and close the ear canal, consequently, the cat can not hear properly again.


Symptoms of Cat Ear Infection

cat ear infection
Credits: Ear Mites

Most cats have problems with ear looks uncomfortable and often shake/shaking his head, scratching the ears, rubbing the ear/head on the wall, or other objects. From the inner ear, it may appear dirty fluid and sometimes accompanied odor.

Scratches or shake of the head continuously for long periods can cause hematoma in the ear (aural hematoma). The hematoma is a blood clot or a buildup in the ear due to the rupture of blood vessels that are on the ears. The ears experienced hematoma will look the signs such as swollen and feels warm when touched.  Moreover, the ear feels like there is a buildup of fluid under the skin of the ear.

Othematoma / aural hematoma, swelling of the ear, contain the blood clots. The ear infection also affects the eyes. Furthermore, otitis may develop more severe and affect the auditory nerve and other nerves. Other symptoms can be seen to be the head or face position that always slanting and unable to walk a straight line.

Diagnosis of Cat Ear Infection

The method that most often and easy to use is checking the ears by using an instrument called an otoscope. With this vet tool, it can see outer and middle ear including the ear canal. Other tests can be done by taking the impurities contained in the ear, and then examined using a microscope. From the unknown circumstances dirt, automatically, it can cause the inflammation of the ear.


Causes of Cat Ear Infection

There are a lot of things that can cause and heightens the risk of otitis, including:

cat ear infection
Credits: Animals Care Basics

1. Dirt

Surely, most cases of infection in the ear begin his dirty ears. The impurities contained in the ear can come from outside (dust, soil, etc.) or from within the ear itself. As well as humans, normally cat ears produce a sort of brownish-yellow liquid as wax which serves to keep moisture and condition microorganism in the ear. This wax is often referred to as cerumen. The buildup of cerumen is a suitable place for the growth of bacteria or fungi. Moreover, it also causes discomfort for cats trying to scratch/clawing their ear. This scratching causes minor injuries which immediately can develop into an ear infection.

2. Bacteria and Fungus

Bacteria & Fungus is one of the main agents which is causing the infection in the ear. Mushroom and fungus that normally live in the ear are called Malassezia pachydermatous. Because something happens, the overpopulation of this fungus could cause an ear infection.

3. Ear Mites

The small mite which often causes infection is a species of Otedectes Cynotis. The other species of mites can also cause Infection such as Sarcoptes, Demodex and Notoedres.

4. Allergy

Allergies to pollen, foods or medicines can also cause the infection.  Allergies cat typically show the symptoms of other diseases such as itchy skin, etc. But it could have allergy symptoms that only occur in the form of otitis. Hypoallergenic foods can assist in determining and controlling the allergies.

5. Hormone Nuisance

The diseases that cause the hormone nuisance can suppress the immune system. Diminished immune can cause various diseases easily appearing in the one of cat’s ear. Furthermore, a blood test is sometimes necessary to diagnose the infection caused by the hormonal nuisance.

6. Tumors/Polyps

A tumor can grow in the ear or ear canal. Tumors/polyps may arise as a result of prolonged ear infections.

7. The Cat Ear Shape

The folded/closed ear shape as the Scottish cat breed can heighten the infection risk. The thick hair which grows in the ear also increases the infection. Therefore, cats with ear shape or long hair growing in the ears require more attention and care than other cats.


The Treatment of Cat Ear Infection

cat ear infection
Credits: Love That Pat

The treatment act which is done depends on the cause of infection. Eardrops that contain anti-inflammatory and antibiotic can be given in a case of a bacterial infection and swelling. Of course, the eardrops containing anti-ectoparasite or medicine injection including Ivermectin, Selamectin, etc. can be given if the infections caused by ear mites or other parasites. Giving these medicines must follow the parasite life circle. For the tumor/polyp case, it requires the surgery to remove the abnormal network. The polyp is a network that grows caused by the prolonged irritation.

Ear infection caused by allergies and hormonal nuisance require the thoroughly and systematically treatment. Sometimes, the treatment is just reducing the effects/illness because the main cause (allergies or hormonal nuisance) is relatively difficult to cure.


Prevention of Cat Ear Infection

Certainly, always check the cleanliness of the cat’s ears regularly is the best way to do. Furthermore, you clean the cat’s ears regularly. Normal ear fluid colored translucent brownish-yellow when it’s dark brown and bad smell, probably the cats suffer the ear infection. Close cat ears with cotton when it is bathed and don’t forget to remove it again when finished.


Can Be the Ear Infection Cured?

With proper disease diagnosis, cleaning the ears routine and immediately appropriate treatment within two weeks, the ear infection can be healed and restored. Some cases of infection caused by allergies, hormonal nuisance or immune system, are more difficult to handle and requires a rather long time to diagnose. If the infection has lasted long and severe, there is a possibility of cat hearing ability not irreversible.