Home: Cat Ear Care

Cat Ear Care
Common Cat Ear Care Problems

Cat ear care momma cat and kittenBegin your cat ear care program with a visual inspection of his ears. Start on the outside. Do you see any indications of bites or has the ear been torn? If these are recent wounds and they are bloody, try sponging them clean with a damp cloth. If your animal struggles, you may need to constrain him by wrapping him in a towel. Also, ask your spouse or neighbor for some help.  Do you see something that looks like gobs of dirt and ear wax? You may think it looks like coffee grounds. If so, your cat probably has ear mites.

Here are symptoms of a cat ear problem to look for when you inspect his ears:

  • Excessive shaking of the head;

  • Brownish/Black, coffee grain type material is not normal;

  • Redness in the ears is not normal;

  • Redness or sores around the fringe of the ear may be infection or cancer;

  • Excessive head shaking or pawing at the ears
     

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    Common problems include ear mites, allergies, fungal, bacterial and yeast infections.

    Inherited Ear Conditions

    NEVER use a Q-tip to clean your cat's ears.
    Some ear conditions are inherited, such as "fold-ears," in which the tip of the cat's pinna is bent into the ear, as in Scottish Fold cats, or away from the head, as in America Curl cats. These conditions are not associated with hearing loss.

    Another condition that is inherited is a blockage of the ear canal. This is called, atresia. It usually doesn't cause major hearing problems. Pure white cats can be born deaf and the condition can't be corrected. Not all white cats are deaf and those born with this condition aren't usually deaf in both ears.

    Acquired Condition

    Most cat ear care problems are acquired. If your cat fights with other cats then he may suffer from broken blood vessels that develop into a hematoma (blood clot) under the skin of his ear. This can actually disfigure the ear flap.

    The most common ear problem is oititis externa which is a inflammation of the outer ear canal that can damage the eardrum and affect hearing and balance. If otitis externa is not treated, inflammation can spread to the middle ear and finally the inner ear. In most severe cases, the inner ear is so damaged that it results in deafness and balance problems.

    Another problem prevalent in some cat breeds is seborrheaSeborrhea occurs from excessive oil secretions that result in a surplus of ear wax. The wax becomes a feeding ground for bacteria and yeast. This results in infection. 

    The major cause of otitis externa is the ear mite, otherwise known as otodectes cynotis. Ear mites are tiny ear terrorists about the size of a pinhead. They leave a nasty mess inside the infested animal's ear canal. It looks like dark, waxy, coffee grounds.

    Ear mites are extremely contagious and travel from one cat to another. Litters of kittens and outdoor cats are very susceptible because they may fight or cuddle together leaving an open ear-door to the traveling ear mites. 

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Treatment

You can easily tell if your cat is suffering from ear mites. The outer ear may be inflamed and the cat will flatten his ears against his head, scratch at them and shake is his as if trying to dislodge something in his ear.

Cat ear care ear mite monster
 
Gently hold open the ear so you can take a peek into his ear canal. Hold the tip of the ear between your thumb and forefinger and gently roll it outward to reveal the inner part of the ear. Don't pull too hard. After all, you're not trying to lengthen the ear.

If you see gobs of dirt and ear wax that look like a wad of coffee grounds, you need to treat your cat for ear mites.

Treatment usually includes a thorough cleaning by a veterinarian followed by an antibiotic topical treatment or injection. This medication kills the mites.

Unfortunately, these blood suckers can and will reappear without preventative treatment.  Since prolonged use of antibiotics is inappropriate consider using a natural remedy to prevent ear mites from relocating to your cat's ears.  Often, conventional medicine often just treats just the symptoms of a disorder.  Natural medicine strives to create a holistic balance in the body to relieve ailments and help prevent future disease.  



 

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