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Cat ear problem

Problem in Cat's Ear:

Cats’ ears are among their most highly developed and sensitive organs, and ear problems can therefore seriously interfere with a cat’s health and ability to function normally.

Ear problems in cats are numerous, ranging from minor injuries to major ones and from mild infections to serious conditions affecting hearing and balance. If you are a cat owner, it is extremely important that you are aware of common cat ear problems, so that you can take prompt action.

Like the human ear, the cat ear consists of three parts, and what you can actually see is mainly only the external ear and a tiny bit of the middle ear.

Most of the middle ear and all of the inner ear are hidden from view, and usually from disease and injury too. As a result, most cat ear problems involve the outer ear. These include various types of mange and dermatitis.

Solar dermatitis is the most common type of dermatitis, and is the result of excessive exposure to sunlight in cats with very pale colored fur on the ears. Initially, the only signs may be loss of fur and scaling, but lesions may later develop, and the condition may get serious. Solar dermatitis can eventually lead to cat ear cancer, and it is therefore very important to minimize the cat’s exposure to sunlight. Sarcoptic mange, on the other hand, tends to have similar but milder symptoms, and is relatively harmless, although the itching can be extremely uncomfortable.

If your cat roams around freely, there is a high likelihood of fights and therefore frequent injuries to the ears. The risk of infection is quite high here, and it is therefore advisable to get veterinary attention at the earliest sign of cat ear infection.

Possibly the most frequent cat ear problem however is a parasitic condition that causes otitis, which is essentially inflammation of the outer ear. Cat ear fungus and bacteria can also cause otitis, but this type of inflammation is the most common. The parasite responsible is a mange mite known as Otodectes cynotis, and it is extremely difficult to get rid of. It takes a lot of regular work to treat this condition, and the procedure requires a lot of delicacy and expertise. It is therefore advisable to get your veterinarian to teach you how to clean your cat’s ears of these mites, and only then attempt it yourself. Most owners prefer to leave it entirely up to the vet, and return regularly for treatment.

  Submitted on May 7, 2010  

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