Does your cat regularly scratch its ear?
Do you think his ears are particularly dirty?
Does your pet shake its head in an unusual way?
Do you think his behavior is abnormal?
Your cat may be suffering from an ear infection. It is a pathology that is particularly common in cats (as well as dogs), and it is necessary to administer treatment as soon as possible in order to cure it! This will help prevent complications and relieve your pet’s pain.
Otitis, what is it?
Otitis is characterized by ear inflammation. In cats, we are more inclined to speak of otitis in the plural, since it is a syndrome with generally the same symptoms, but the causes can be very diverse. In cats, otitis is a rare disease which represents less than 5% of the causes of veterinary consultation.
Cat ears consist of three parts:
✔ The outer ear
It consists of the auricle and the auditory canal. The latter is bent: it has a vertical section, then a horizontal section, leading to the tympanic membrane.
✔ The middle ear
It is made up of three small bones: the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup. These transmit sound to the inner ear.
✔ The inner ear
It is formed by the membrane labyrinth, the bony labyrinth which surrounds the cochlea (the auditory organ) as well as the organ of balance.
How does a cat get an ear infection?
Cats can get an ear infection from a number of factors. But the most common fall into several categories.
Parasites thrive in the ear canal. The most common are fungi and mites. They are also often responsible for ear mites.
They are present naturally, but too much abnormal development can cause ear infections. They multiply in the ear canal and cause the production of pus. In particular “staphylococcus” and “pseudomonas”.
✔ Foreign bodies
Certain objects can accidentally get into the ear canal, such as small dry grass, pieces of wood, etc. The cat cannot dislodge it, causing them some damage. Indeed, these foreign bodies descend into the auditory canal, cause severe inflammation and can even go so far as to perforate the eardrum.
✔ The allergies
Whether related to food, dust or pollen, allergies are among the factors that can, among other manifestations, cause ear infections. There are other causes that can trigger ear infections in cats, such as irritations, tumors or polyps.
What are the symptoms of otitis in cats?
Ear infections are mild at first, but without proper treatment they will develop as their severity increases. otitis can evolve to destruction of the eardrum, then will enter the chronic phase, which can damage adjacent bones or nerve components. The prognosis can therefore become very serious.
It is therefore important to spot the signs and symptoms of an ear infection. Here is how to recognize an ear infection in cats:
✔ he frequently shakes his head;
✔ scratches his ears violently with his hind legs;
✔ lesions of the pinna due to scratching;
✔ there is an abundance of earwax (brown colored secretion);
✔ a bad odor may be released;
✔ he tilts his head towards the diseased ear.
As soon as the appearance of one or more of these symptoms is noticed, it is essential to take the animal to the veterinarian for a thorough consultation. Determining the origin of the otitis will allow the cat to benefit from appropriate treatment and monitoring.
How to treat otitis in cats?
In order to stop the development of otitis in cats as quickly as possible, medical care is necessary from the first symptoms. Indeed, having the animal’s ear examined using an otoscope by a veterinarian makes it possible to identify the cause of otitis in order to have an appropriate treatment.
At first, local treatment is prescribed. This consists of cleaning the ear with an auricular cleansing lotion as well as the local application of medication in the form of a gel, drops or even a spray inside the ear canal.
If the otitis persists and the first treatment is not sufficient, it is sometimes useful to give general medication in the form of tablets (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, etc.).
In rare cases, surgery may be offered. This usually happens when the animal suffers from tumors or polyps.
WARNING : self-medication is not advised. Indeed, some treatments are contraindicated when the eardrum is pierced. If your cat shows signs of otitis, it is essential to consult a veterinarian.
Actions to adopt
It is never pleasant to see your cat or any other animal suffer. Thus, to avoid ear infections, it is strongly advised to monitor your cat’s ears and by doing a good regular cleaning with a specific cleaning lotion.
For cats with a lot of hair at the entrance to the ear canal, the ears should be waxed. Some groomers do. If the animal happens to have water in the ears, it is then necessary to wipe the interior well in order to prevent constant humidity from remaining in the auditory canal.
The master is the first person likely to discover the first symptoms of a otitis. It is therefore essential to carefully observe any unusual behavior of the cat and not to hesitate to examine it during its grooming or during playtime with him.
As you may have understood, untreated otitis can very quickly become chronic and lead to a veritable vicious circle. Indeed, in the long term, otitis can lead to a narrowing of the ear canal. This narrowing can subsequently promote the appearance of new ear infections. In case of doubt, and in order to limit all these complications, consult your veterinarian without hesitation.