Many “cat owners” are quite loyal to the fact that their cat constantly scratches their ears. In principle, this approach does not lead to anything good, because otodectosis, that is, an ear tick, can contribute to numerous problems. For example, cause cat ear inflammation.
In a scientific way, this pathology is called otitis media. The inflammatory process can capture the outer, middle or inner ear. Of course, when only the auricle is affected, there is no need to talk about complete otitis media, but the infection from it may well go further into the very depth of the ear canal. Otitis is chronic and acute. The causes of this disease are manifold:
- Allergies, including foodborne.
- Ear mites.
- Bacteria, yeast and fungi.
- Foreign bodies (grass stubble, burdock, etc.).
We will deal with some reasons in more detail. Perhaps the inflammation of the middle ear in cats is most often caused precisely by the activity of ticks than by other predisposing factors. By themselves, these parasites are not particularly dangerous, but the products of their vital activity create an excellent environment for the growth and development of pathogenic microflora. In some animals, there is an increased sensitivity to ticks, and therefore they quickly begin a serious inflammation of the ear.
Pathogens, fungi, molds and yeasts are extremely dangerous. The ear of a healthy animal has a natural defense against all these dangers, but in cases where its environment changes dramatically (stress, ticks), the danger of otitis media increases significantly. For example, if Staphylococcus aureus enters the ear, purulent inflammation of the cat’s ear will occur.
Unfortunately, often even experts forget that a variety of hormonal pathologies can lead to problems with the ears. Today it is known for certain that corticosteroids, which are thoughtlessly used in the treatment of many diseases, can lead not only to otitis media, but also to various skin diseases (peeling, hair loss).
In very rare cases, otitis media causes some kind of hereditary disease. Sometimes eosinophilic granulomas are found in the inflamed auditory canal. They appear in those animals whose immune system loses its ability to function normally. Even melanomas that appear in the ear canal sometimes lead to the development of severe inflammation.
Symptoms and diagnosis
What are the symptoms of this disease? All of them are quite typical, and allow with a high degree of probability to assume the presence of the disease:
- A heavy, unpleasant and putrid odor emanates from the ears of the pet.
- The cat tears the ears in the blood, trying to "comb them to the holes."
- Exudate may leak from the ear canals, which also smells bad.
- The auricles can become very red and swell noticeably.
- The cat sits with the head "fixed" in one position all the time. As a rule, the animal sits all the time, tilting it to one shoulder. This is a very indicative symptom, since the ear on the side where the cat's head “tilted” is probably inflamed.
- If you try to touch the ears of your cat, then he will not show special delight, as this will cause him severe pain.
- Behavior can change greatly: your pet will become aggressive, irritable, or will constantly seek to climb into the farthest, secluded corner.
Since there are many potential causes of this disease, the main task of the veterinarian is to identify the main pathogenic factor. A visual examination of the ear is carried out, a study using an otoscope. So the presence of foreign bodies in the ear canal is detected. The smear collection is also important: their microscopy will help determine if your cat’s ears have developed a bacterial infection. A complete blood test and biochemical study is carried out, all the information is collected on the anamnesis.
Accordingly, the treatment of ear inflammation in cats will depend on the root cause identified by the specialist. To destroy bacteria, powerful broad-spectrum antibiotics are administered, fungicidal preparations destroy fungi. Glucocorticoids are often used in veterinary practice to relieve severe inflammatory reactions. In the case when the inflammatory process is one of the symptoms of serious hormonal pathologies, preparations may be prescribed to the animal that reduce the synthesis of hormones. Sometimes a problem can be solved only after surgical removal of the "problem" glands.
Inflammation of the outer ear in cats, often having a purely allergic etiology, can often be completely stopped using standard antihistamines. Corticosteroids are sometimes indicated that reduce the intensity of the inflammatory process. Regardless of the root cause of the disease, owners should subsequently keep their pet's ears clean and often remove accumulated dirt from them.
Cleanliness is the key to health
It is useful from time to time to "scrape" the excess sulfur accumulated there from the cat's ears. Before this, the base of the auricle should be massaged for several minutes, softening the formed plaque. Remove it with a cotton swab moistened with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Do not use ear sticks, as it is very easy to injure your pet’s ear with them!
Do not try to shove half a meter of cotton wool in your ear. Enough of a small piece, which simply erases the visible part of sulfur. Many cats during this process do their best to grab a piece from their owner. Do not think that it hurts: just a cat should get used to regular "executions", after which the procedure for cleaning the ears will be much calmer.
Thus, ear inflammation in cats can be prevented by simply taking care of their cleanliness. It is enough to remove excess sulfur approximately every two weeks, and also regularly check to see if any dirt has got into your cat’s ear.