What are ear infections?
There are different types of ear infections. The most common types are infections of the external ear canal and infections of the middle ear. If left untreated, ear infections can lead to more serious problems such as loss of hearing and neurological problems. If a middle ear infection develops, facial paralysis may also occur. However, with prompt treatment ear infections can be treated successfully.
Ear infections in cats can be caused by a variety of factors but most are caused by bacteria or yeast. Earwax, debris or parasites can become trapped in the cat’s ear and can also lead to an ear infection as can improper cleaning. Not all cats are affected equally by the condition. Persian breeds are more susceptible to these infections than ordinary moggies.
Cats with ear infection may display any of the following symptoms:
- shaking the head or holding it to one side
- scratching or pawing at the ears
- pain in the ear
- rubbing ears against furniture or carpet
- yellow, brown or black discharge in the ears
- red, inflamed or tender ears
- foul odour coming from the ears
Treatment for cat ear infection
Like for humans ear infections in cats need to be properly diagnosed. Treatment will largely depend on the underlying cause and the severity of the infection. Underlying conditions such as allergies, tumors or polyps may bring about ear infections but can be controlled with immediate treatment.
Take your cat to the vet and get a diagnosis. Your vet will examine the ear canal and determine whether the eardrum is intact. A ruptured eardrum or one filled with fluid points to a middle and inner ear infection. Your vet will also determine the cause of the infection.
Conventional medications to treat the symptoms include antibiotics or antifungal drugs. In more severe cases, surgical procedures may be necessary.
Home remedies for cats can bring relief from the symptoms and help maintain ear health. Herbs like rosemary, marigold and mullein have been proven to be beneficial in the treatment of ear infections. They can help to keep the ear clean and soothe any itching.
Whatever medication you use, daily cleaning your cat’s ears for at least one week is a must. Use a cotton ball rather than Q-tips to avoid damage to the inner ear. Also avoid cleaning solutions that contain fragrances and dyes as these can be an irritating. Use an alcohol-free and non-toxic solutions instead. Diluted tea tree oil is a good option.
If the infection is caused by ear mites, follow the procedures outlined in Home Remedies for Cats with Ear Mites. For cankers use one of the treatments described in Home Remedies for Cats with Cankers.