Cats may suffer outer ear infections with some frequency. They cause inflammation, acute or chronic, of the outer ear canal.
This type of infection may be the cause of up to 25% of dermatological consultations in veterinary practices, which gives you an idea of its importance.
There are predisposing factors for this condition, such as a damp environment, insufficient grooming and the structure of the pet’s ear (its position, shape, and the amount of hair in it). The causing agents are parasites, allergic problems and foreign objects.
Proper diagnosis requires an exploration that includes a general examination of the skin and an inspection of the ear. It may be necessary to study the wax and the discharge. If there are aggravating factors, such as ulcers, inflammation of the middle ear or other infections, the infection will be more difficult to cure.
The treatment of outer ear infections must be rigorous, since on many occasions complications appear or they become chronic due to self-medication applied by the owner, or because of incomplete diagnosis. You should keep in mind that if the treatment is not applied strictly, the problem could continue for a time and complicate recovery.
Many times, medication must be complemented with handling guidelines to avoid injuries to the ear flap due to scratching. These often include using an Elizabethan collar. Many owners do not consider them necessary for their cats, but they help resolve the problem as they avoid injuries and secondary infections due to scratching, as well as bruises that in many occasions need surgery.
Surgery for outer ear infections is only used when there are tumours involved or when the infection is chronic and cannot be cured using medical treatments. This type of surgery is usually very radical, since it tends to eliminate the external ear canal.
If you notice an increase in ear discharge, bad smell, head shaking, ear scratching or rubbing against objects, take your cat to your usual veterinary practice as soon as possible.
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Colegio Oficial de Veterinarios de Alicante
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