Anyone who has developed an ear infection knows how painful and irritating the condition can be. Cats too can get ear infections. Cats can hear better than people and even better than dogs as they are extremely sensitive to sound.
Felines are not as prone to ear infection and problems as dogs. Unlike some breeds of dog with droopy floppy ears, cat have upright ears, which help to prevent bacterial, yeast and fungus from growing.
Ear Mites: Extremely contagious, ear mites are often passed from pet to pet by contact at home or outdoors.
The most common type of ear mites in cats is Otodectes cynotis. These very tiny parasites feed on the wax and oils in a cat’s ear canal. Ear mites are not easily detected by the naked eye. An individual mite has an approximately three-week life cycle. These ear mites can infect the external and internal canal, and lead to more serious skin or ear infections if left untreated, they cause inflammation and irritation. Infection usually produces a characteristic dark discharge that looks like coffee grinds. Ear mites are much more common in cats than dogs, and are responsible for more than 50 percent of all feline ear infections.
- Inflammation of the ear
- Excessive scratching and rubbing of ears
- Head shaking
- Black or brown waxy secretion
- Hair loss and dermatitis
- Strong odor
- Obstruction of ear canal with coffee ground-like debris
- Scratches or scabs near ear
Otitis Externa: Infection of the outer ear canal is known as Otitis Externa. Cats occasionally maybe be affected by this ailment. The inflammation of the external ear cannel triggers the condition. The inflammation can be caused by microorganisms such bacteria, yeast, parasite, mites, allergies (food), and grass seeds. It can also be due to other ailments such as autoimmune disease, hypersesentive diseases, skin disorders and hypothyroidism.
Otitis Media: Infection and inflammation of the eardrum and middle ear. The cause is frequently due an infection in the outer ear (otitis externa). The signs and symptoms are similar, however this condition is more painful. Sings of imbalance difficult jumping and walking along the symptoms listed below could indicate a middle ear problem.
- scratching or pawing at the ear
- shaking or tilting the head in the direction of the painful ear
- black or yellowish discharge
- redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal
- waxy buildup on, or near, the ear canal
- discharge that resembles coffee grounds
- strong odor
- hearing loss
- loss of balance
Ear infections can become chronic and lead to deafness and facial paralysis, therefore it is important to seek treatment as soon as you notice symptoms.