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What is Inflammation of the Ear?

Your cat's ears not only help him hear, but aid in his balance and coordination. However, there are a variety of medical conditions that can affect the health of his ears. If your cat suddenly has trouble standing or walking he may suffer from a condition that causes inflammation in his ear canal. Certain conditions can also cause his outer ear to become swollen and inflamed, as well. If your cat has symptoms associated with ear inflammation, have him evaluated by his veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Inflammation of the Ear Average Cost

From 585 quotes ranging from $200 - $350

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Inflammation of the Ear in Cats

Some of the most common symptoms seen in cats with ear inflammation include:

  • Pain in the ears
  • Shaking the head
  • Ear scratching
  • Swelling of the outer rim of the ear
  • Scaly skin in the ear
  • Tilting the head
  • Foul odor
  • Vomiting
  • Lack Of Coordination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Circling
  • Falling over to one side
  • Drooping of the face
  • Large amounts of foul smelling wax in the ear
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Causes of Inflammation of the Ear in Cats

While there are many things that can cause pain, irritation, and swelling of your cat's ears some are more common than others. The following is a list of the most common causes of ear problems diagnosed by veterinarians:

Ear Mites

Ear mites located in the external ear can cause swelling of the ear canal in cats. If mites are present, cats will scratch at their ears and shake their head, leading to or worsening inflammation.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections of the ears can be caused by a foreign body in your cat's ear or mites. Certain types of trauma can also lead to the development of infection. 

Yeast Infections

Fungal yeast infections are also common in domestic cats. These infections may cause the ear canal to be swollen and pus may also be present. Fungal yeast infections can also cause a foul odor in your cat's ear. 

Vestibular Syndrome

This condition affects the inner ear, where balance and coordination are controlled. Vestibular syndrome can cause ear inflammation, but it can usually be resolved in just a few weeks with medication. Vestibular syndromes can be alarming when the symptoms suddenly appear. If your cat develops this condition, he may have trouble walking or even standing up without falling over. 

Polyps, Cysts, or Tumors

Tumors, cysts, or polyps in your cat's ear may cause inflammation and a feeling of fullness or uncomfortable swelling. These growths are more common in older cats and can be benign or malignant, so should be investigated by your veterinarian for an evaluation and diagnosis. 

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Diagnosis of Inflammation of the Ear in Cats

Your veterinarian will begin to diagnose your cat's ear problem by asking you some questions regarding his health. It is important to include any information that may help your doctor such as how long symptoms have been present and if your cat has been diagnosed with any medical conditions by another doctor. After taking a medical history, your doctor will take your cat's vital signs and record them. He will examine your cat, checking his ears and reflexes. Most doctors draw blood and collect a urine sample to look for signs of infection in your cat. Diagnostic tests such as X-rays or an MRI may be performed to confirm a diagnosis. If your cat has a tumor or polyps in his ear, your doctor may do a biopsy for analysis.

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Treatment of Inflammation of the Ear in Cats

Treatment for ear inflammation depends on the cause of the condition. Many ear infections can be treated with antibiotics. Ear washes may also be prescribed to keep the ears clean. Topical treatments may be ordered for cats with fungal yeast infections. 

Ear mites can be treated with cleansing products for the ear and medications such as ivermectin. Cats diagnosed with tumors in the ear may need surgery to remove them. If your cat has a vestibular syndrome causing his symptoms, he may receive medication and IV fluids to stabilize him if necessary. This condition is often very difficult to treat.

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Recovery of Inflammation of the Ear in Cats

Infections and ear mites are fairly easy conditions to treat in cats. Your cat should be feeling better just a few days after starting antibiotics. It is important to continue using a prescribed ear wash to keep the ears clean. Cats that have surgery to remove tumors will stay in the hospital for a few days. If your cat has a vestibular syndrome, your doctor may advise you to keep him on cage rest until his symptoms subside.

Your doctor will want to recheck your cat in a few weeks to be sure he is improving. Be sure to tell him if your cat has a change in his condition or his symptoms worsen.

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Inflammation of the Ear Average Cost

From 585 quotes ranging from $200 - $350

Average Cost

$250

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Inflammation of the Ear Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Kathmandu

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Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

13 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Pain
Ear Crust
Itching

My cat is 13 years old and has suffered from ear infections on and off for most of his life. For the past year or so, he has had dark black, crusty ear wax building up in his right ear. I have to clean it daily and I actually thought it was evidence of mites for awhile, so I incorrectly gave him over the counter mite meds. That didn't seem to work. Can you recommend an ear wash that will reduce the inflammation, soothe the itchiness/pain, and prevent or reduce the excessive black ear wax?

June 20, 2018

Kathmandu's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Most ear infections, whether they are bacterial or fungall in nature, need antibiotic topical medications to resolve. Some chronic ear infections can become resistant to common antibiotics, and a culture is sometimes needed to identify the bacteria. It would be best to have Kathmandu seen by a veterinarian so that they can treat the infection.

June 21, 2018

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Benny

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mixed

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Ulcers On One Side Of His Mouth

My cat has what looks like ulcers in his mouth. He still has an appetite to eat. But hes lost a little bit of weight and he is shedding a lot of hair. What should I do to help my cat?

June 19, 2018

Benny's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Benny may have a viral disease, or a dental or systemic problem. If the ulcers are affecting him in that he is losing weight, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian. They can look at his mouth, determine what might be going on with him and what is causing those ulcers, and get any treatment for him that he may need.

June 19, 2018

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Dragon

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Feline

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking Head
Scratching At Ears
Ears Sensitive To Touch

My cat 11 1/2 year old male cat, Dragon has had chronic yeast & bacteria infections in his ears & they always seem to come back no matter how well I treat & care for his ears. I rescued him 1year & 9mo ago & have taken him to the vet many times for this & the vet gives him Tri-Otic Ointment to treat ears with & wash to use as well. The infections seem to get better during & immediately after treatment but he seems to be bothered by one or both ears within a couple weeks. Im taking him back in to the vet again tomorrow for a 1 week follow up because his last appointment(1 week ago) there was actually no yeast or bacteria the vet could see under the scope & she was able to get a bit of gunk out to check. She said overall, his ears looked great & would never thought anything was wrong if we hadn't told her. She had us not use anything in his ear for a week in hopes they will find something there. He has been showing the signs of yet another infection. He does have FIV & Im wondering if its due to that. Or is there other things that may be going on that the vet hasn't thought of? Within the last couple months he had an apparent UTI & was urinating very little & posturing other places than the litter box, meowing more than normal & constantly trying to use the litter box. I took him in & he was not diagnosed with a UTI but they treated him as if he had one & said cats can get an angry bladder. He is better after antibiotics, etc. I started wondering if this happens due to the FIV compromising his immune system. I have had Multiple Sclerosis for 18 years and my immune system is also compromised & I have chronic UTI's & sinus infections, etc. (Also my cognitive skills are impaired, so I apologize if this isn't cohesive.) Any ideas of what it is would be much appreciated. Thanks.

May 8, 2018

Dragon's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Feline Leukemia and FIV viruses do suppress the immune system and can cause chronic infections. If Dragon hasn't been tested for this disease, it would be a good idea. He may also have ears that are anatomically predisposed to infection, with small canals or other abnormalities. I hope that you are able to keep him healthy.

May 8, 2018

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Niko

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Dlh

dog-age-icon

3 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Ear Mites
Ear Mites, Loss Of Appetite

Hi, I have recently adopted a cat name Niko. She is 3mo old on the 20th March. Last week, she was having a pasty poop, brought her to vet, diagnosed with worm. She took her medicine for one week, and during the one week, her appetite improved and her poop is also good. Then 3 days ago, she was so down, not playing at all and eat very little. I brought her to the vet again, diagnosed with parasites inside her ear. She lost her appetite and almost not eating at all unless I feed her with treats. She got Pomisol for her ear and has been using it for 3 days now. Her poop is normal until today, she did not poop.. Please advise if this is normal condition for a kitten who has ear parasites?

March 22, 2018

Niko's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Ear infections may cause pain for a cat whilst eating and may also cause issues with balance which in turn may cause a loss of appetite, you should keep an eye on Niko for the time being but the Pomisol (ofloxacin, clotrimazole, betamethasone dipropionate and lignocaine hydrochloride) is more for bacterial or fungal infections and not for parasite infections; you should check with your Veterinarian regarding diagnosis and treatment. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 22, 2018

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Wilin

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Cat

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4 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking
Ear Swelling

I just got home and my cats ear is so swollen that he can barely hold his head up and when he does he shakes his head and cries because he is in so much pain. He is 3&1/2 yrs old and I've never seen him like this what can I do to sooth his pain until I can get him to a vet?

March 10, 2018

Wilin's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, there probably isn't anything that you can do for him at home. Most OTC pain medications are quite toxic to cats. It would be best to get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible to have him assessed and have any treatment for him that he might need. I hope that he is okay.

March 10, 2018

Poor kitty, I hope you were able to get your cat in & figure out what it was.

May 8, 2018

Adria

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Lottie

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tabby

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Decreased Appetite
Head Shaking.
Ear Scratching.

Hi, My 10yo cat has a chronic otitis for a few weeks now and is currently on cortisone as the ear drops did not clear it up. The cortisone doesn't appear to be working either. She doesn't have ear mites or a polyp. She is also off her food too. I'm wondering if a food allergy could cause the infection. Also do steroids work on their own or should the infection be being treated topically as well?

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Apollo

dog-breed-icon

Snowshoe

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

My only indoor 8.5yr old snowshoe cat developed redness to both his ear flaps. The left one looked worse than the right. He was vigorously scratching at his ears. We took him to the vet the next day and the vet swabbed him. Said he has a very bad ear infection, no mites. The left one had so many bacterial cells she couldn’t count them. They washed out his ears at the vet and prescribed antibiotic drops called Tresaderm 6 drops, twice daily for 14 days. We just completed the 5th dose now. He’s shaking his head throughout the day now, he wasnt doing that before just scratching. What could of caused him to develop the infection in the first place? He’s never had one before. He is the only pet in the house. We changed his litter box to a new one. We are very clean at the house just my husband and I. We are just dumbfounded how it happened. He was fine one day, then the next had the redness to the ear and scratching.

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Aspen

dog-breed-icon

Tabby mix

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite
Tired

One of our cats has cronic yeast infections in her ears. The past few times we've done medication for her she's had no side effects and has been back to normal in a few days. On Friday she was diagnosed again with a yeast infection in both ears. We went back into the vet and they prescribed a different topical medication. For the first 3 days she did fine but she's been obsessively grooming since we started the medication. Last night she threw up seven different times, starting with food colored vomit and ending with stomach bile. She vomited again twice this morning and now is not eating or drinking just sleeping hidden in a closet. We thought maybe she was trying to pass a hairball at first but now we are concerned that it could be related to the ear infection or topical medication. It's currently new years day so we can't even call the vet to schedule an appointment and we are just very worried about her. She's always been a lazy cat but never like this. Is there a possibility that the medication is making her sick?

Inflammation of the Ear Average Cost

From 585 quotes ranging from $200 - $350

Average Cost

$250

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