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Caring for your cat’s ears

Thursday October 6th, 2011

Column_cat-ears
Listen up! Tips for keeping your cats ears healthy.

Grooming is essential to providing good care for your cat, and looking after your cat’s ears is an important part of that grooming routine.

Check Your Cat’s Ears Regularly

Make a habit of checking your cat’s ears regularly. A normal, healthy ear will be clean, dry and free of pain. The skin should be smooth, without any scabs, sores, or red areas.

Abnormalities that may be seen in your cat’s ears include:

  • redness or inflammation inside the ear canal
  • scabs or sores on or around the ears
  • a discharge and/or an odor from the ears
  • swelling in the ear

In addition, if your cat is scratching at his ears or neck frequently, holding his ears at an abnormal angle, or has pain in his ears, he may have ear disease. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for an examination as soon as possible.

Diseases of the Feline Ear

Ear mites are by far the most common disease of the feline ear. These are small insects that live inside of your cat’s ear and on his hair coat. Symptoms that your cat may have ear mites include a black or brown discharge in your cat’s ear that resembles coffee grounds, itchy ears, and scabs or sores surrounding your cat’s ears.

If you suspect that your cat has ear mites, a visit to your veterinarian is in order. There are numerous remedies that may be used to treat ear mites, and your veterinarian will help you determine which is most appropriate for your cat. Options include Revolution and Advantage Multi for cats. These monthly topical medications are frequently used to control fleas and heartworms in cats also. Acarexx is another option and is applied directly to your cat’s ears to kill the ear mites.

Often cleaning the ears is recommended to remove debris that may be irritating for your cat. Sometimes, medications to help sooth the inflammation in and around the ears is necessary as well.

Though ear mites are the most common type of ear disease, cats can suffer from other disease as well. Bacterial infections, foreign objects, tumors, polyps, and allergies are other diseases that can potentially cause ear issues for your cat.

Cleaning Your Cat’s Ears

In many cases, your cat’s ears will remain clean and need very little care. However, if you need to clean your cat’s ears, proper techniques are important to avoid injuring your cat’s ear drum.

Numerous ear cleaning solutions are available. Consult your veterinarian if you are unsure which type is best suited for your cat. Start by filling your cat’s ear canals with the ear cleaner and then massage the outside of the ears gently. Use a cotton ball to swab the ear cleaner and debris out of the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip type cotton swab in your cat’s ear canal. These types of tools can damage your cat’s ear canal if used improperly.

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