Pet Ear Infection

Addressing Ear Infections at Atlas Animal Hospital, your vet in Vancouver

The ears of animals are very sensitive and are prone to issues and infections just like humans are. At Atlas Animal Hospital we offer a full array of services to help get your pet’s ears free and clear of any infections that they could get. We can help diagnose and cure the issue. Finding out what’s bothering your pet is our #1 concern, that is why we are the number one choice of vets in Vancouver.

Ear Mites in Cats: The most common ear infections in cats are ear mites which account for more than fifty percent of cat ear infections. Ear mites are annoying, microscopic creatures that live in cats’ ears, causing a good deal of irritation. Infected cats may scratch their ears excessively or shake their heads frequently. If you notice your cat showing these symptoms, follow the steps below to get rid of the ear mites.

  • Identify the problem. The common cat ear mite or Otodectes cynotis is carried by many cats and usually presents little or no irritation. The mite becomes a problem when it causes otitis (ear inflammation) or otodectic mange, and once this starts being a problem, the mite infestation will cause your cat to scratch his ears a lot, lay his ears back, and shake his head. Look inside your cat’s ears; if he has ear mites, there will usually be a lot of dark dirt or brown crusty discharge. This is debris. You may also notice a foul smell coming from the ears. A cat that has suffered from ear mites for a long time can develop inflammatory polyps in their ear canals, and blood blisters on their ear flaps due to constant rubbing. In addition, the external ear may be inflamed and producing pus, or the cat may have a torn eardrum.
  • Take your cat to the vet. Once you’ve checked the ears and you suspect that your cat might have ear mites, see the vet. It is important that the vet confirms the presence of ear mites before you proceed with treatment. If the diagnosis is confirmed, your vet should clean out the ear. While you could do this at home, the ear is very delicate and can be very susceptible to damage. The vet will check to see whether live mites or mite eggs appear under the microscope.
  • If the condition is confirmed, take care. In the case that your cat’s infection is confirmed to be ear mites, do not let your pet walk among your other pets while infected. Check all your other pets for the presence of ear mites as a precaution. In a multi-cat or multi-pet household, take no chances. Tell your vet that there are other pets at home and seek advice.
  • If your vet did not clean out your cats ears or you notice some more buildup, take care of that first. Fill a small eye dropper with vegetable oil and roll it between your hands to warm the oil to body temperature to make the experience more pleasant for the cat. Drop a couple drops of oil into the ear and gently massage the ear. This should loosen the wax and dirt. Remove the gunk carefully from the ear with a cotton ball. Take care not to push any of the ear mites or wax further into the ear.
  • Give the cat any ear drops your vet may have prescribed regularly. You can get over-the-counter ear mite treatments, but prescribed treatments are often stronger. Hold your cat still in a comfortable position, with the head to the side if possible, leaving the infected ear exposed. It may be helpful to enlist the help of a family member to keep the cat still. Once you have applied the drops, gently massage the ear to ensure that the medication does not get shaken out when you release your cat.
  • Check the ear every few days. If you notice the problem begins to appear again, clean out the ear again using the method above and apply more ear mite treatment.After a few cycles of this, the problem should disappear. If it doesn’t, take your cat back to the vet.
  • Think outside the box. Check the rest of your cat, especially around the ears, for other ear mite infestations. Give your cat a thorough bath in order to wash off any ear mites in your cat’s fur.

Ear mite at 100 times magnification by Joel Mills and a Cat's ear fully infected

Ear mite at 100 times magnification by Joel Mills and a Cat’s ear fully infected

Other Causes of Feline Ear Infections or Feline Otitis: Many other causes of inflammation or infection that can affect your cat’s ears exist.

  • Bacterial Ear infections can occur in your cat’s ear and can cause both infection and otitis. Many different types of bacteria are capable of infecting the ear of the cat. Bacterial infections are likely to be secondary to another cause in most cats though.
  • Yeast Ear infections can also occur in your cat’s ears. Malassezia is the most commonly seen yeast infection and, like bacterial infections, yeast infections are most often secondary to another underlying cause.
  • Fungal Ear infections can affect your cat’s ears also, causing ear infections and inflammation.