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Ear infections (Otitis externa) in cats

Otitis is commonly known as inflammation of the ear. Here you can read about symptoms, treatment and how you can prevent otitis in cats.
Ear infections (Otitis externa) in cats

Ear infections are most often caused by ear mange and are more common in younger cats than older ones. Cats can also get inflammation from bacteria, fungi or neoplasms.

Symptoms of ear infections in cats

  • Itching in the ear which causes the cat to scratch a lot in and around the ears
  • Red and irritated in the ear
  • Keeps head tilted
  • Visible black/brown wax in the ears
  • Bad smell from the affected ear
  • Head shaking

Different types of ear infections

There are 3 types of otitis depending on location; otitis external, media or internal. 

How to treat ear infections in cats

In case of suspected otitis externa, the vet will inspect your cat's ear canal. They often take a sample from the ear and look at it under a microscope, so-called ear cytology. Depending on what is found, treatment is instituted, which also often includes daily cleaning.

Look, smell and clean for prevention

Look straight down into the cat's ear for dirt, smell in the ears and look for any liquid in the ear. Cleaning your cat's ears when necessary can be preventive against ear infections. But remember not to overdo the cleaning as it can have the opposite effect.

How to clean your cat's ears - step by step

  • Wipe the cat's outer ear with a cotton ball if necessary
  • If there is dirt inside the ear - use ear cleaner
  • Fill the ear with ear cleaner and massage the ear
  • Use a cotton swab to wipe the ear clean. Never use cotton buds!
  • The amount of secretions found should decrease with each cleaning.

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