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Healthy Cats

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Ear Discharge in Cats

Cat Ear Problems: Common Treatments

The only way to truly know what’s troubling your cat is to take her to the vet for an examination. Depending on what your veterinarian finds, treatment for your cat’s ear discharge might include:

  • Treating cat ear mites . Ear mites can thrive inside your cat’s ear, munching on ear wax and skin oils. Your veterinarian will probably diagnose an ear mite infection by checking a sample of your cat’s ear wax under a microscope. Treatment for ear mites generally includes a good ear cleaning and topical prescription medication. For uncooperative cats, injectable medication is also available.

Ear mites can be very contagious among pets, so if you discover your cat has them, you may want to get the rest of your household’s four-legged friends checked by a vet, too. Chances are good your entire pet household will need ear mite treatment or an infestation may easily recur.

  • Treating cat ear infections . How you treat a cat’s ear infection depends on what’s causing the infection. To make things more complicated, sometimes your cat may have more than one type of infection in her ears.

After examining your cat and possibly sending a swab out to a lab for analysis, your veterinarian may prescribe a range of treatments for your cat’s ear infection, including antibiotics, antifungal medication, anti-inflammatories, or immunotherapy.

  • Treating other ear problems . Treatment options for other problems that may lead to ear discharge -- such as allergies, polyps, or drug reactions -- is wide-ranging and may include supplements, drops, immunotherapy shots, a change to their food or medications, or surgery.

Preventing Cat Ear Problems

To help your cat’s ears stay perky and pest-free, check inside her ears regularly for signs of wax buildup, inflammation, or odor. If you notice a problem, it’s time to talk to your veterinarian.

Cat’s ears are expressive, beautiful -- and very fragile. To avoid damaging the ear drum or packing wax deep into the ear, never insert anything into your cat’s ears or use over-the-counter medication unless your vet has shown you the proper way to do so.

It’s easy to interpret a cat’s ear discharge as mites when it’s something else, or to leave a mild infection untreated until it becomes serious or chronic. Don’t leave your cat’s comfort to guesswork -- always talk to your vet when you suspect ear problems.

WebMD Veterinary Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on May 25, 2014
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