Ear Flap Problems in Cats
Swollen Pinna continued...
A hematoma is a blood clot under the skin of the pinna. It, too, can be
caused by trauma or by violent head shaking and scratching at the ear. Look for
an itchy ear disorder, such as ear mites, or an infection
involving the ear canal-which should be treated along with the hematoma.
Treatment: Blood should be expressed from a hematoma by a veterinarian, to
prevent scarring and deformity of the ear when the clot retracts. Removing it
with a needle and syringe usually is not effective, because serum accumulates
in the pocket formerly occupied by the blood clot and the pocket fills again.
Surgery, the treatment of choice, involves removing a window of skin to provide
open and continuous drainage. A drain may be placed through the area. Sutures
are then made through both sides of the ear to pull the skin down and eliminate
the pocket. Expect your cat to need to wear a BiteNot collar or an Elizabethan
collar to prevent her from pawing at the ear.
Allergies are typified by
itching and skin redness without drainage. Both food allergies and atopy
(inhaled allergies) may first present as an otitis. They can affect the skin of
the ear canals as well as the pinna. An allergic ear problem can closely
resemble a yeast infection or may have a yeast infection secondary to an
allergy, so check with your veterinarian before applying any medication at
Treatment: An allergic reaction is best treated with a 1 percent
hydrocortisone cream, such as Cortaid. Because of the intense itching, the cat
may traumatize her ears and set the stage for a secondary bacterial
Head mange is caused by the head
mite called Notoedres cati, which lives on the skin about the head and ears of
cats. Itching is the predominant sign. Clean ear canals help distinguish this
condition from an ear mite infection caused by Otodectes cynotis.
Fleas frequently feed on the skin of the pinna. You may
be able to see the actual fleas on the ears or elsewhere on the body, or you
may see only black, crumbly crusts of dried blood.