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    Ear Infections in Cats: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

    How Are Ear Infections in Cats Treated?

    If your vet determines that your cat has ear mites or a yeast or bacterial infection, she’ll treat it with anti-parasitics, antifungals, or antibiotics, as appropriate. These all come in ointment or eardrop form.

    If the eardrum is fine but infection has reached the middle ear, the vet may prescribe oral or injectable antibiotics.

    To begin treatment, your vet might clip the fur around the cat’s ear canal to help the cleaning and drying of the ear canal.

    At home, you can continue checking your cat’s ear to see if the inside of the pinna -- the part of the ear that projects out from the cat's head -- is pink and clear. If ear drops have been prescribed, gently lift the ear flap and squeeze out the solution into the ear canal. Gently massage the base of the ear to help the medicine work its way into the ear canal.

    If your cat has chronic ear infections, the vet may prescribe a medication to help reduce the swelling of tissue in the ear canal. Sometimes, surgery is needed to remove swollen tissue that has narrowed or closed the ear canal.

    Are Certain Cats More Susceptible to Ear Infection?

    Cats with diabetes, allergies, or a weak immune system are more susceptible to ear infections.

    Can Ear Infections in Cats Be Prevented?

    The best way to prevent another painful ear infection is to routinely check the ear to make sure there’s no redness, residue, or odor. Healthy ears are pale pink and have no visible debris or odor and minimal or no ear wax. It is best for the veterinarian to show you how to clean your cat's ear or to do it himself or herself. Never insert a cleaning device into the ear canal itself.

    WebMD Veterinary Reference

    Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on September 15, 2014
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