What do I do about cat ear infections?

Cat can get ear infections from a number of different sources. In cats, they are less common than in dogs, but the  main source is feline ear mites. They can also get them as a result of injuries (the tissue around the ear is soft and easily damaged), drugs, diseases that interfere with the immune system such as feline AIDS, tumors, diabetes, and allergies.


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What are the symptoms?

Your cat will visibly be uncomfortable with its ears. This means shaking its head repeatedly, scratching the ears over and over, or pawing at the ears. You may see swelling of the ears. Usually there is also cat ear discharge coming out - this is different from the normal, light brown ear wax. It may be black or red, or it may be pus (light green or yellow and "runny" - less solid than ear wax).

Your vet will need to diagnose the specific cause of the ear infection, because in many cases it is a secondary symptom to something else. This is done by taking a swab from the ear or a sample of the discharge and testing to see what the infection is.

What is the remedy?

This really depends on the cause. There aren't any home remedies you can do - an ear infection is bacterial or viral in nature and it needs either antibiotics or other drugs. Treatment in cats will usually use one of these, depending on the cause, and also involves treatment of any other underlying causes for the infection. Most of the time this will be ear mites, and that means getting medicine to kill them as well. Your vet will probably advise you to clean your cat's ears on a regular basis, as sometimes wax and other stuff builds up in there and causes or aggravates infections.

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