Have you noticed your cat itching his ears constantly? Although cats are masters at covering illness, when something’s going on with their ears, they make it quite obvious. The September 2013 of Catnip Magazine offers some possible causes and solutions for itchy ears in cats:
- Food allergy. If your cat is allergic to his current food, it may be necessary to switch to a limited ingredient formula with novel proteins such as duck, rabbit or venison. Many cats develop allergies to chicken or beef, and the allergy can manifest itself with itchy ears. Try the new diet for 6-8 weeks and watch for signs of improvement.
- Environmental allergy. Some cats develop allergies to pollen, mold or even dust mites. Your veterinarian can perform an allergy test to find the exact triggers for your cat. Treatment may include prescription drugs, or if the condition is temporary, there are some over-the-counter medications that will provide relief. Check with your veterinarian for dosages and safe meds before using any over-the-counter medications.
- Polyps. These are benign growths that may be caused by chronic inflammation or ear infections. If they’re small, prescription ear drops can often take care of the problem. If larger, the growths can be surgically removed by your veterinarian.
- Bacterial or yeast infections. These infections can usually be cleared by applying antibiotic eardrops as prescribed by your veterinarian.
- Ear Mites. Cats that have been in shelters, or are strays often have ear mites. Once infected, cats often develop an allergy to the mites, causing the extreme itchiness. Often, the ear canals will have a secretion that looks very similar to coffee grounds. The treatment is quite easy. For adults cats and those over 3 months old, a prescription medication called Revolution applied every four weeks clears the problem. Since the mites can be passed easily between cats, if you have more than one cat at home, all must be treated.
Regardless of the cause for itchy ears in cats, don’t use cotton swabs in an attempt to clean their ears. The swabs can damage cat’s ears if inserted too far into the ear canal.
To find the cause of your cat’s ear problem, check with your veterinarian to determine the best treatment option.