Cat Ear Infection Diagnosis

Cat ear infections are fairly easy to detect. However, the underlying cause of infection has to be diagnosed before the vet prescribes medication. Several pet owners prefer to use over the counter medication for prompt relief from ear infections. This medication may not be ideal for all pets and it's best to conduct a vet check to prevent severe damage to the cat's inner ear.

Cat Ear Infections

Ear infection is known as otitis. Cats may suffer infections of the outer ear known as otitis externa or infections to the middle ear known as otitis media. Middle ear infections should be treated promptly to prevent permanent damage to the ear drum.

Symptoms of Cat Ear Infection

  • Red inflamed ears
  • Excess wax build up
  • Foul smelling ears
  • Ear discharge
  • Cat scratches the ear frequently
  • Shaking head
  • Tilting head from side to side

Diagnosing a Feline Ear Infection

After enquiring about various physical symptoms exhibited by the pet, the vet will use an otoscope to physically examine the inner ear canal. A healthy pet's ears are light pink in color with minimal wax accumulation. The vet will be able to detect redness or inflammation present in the canal which is a strong indicator of infection. Pets that are in pain due to the ear infection may require sedation during the physical examination. The vet will also check for the presence of foreign objects lodged in the ear canal. Another known diagnostic test is called cytology. It involves the microscopic examination of ear discharge or fluid to determine yeast, bacteria or mite infections.

Causes of Feline Ear Infections

  • Yeast Infections
  • Mite infections
  • Allergies
  • Foreign objects
  • Yeast Infections

Cat's ears generally contain a small amount of bacteria or yeast due to the moisture present in the canal. When the bacteria of yeast multiply, it causes ear infection and inflammation.

Mite Infections

Ear mites are small insects that thrive on ear tissues and wax. They are capable of quickly multiply and leaving pet ears sore and itchy. Feline ear mites are the most common cause of ear infection in pets.


Since cats are very sensitive to environmental toxins, their skin often reacts to allergens. Cats suffering from allergies may have increased ear temperatures that make it conducive for yeast or bacteria to thrive.

Foreign Objects

Sometimes certain foreign objects get lodged in the pet's ear canal causing pain and irritation. The vet will have to physically remove the foreign objects after careful physical examination of the ear canal. Sedation may also be necessary to reduce discomfort.

Feline Ear Infection Treatment

Although several ear cleansing solutions are ideal to keep pet ears clean, it's best to obtain a prescribed ear solution suited to your pet. Along with periodic ear cleaning, antibiotic medication may be prescribed to treat the inflammation and kill yeast and bacteria. Several pet owners also prefer to use herbal or home remedies that are safe for the ear. Although herbal medication may be safe, it's important to discuss treatment options with the vet before staring or discontinuing any medication.

Feline ear infections are common and easily curable. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is necessary for speedy recovery.