Cat Ear Polyps

Cat ear polyps theoretically have no known cause, although there are some theories that suggest they can develop while a cat is still living and developing in the womb. Other theories point the cause at excessive bacterial and fungal build up in the inner canals of the ear. 

While the cause of cat ear polyps cannot really be pinpointed, it is known that they most commonly occur in cats between the ages of 1 and 5 and there is no breed or gender predisposition. But perhaps the most important thing for cat owners to know about cat ear polyps is that they can lead to complete deafness if they are allowed to progress and are not treated promptly.

Signs of Cat Ear Polyps

The best way to make sure that a cat gets quick and adequate treatment is to be aware of the symptoms of the condition. Cat ear polyps are unique in that they can mimic simple ear infections initially; but as they progress, the symptoms will become more pronounced and a cat may start to experience some other symptoms not characteristic of a normal ear infection.

Some of the symptoms to look for regarding cat ear polyps include:

In a more severe case of cat ear polyps, it may also be noticeable that a cat begins to walk with his head tilted to one side; indicating the infection in the ear of that side of the head, as well as that the ear polyps are beginning to effect his equilibrium.

Assessing and Diagnosing the Condition

Veterinarians will use a lighted, magnifying tool to look into the inner ear of a cat whenever any type of infection of the ear is suspected. With the use of this tool, a veterinarian will actually be able to see the presence of the polyps on the inner wall of the ear. Once the polyps have been physically seen, the diagnosis is complete.

However, the next step in the diagnosis is to make sure that the polyps are not cancerous. Because polyps are actually small lumps made up of the growth of cells, they have the ability to be cancerous in their nature. In order to determine if this is the case, a biopsy of the polyps will be performed.

Treating Cat Ear Polyps

Cat ear polyps are not the type of condition that can be treated with conventional medications. In order to completely rid a cat of his ear polyps, he will have to have surgery on his ears. The process of removing the polyps includes removing the stalk on which they grow and their masses. When the stalk is not completely removed, there remains a 75% chance that the polyps will grow back.

In some cases, a cat owner may opt to have a procedure known as a ventral bulla osteotomy done to ensure that the polyps do not grow back. While this procedure is quite expensive, it involves removing part of the bone which surrounds the ear. When this portion of the bone is removed, it is almost a sure thing that polyps will not be able to grow back.