Inner Ear Infection Symptoms in Cats

Ear infections in cats may be of several types, depending on which part of the ear the infection affects: outer, middle or inner ear. The inner ear infection is the most severe, so you need to pay attention to the ear infection symptoms to you avoid complications such as neurological problems and permanent deafness.

Outer Ear Infection Symptoms

In over 90% of cases, the inner ear infection starts in the outer ear and affects the middle ear and then the inner ear, if not detected and treated in time; for this reason, you should be able to recognize the symptoms of outer ear infection:

  • Pain in the ear area; the cat will be shaking his head and touching his ears
  • Foul odor coming from the ears
  • Tilting of the head, especially on the side that is affected by infection (otitis may affect both ears, but most commonly, the infection is present only in 1 ear)
  • Swelling of the ear canal; the ear opening may look narrower
  • Parasites may cause ear infections, so you may see fleas or mites and the cat will also produce earwax in excess
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Irritability, especially when you try to touch the ears

Inner Ear Infections Symptoms in Cats

If the outer ear infection is not detected in a timely manner, this will advance. The cat will display the same symptoms as in the case of outer ear infection, but there will be also other symptoms:

  • Ear discharges (clear, yellow, green or pink, depending on the source of infection)
  • Shut ear canal (completely or partially)
  • Hearing loss, your cat doesn't respond to sounds
  • Excessive meowing due to pain

Perforated Ear Drum Symptoms

The ear drum may be affected by the infection, so you should watch out for symptoms that indicate the ear drum is perforated; the cat will have neurological symptoms which should prompt you to the vet:

  • Lack of balance
  • Lack of coordination
  • Fainting
  • Running in circles
  • Meowing and confusion
  • Pupils that are unevenly dilated
  • Seizures, in rare cases

Treatment for Inner Ear Infection

The inner ear infection is a serious condition and requires immediate attention. If you notice any symptoms in your pet, you should consult your vet. The vet will establish the causes of the ear infection; if the cat's ear canals are shut, the vet will prescribe some drops which should help decongest the ears. If the condition doesn't improve surgery is needed.

If the ear canal is not shut, the vet will prescribe ear drops, topical ointments and possibly oral antibiotics. The treatment should be administered for at least 2 weeks, to make sure the infection is cleared.

If there are additional neurological symptoms, the vet needs to establish the damage and may recommend a suitable treatment, if this is possible. In some cases, the damage may be permanent. To avoid this, you should pay attention to the symptoms of outer ear infection and always make sure to get veterinary help before it's too late.