Problem

Ear injuries in cats

Cats can injure their ear in fights, or by scratching at their ears because of infection or ear mites.  Abscesses or a haematoma (blood pooled under the skin) can develop.

What can I do?

  • If there is active bleeding from any place other than the ear canal, apply direct pressure with your fingers to control the bleeding. (Wear a glove to keep blood off your hand.)
  • Gauze or other absorbent material may also be used, but it is likely to come off and cause the area to bleed again.
  • Get your cat checked by your vet.

Diagnosis

Your vet will give your cat an overall examination before focusing on his ear. Your vet may take samples of any fluid or discharge to examine and sometimes for culture.  Ear mites are easily seen in samples examined under a microscope; sometimes they can be seen when the ear is examined with an otoscope.

Treatment

Wounds on the ear are treated like any other wound and will be cleaned and sutured if needed. If the wound has been caused by excessive scratching, then the cause of the scratching needs to be identified and treated.

Occasionally polyps develop in the ear canal and they will need to be surgically removed.

Prevention

Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to prevent ear problems from occurring. However, treating ear problems as soon as they are noticed can prevent a minor problem from developing into a severe one.

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