Ear disorders in cats are caused primarily by two different reasons. Either the ear disorder is a result of a problem within the structure of the ear, or the ear disorder is caused by an outside factor. Some of the most common ear disorders in cats include: otitis, hematoma, masses within the ear canal, and feline vestibular syndrome.
Types of Ear Disorders in Cats
Otitis ear disorders cause the ear to become inflamed. The most common causes of otitis inflammation are allergies, yeast and/or bacterial infections, parasites, and stenosis. Allergic reactions that cause the ear to become inflamed can be the result of a food allergy, plant allergy, or an allergic reaction to a parasite such as an ear mite or sarcoptic mange mite. Yeast and bacterial infections often occur in cats with droopy long ears and in cats which live in humid environments. Stenosis is a condition in which the ear canals are very narrow; these narrow canals often trap moisture and dirt which causes irritations.
Often when a cat has an ear disorder which causes itching and irritation a hematoma develops on the ear. The hematoma occurs when the cat continually shakes the ears to try to get rid of the itching. Excessive head shaking causes the tissues in the ear to become damaged, blood leaks into the tissues, and a hematoma type bubble appears on the ear.
Masses Within the Ear
Sometimes a mass can develop in the ear of a cat. This type of disorder can be caused by benign or cancerous growths. Often the masses lead to impaired hearing, irritation, infection, or neurological problems. The cause of the development of the mass is generally not known.
Feline Vestibular Syndrome
Feline vestibular syndrome is an ear disorder that occurs mainly in older cats, but it does occasionally occur in young to middle aged cats as well. The cause of the disease is not known. The effect of the disease on the ears results in inflammation of the nerves which connect the cerebellum to the ear. Balance problems, vomiting, and difficulty eating or drinking are the symptoms of the disorder.