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Your cat's ears may seem to possess an amazing ability to hear a can opener from almost any distance, but they are still vulnerable to a number of different diseases. Some of these ailments pose a direct threat to your cat's comfort, balance and/or hearing, while others may be an initial step toward secondary illnesses such as serious bacterial infections. Fortunately, the experienced vet team at our Jacksonville animal hospital can diagnose these issues early, provide effective treatment and advise you on preventative measures against recurrences.
Most cats' earflaps (a part of the ear known as the pinna) point upward, exposing a large amount of the outer ear and ear canal to the environment, although the eardrum itself is reasonably well protected behind a bend within the ear canal. Behind the eardrum is the inner ear, which includes the vestibular system that maintains your cat's balance and equilibrium. Any part of this assembly can be subjected to different disease threats. For instance, the pinna of white of light-colored cats may receive excessive amounts UV rays, which can lead to an inflammation called solar dermatitis and possibly even malignant skin cancer. Allergic reactions to flea and tick bites can also produce dermatitis of the outer ear.
Ear mite infections are the most common ear diseases in cats. These tiny creatures make their way from another infected animal to your pet, residing in the ears and compelling your pet to scratch constantly -- sometimes to the point of injury or other complications. The infected ear may exude a discharge that resembles coffee grounds. Ear mites are also the culprits behind sarcoptic mange. Deeper ear infections can not only be extremely painful, but they can also affect your cat's balance and even destroy his hearing.
If your cat shows external evidence of an ear disease or demonstrates behaviors such as shaking his head, pawing at his ear or constantly cocking his head to one side, bring him to any Jacksonville veterinarian at our clinic (Dr. Altman, Dr. Corry or Dr. Ianni). Your Jacksonville vet will perform a thorough examination of the ears, including visual inspection, ear swabs or skin scrapings to confirm the cause of the problem. Tumors will be removed and biopsied to check for malignancy, ear mite infestations will be removed, and antibiotics will be prescribed for bacterial infections.
Our Jacksonville animal hospital can also play a key role in helping you keep your cat's ears disease free. Routine wellness exams allow us to inspect the ears and deal with any early-stage issues before they become full-blown disease cases. Your Jacksonville vet can also recommend preventative medications to stop an ear mite infestation before it can start. Last but not least, we can recommend home care practices to support feline ear health. Call (910) 353-1722 to schedule an appointment!
Dr. Corry has always gone above and beyond for the care of our family's pets.
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