Your cat is at risk of developing ear cysts if they've had a longstanding middle ear infection. It's easy to miss the signs of a middle ear infection, so it's not uncommon for infections to be present for some time before they are diagnosed and treated. The inflammation that's present in the middle ear as a result of infection can stimulate tissue growth and lead to cysts forming. These cysts are usually benign, but occasionally cancerous cells can form. Read on to learn about the signs of ear cysts in cats and how they are treated.
Signs Of Ear Cysts In Cats
If your cat has ear cysts, they will experience earache. This can present as continuous ear pain or show up only when they are chewing food or toys. Cats with earache tend to paw at their ears and shake their head. They may also resist having their head touched and may seem irritable. If you cat associates chewing with pain, they may also stop eating. Ear cysts can also cause hearing loss, so if your cat doesn't seem to be responding when you call them, have their ears checked by your vet.
How Ear Cysts Are Treated
Your vet will need to determine the extent of the damage to your cat's middle ear by carrying out an ear exam and taking a swab of the affected area. The swab will allow the vet to identify the type of bacteria present. In severe cases, diagnostic imaging, such as CT scan, may be required to determine the size and number of cysts present and whether the surrounding tissue is damaged.
Surgical removal is the only way to treat ear cysts, and the entire ear canal may need to be removed to completely resolve your cat's symptoms. The external ear will not be altered, so it won't be noticeable that your cat's had ear surgery. Hearing shouldn't be negatively affected, and if the cysts were causing hearing loss, your cat's hearing should be restored to normal levels after surgery. You will also be given antibiotics to administer to your cat to ensure the bacterial infection is eradicated, and your vet will examine your cat's ear a couple of weeks after treatment to ensure it's healed well.
If your cat stops responding when you call them, or if their ear seems to be irritating them, arrange an ear exam with a local veterinary surgeon.