Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ear Infections in Cats

Although, ear infections are much more common in dogs than in cats, cats can get them too.  (If you have a dog that is getting chronic ear infections, yeast and allergies are typically the cause.)  Some of the signs that could indicate your cat has an ear infection include:

  • Scratching or pawing at their ear 
  • Shaking or tilting of the head in the direction of the painful ear
  • Black or yellowish discharge
  • Redness or swelling of the ear flap or ear canal
  • Waxy buildup on or near the ear canal
  • Discharge from the ear that resembles coffee grounds (a symptom of ear mites)
  • Strong odor
  • Hearing loss
  • Loss of balance or disorientation 
The first step is to determine the underlining cause of the ear infection and working to eliminate it from your cat's life.  If your vet determines that your cat has ear mites or a yeast or bacterial infection, she’ll treat it with anti-parasitic, anti-fungals, or antibiotics, as appropriate. These all come in ointment or ear drop form. However, since these infections can frequently return, it's very important to add the following holistic supplements to your pet's care plan. They help to fight infection and build a strong immune system.

  • Power Probiotic- essential for your pet's good health. Supports digestion, helps fight infection and enhances overall immunity.  Very important if your cat has taken any antibiotics.
  • Roqueforti Drops- provides support for the intestinal tract. The majority of a pet's immune system is located in the intestinal tract. Fights yeast and is used on alternating nights with the Quentans.
  • Immune Harmony- helps to rebalance and regulate the immune system.
  • Quentans- Excellent for fighting infections, viruses, and immune support.
A change in diet can also make a big difference, whether your cat has allergies or yeast is the problem. The first step is to avoid all dry food as they are high in carbohydrates and can contribute to yeast overgrowth.  If you don't know what to feed your cat, Ask Ariel offers a free service where if you buy products on their website, the nutritionist will include a diet recommendation specifically for your pet on the packing slip that comes with your order.  

What causes ear infections in cats?

Parasites: The ear mite, Otodectes cynotis, is a common cause of ear problems, especially in kittens. 
Allergies: Allergies, either to food or environmental, may have ear problems.  It actually can be one of the first signs of a pet's allergies.  Allergies can also lead to secondary infections with bacteria or yeast. Treating the allergies is key to ending a cycle of allergy induced ear infections.
Bacteria and Yeast:  Under normal conditions, your cat has a good defense system to keep the ear healthy. However, if the ear environment changes due to allergies, hormone abnormalities, or moisture, the bacteria and yeast  can grow quickly, bacteria and yeast love to grow in warm, dark places.  
Ear Conditions: Wax buildup in the ear canal and thick hair in the ear canal
Foreign Bodies:  Especially if you have a cat who goes outside, be sure to routinely check their ears for foreign objects.
Trauma: Injury or self-inflicted trauma to the ear (from scratching ) can lead to infections.
Hormonal Abnormalities and Other Health Conditions: Deficiencies or excesses of various hormones can result in skin and ear problems, as will immune system disorders.