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Several different issues can lead to the swelling of a cat or dog’s ears, but swelling is usually a sign that something isn’t right. In some cases, pet parents can reduce swelling without a visit to the vet. In others, an appointment may be necessary to get accurate pet health advice. Getting to the root cause is essential to find the most effective treatment before more serious complications arise.
Several issues can result in ear swelling for both cats and dogs. While all pets are at risk, those with drooping or folded ears are most susceptible. Some of the common causes of ear problems include:
Ear infections. An ear infection can occur as a result of foreign objects in the ear, bacterial buildup, allergies, polyps, trapped water, or a bite from another animal.
Ear mites. Ear mites are tiny parasites that feast on the wax and oil buildup in the ear canal. While common in younger dogs, they can affect cats and dogs of any age.
Ear hematoma. A hematoma is a firm mass that can develop inside of the ear flap. It occurs when a blood vessel bursts and there’s bleeding between the layers of tissue. They can happen if the pet scratches their ears too much (often from ear mites or an ear infection) or head shaking.
To determine the exact cause of a pet’s ear swelling, pet parents should schedule a visit with their vet. Discharge, bad odors, or the presence of significant debris all warrant an appointment. If pet parents notice their dog or cat's ear is red, they should also make a call. Pet parents can reach out to the Fuzzy Vet Team for health advice or to get answers to their health questions.
In many cases, a vet needs to swab the ear to get a sample. From there, they can look at it under a microscope or send it to a lab for further testing. Once the vet has an answer, they can provide the appropriate dog advice or cat advice to help treat the issue.
At the first sign of minor or mild ear swelling, pet parents can use a daily ear cleaner once a day to help remove buildup. An ear wash that contains anti-inflammatory steroids can help with itchiness, which can reduce a pet’s urge to scratch.
If a pet parent notices redness and more significant swelling, prescription ear medication, and possibly pain medication, for a few days can help tackle the issue. A cone may also be necessary to keep a cat or dog from scratching and making the swelling worse. If necessary, they can get additional dog or cat health advice from their primary vet.
The good news is that, yes, pet parents can take steps to help prevent ear swelling. A regular ear care routine is vital. Pet parents should check the ears regularly for buildup and clean them when they’re dirty. They should use a gentle ear cleaner and a cotton ball, taking care not to go too deep into the ear canal.
Pet parents should be sure to dry the ears carefully after baths and water activities. Regular vet visits can also help spot early warning signs. Together, they can take action right away to prevent more serious issues from developing later. With proper care, pet parents can help avoid pet ear swelling, keeping their pets happy and healthy.