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C2010-25

Dear Christopher Cat

My veterinarian prescribed an antibiotic for my cat’s infected ears, but it cleared up only one ear. When he rechecked her ears, he found a mass, which he called a polyp, filling the ear canal that was still infected. He recommended surgery to remove the polyp. What can you tell me about ear polyps?

Christopher Responds

We cats, particularly when we’re under three years of age, can develop benign, fleshy polyps that arise from the middle ear (on the other side of the eardrum), the back of the throat or the Eustachian tube, which connects the middle ear to the throat.

Veterinarians don’t know for sure what causes polyps, but they think inflammation or infection may play a role.

Cats with ear polyps may scratch their ears, shake or tilt their heads, or accumulate pus in their ears. Cats with polyps in the back of their throats may sneeze and develop a nasal discharge, or they might have trouble breathing or swallowing.

It’s best to surgically remove the polyp at its base, which most often originates well inside the ear. Polyps that are simply pulled out, without ensuring that the base is removed, often recur.

 

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