Don't fight it forever: Practical tips for treating otitis in cats

April 24, 2017
Darin Dell, DVM, DACVD

Dr. Darin Dell is a veterinary dermatologist at Animal Dermatology Clinic in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Although it's uncommon, you'll sometimes see a cat with signs of otitis externa. Use these practical tips so you're not fighting the allergies forever.

Thankfully, otitis externa is uncommon in cats. When present, otitis externa in cats is usually secondary to allergies, ear mites or polyps/tumors. Cytology and otoscopic examination are critical to helping you identify infection, ear mites and masses in the ear canal.

Want more tips? Here's how to make otitis ear-relevant for your clients. 

We all know about ear infections and we have all had clients frustrated because of them. People like speedy resolutions and they think that if you're a good vet, you'll just "fix" it. But that's neither ear nor there (sorry, had to). Turn otitis cases from a pain in the ear into a point where your care and compassion can really shine-using these three tips.

Allergy-related otitis externa can result in bacterial otitis, malassezia otitis, excess cerumen production or simply otic pruritus. Allergic otitis can occur with or without other allergy symptoms, or the symptoms may be mild enough that the owner doesn't mention them to you.

As usual, a thorough examination and thoughtful questioning are important. 

Here are some useful tips to remember:

1. Cats typically don't allow deep ear cleaning unless sedated.

2. Few medications are labelled in the United States for treating otitis in cats.

3. I typically use Posatex because of once daily application. Posatex is also less likely to cause deafness than gentamicin products.

4. If an underlying allergy is present, it needs to be treated or you will fight the otitis forever.

The dvm360 editors: Don't miss your chance!

You demand it, dvm360.com and the CVC respond. Last year, dermatology and otitis sessions were some of the most highly attended sessions we held at CVCs in Virginia Beach, Kansas City and San Diego. This year, we're back with even more-check out the exciting new programs and opportunities to get up-to-date on the latest in treating and communicating about otitis and other dermatology issues. Find it all here.