By Dr Raimundo Tamagnini
Max is a three year old male cat that been living with an ear problem for over a year and had come into Energetic Panacea Veterinary Clinic for a second opinion. He was continually scratching and was having discharges from his right ear.
After a thorough examination with our videoscope he was diagnosed with ear polyps which were removed under sedation and he is now finally free of the problems.
Ear polyps in cats are a fairly uncommon occurrence but can cause severe damage to the tympanic membrane (eardrum) if not properly diagnosed or treated. Ear polyps can occur in cats of all ages but are usually seen in cats between the ages of one to four.
The symptoms of polyps include those of an external or middle ear infection. The cat may shake or scratch at its head, have pain on the palpation of the ear, or they may have a thick or bloody discharge from the ear canal. Cats may also display a head tilt and inability to walk in a straight line, or they may also have a droopy eyelid or the third eyelid may partially cover the eye. The symptoms usually start slowly and become chronic with limited response to routine treatment.
Polyps can also occur in the nasal passages and throat. Cats with polyps in these locations may have difficulty breathing or swallowing. Diagnosis is usually based on a thorough exam of the ear canal with an otoscope.
Treatment usually consists of surgical removal as seen in the video. Because the polyps are usually attached by only a thin, long stalk they can usually be pulled up and the stalk can be cut. Polyps may reoccur in one to eight months. If that happens, a more complicated, but thorough, surgical procedure called a ventral bulla osteotomy is recommended. An antibiotic may be given for several weeks after the surgical procedure is performed and the cat should recover fully in several weeks
Ear polyps in cats primarily occur in young healthy individuals. While ear polyps are uncommon, they should always be considered in cats that have reoccurring or severe ear infections. Because a veterinarian can only diagnose them with a thorough otoscopic exam, we recommend that a veterinarian examine all cats with ear infections before any treatment is started. Treatment is usually successful and surgical removal of the polyp can prevent serious damage to the eardrum.