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Otitis Externa in Cats

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Other medical problems can lead to symptoms similar to those encountered in otitis externa. It is important to exclude these conditions before establishing a definite diagnosis. Examples are:

  • Atopy is caused by an allergy. Cats with itchy skin disease caused by an allergy commonly have otitis externa.

  • Autoimmune disease, such as systemic or discoid lupus erythematosus or pemphigus

  • Contact allergy

  • Demodicosis

  • Endocrine imbalance

  • Food allergy

  • Foreign bodies such as foxtail awns

  • Ear disease like cancer, hyperplasia or polyps

  • Parasites like ear mites, which are responsible for 50 percent of otitis in cats

  • Polyps

  • Seborrhea

  • Trauma

  • Tumors. The following have been reported: squamous cell carcinoma (more common in cats than dogs), histiocytomas, sebaceous gland adenomas, adenocarcinomas, basal cell tumors, mast cell tumors, chondromas, chondrosarcomas, trichoepitheliomas, apocrine gland adenomas, fibromas, fibrosarcomas, and papillomas.

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