Our question this week was:

My 3 year old cat is shaking her head, scratching her ears until they bleed, and has a hard black wax coming from them. I’ve had her to two different vets and they both tell me its just dirty ears. I’ve had her for 18 months and her ears were not like this when I got her. I clean them sometimes every day because they are so bad. I’m having a hard time believing there is nothing wrong when she is so uncomfortable. I’m soooo desperate for advice.

Domenica Solarek

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email.
Sorry to hear about your cats problems – she sounds miserable. I don’t
have the benefit of seeing your cats ears but generally speaking, it is uncommon for a cat to scratch at their ears until they bleed because they are dirty. Usually there is some kind of underlying infection. Cats can get bacterial, yeast and ear mite infections in the ears.

I’d recommend that you have her examined again and ask them to do cytology of the discharge. They should look for bacteria, yeasts and ear mites.

You can’t always see ear mites and sometimes veterinarians will treat for the infection to see how patients respond because we know it is quite common.

A few articles that might be helpful to you is on our Petplace.com and includes:

Chronic Ear Problems in Cats.

Otitis Externa in Cats.

Ear Mites in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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