My Cat's Ear Is Swollen...added Pics

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Old 12-13-2008, 03:01 PM
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Animals My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

My cat was scratching his ear continuously & I took him to the vet & found out he had mites. He gave me drops to place in his ear. We've been doing it 4 days & he wasn't scratching as much. Well yesterday we never got around adding the drops. We were getting ready to do it today when we noticed one of his ears is swollen. Looks like a small half inflated balloon & it feels liquidly inside. I don't see any bites marks & he hasn't been outside in a week. Of course the vet's office is closed for the weekend. Has anyone ever experienced this? If so, do you know what caused it? I'm curious if it's a reaction to the drops. Any advice or help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Last edited by texassaver; 12-13-2008 at 04:43 PM. Reason: Added Pics
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:20 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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If you're talking about the ear "flap" (versus inside the ear canal) that feels like a pillow/balloon with liquid inside, it sounds like he has an aural hematoma (it's where the tiny vessels in the ear flap rupture from something like repeated scratching or trauma,etc.. and the blood collects in between the cartilage and skin of the ear flap making a little "pillow" or swelling.) It is more common in dogs than in cats. Depending on the size and how much it bothers the pet, it can be aspirated to remove the fluid. If its small, sometimes folks will choose to leave it alone and let the fluid get reabsorbed by itself, though depending on the size, the ear may heal a little "crinkly" once the fluid is all absorbed.

If the whole ear flap is uniformly thickened and fluidy and reddened, or if the ear canal is red, swollen, painful with smelly discharge, I would be more concerned about a infection or reaction to the medication. Always good to check for bites and scratches but if he hasn't been out in a week and you don't have any other cats in the household, sounds like an abscess will be less likely.

I'm just guessing from your description. I don't know if any of that helps....sorry.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:28 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Yes, lorinlucy...you’re exactly right! It is the ear flap that is swollen & not the ear canal. His whole ear flap is swollen. I don't see any redness or swelling of the ear canal. It pretty clean, better than it was before we started with the medication. I do have another cat in the house (female). She was also checked by the vet & didn't have mites. I've had the female cat since she was a kitten & adopted the male about 4 years ago. They are both the same age & they don't share pet beds for food bowls...only water bowl & litter box.

How long does it take for the swelling to go down?
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:32 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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I agree with the aural hematoma. This happened to my cat earlier this year, due to mites and repeated scratching. The vet had to cut open the flap to drain the liquid, which meant she got to wear a cone around her head for a couple of days!!
After that she was just fine. Hope that helps.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:47 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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I am a certified veterinary technician and lorinlucy described it perfectly and I agree with her, much more common in dogs - I can say 16 plus years - I do not think I have seen a cat with it. Get an appointment with vet on Monday - options surgery or no surgery but you will have to see what they say, if it is small surgery may not even be a recommendation. If it is untreated, the blood should resorb into body but you would end up with a deformed ear known as a cauliflower ear. Now I have heard of aural hematomas rupturing but never had a patient that happened to.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:48 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Wow, the whole ear flap is involved? Is he really uncomfortable? If he is, you may try to see if you can get that aspirated/lanced (by another vet in town, perhaps) so that he won't be in discomfort. Sometimes it can refill again once its drained. The swelling does take a while to be resorbed ~ probably several days minimum but more than likely a week or two?? If his whole flap is involved, he will likely have a little crinkly ear ~ mostly a cosmetic issue but some folks may find that very important. The swelling can get fairly large and the skin can feel tight, however, I have never seen one that ruptured on its own. They can be fairly painful - just the pressure of the liquid built up. Some animals don't seem to notice much at all. Much more of a problem in dogs with floppy ears. It would depend on your pets level of comfort at this time to decide whether you need a visit to a vet before your regular opens up again on Monday. The longer it sits (and I'm not just talking over the next day or two) the harder it will be to aspirate the fluid out since some may begin to form small clots. As the previous poster mentioned, sometimes it will need to be lanced to get the job done; sometimes it may be able to get done with just aspirating with a needle & syringe (like having blood drawn from us).
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:59 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Thanks everyone for you great input. He doesn't seem to be in any discomfort. He's a big cat 22lbs & he's still eating & playing like his normal self. Should I continue the medication? I guess I'll wait & see how he looks & feels tomorrow before I take him to another vet.
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:03 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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hope your fur baby gets better.
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:06 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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hope your fur baby gets better.
Me too.
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:43 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Here are a few pics. Not sure if you can make it out.
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File Type: jpg IMG_1079 1.jpg (116.3 KB, 138 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1080 1.jpg (144.5 KB, 125 views)
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Old 12-13-2008, 05:18 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Aww. Bless his heart. I hope he feels better soon. Let us know happens! I hope the vet visit goes good.
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:00 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Quote:
Originally Posted by texassaver View Post
Here are a few pics. Not sure if you can make it out.
Are you cleaning out that stuff that looks like coffee grinds? My lil'dog had that last year and everyday before I did the drops I cleaned his ear with q-tips. That stuff is nasty, but it needs to be cleaned...
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:32 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Are you cleaning out that stuff that looks like coffee grinds? My lil'dog had that last year and everyday before I did the drops I cleaned his ear with q-tips. That stuff is nasty, but it needs to be cleaned...
Yes, it was a lot nastier than that. It's been less & less since we started the drops.
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:46 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Yeah, that stuff is gross....

I hope your cat gets better soon.....
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Old 12-13-2008, 09:00 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Yeah, this happened to our 20 lb "Fat Cat" (from Inspector Gadget) and we didn't choose to do the surgery. It did take a bit of time to reabsorb and he now has one very crinkled up ear. Just adds to his character we think.
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Old 12-13-2008, 09:04 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Quote:
we didn't choose to do the surgery. It did take a bit of time to reabsorb and he now has one very crinkled up ear.
Do you remember more or less how long to took to reabsorb? Did it effect his hearing in any way?
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Old 12-14-2008, 07:06 AM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Well, it happened a few years ago and I sorta remember it taking more than a week to start deflating and crinkling up. It doesn't seem to have affected his hearing, although I'm sure since its not shaped properly it must affect it some. Ok, I just tried making a very small sound on his right side (crinkled ear side) from several feet away and he heard me just fine.
We simply couldn't afford the surgery and the vet said that it was mainly cosmetic, not really medically necessary.

ETA: I was talking to hubby about this and he remembers that it took several weeks to fully reabsorb, and as he is better at remembering that sort of stuff, it will probably take longer than my original estimate.
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Old 12-14-2008, 08:57 AM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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I have a cat that did this. It happened when she was less than a year old (she's 13 yr. now).
She was left with a cauliflower ear. I have to take her to the vet 1-2 times a year to get her ear cleaned. My advise-take him to the vet monday and have it drained.
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Old 12-14-2008, 10:30 AM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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I guess we got lucky on that one! I haven't had to take Fat Cat to the vet for any ear cleanings and it's been this way for 6-7 years. I just checked and his inner ear looks normal, no excess gunk or anything. But it didn't crinkle all the way down to the base of his ear and cover the opening so that may make a difference.
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:15 AM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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The swelling has gone down some since yesterday. I still plan on calling the vet in the morning.
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Old 12-14-2008, 11:17 AM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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My cat did this and she had to have surgery to fix it. Her ear looked like a 3D dorito. My mom knew what it was because she worked at a vet clinic. Good luck with her!
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Old 12-21-2008, 06:57 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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I went ahead & took him to the vet & had the blood drained. All seemed well for about a week & now it's all poofed up again. Worse this time. The vet did say it might not last. He's terribly uncomforatable so I think I'll call & inquire about the surgery. Hopefully it's not too expensive.
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Old 12-21-2008, 08:33 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Aww. That stinks. I hope it is not too expensive for you either. Poor guy!
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:37 AM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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Any updates? poor, poor kitty. I hope he is geeling better.
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Old 01-01-2009, 07:11 PM

RE: My cat's ear is swollen...added pics

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If it has happened again I would do the SX this way your vet can also take the time to really clean the ears out from all the mite poop. After a good cleaning the meds the vet gave you originally should knock out the mites.
I do not know if you do but, if you do not use flea control you might want to ask the vet about that also. Some of the topical flea meds can be used for mites also. It might help with any recurrences in the future.
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