What to do if a cat shakes its head, presses its ears or constantly scratches its head. It is clear to any owner that the pet is experiencing discomfort and pain, but how to identify the causes of the disease? We will understand the main types of diseases that can cause a bridle, headache or affect the ears.
What does shaking the head say in cats?
If the cat shakes its head often or too intensely - there is a reason for this, it may be due to illness or exposure to the environment. This behavior cannot be left to chance, since many diseases can have irreversible consequences.
The most common reasons a cat shakes its head is pain or itching. When a pet is tormented by itching, the problem is localized most often in the ear area. When a cat scratches its ears with its hind legs, it releases its claws and severely injures the skin. Scratches swell and become infected, leading to pain.
The conclusion suggests itself - itching is only a symptom, and the true reason for shaking your head is always pain.
There is also an option that is not related to ailments - this foreign body stuck in or blocked the ear canal. If you suspect that there is something in the cat’s ear, it is strongly discouraged to provide assistance at home. Turning to a professional, you can be sure that immobilizing measures will be applied to the animal in case of a threat of aggravation of the condition.
If you try to get the item yourself, the pet may twitch and the foreign body will push even deeper. Keep in mind that cats have an L-shaped ear canal, in addition, it is thin and sensitive.
Are you sure that nothing is stuck in the ear of the pet? In this case, the reason may be accumulation of sulfur or disease. As mentioned above, cats have an L-shaped auditory meatus, which can make sulfur plugs not visible. If you have not cleaned cats ears for prevention, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian. The doctor will clean the pet’s ear passages with a special solution that softens the sulfur and allows it to come out of the ear naturally. Of course, you can do all of these procedures yourself, but if the cause of the discomfort is not in the sulfur plugs, getting liquid into the ear canals is extremely undesirable.
Many owners, having noticed that the ear hurts in the pet, independently begin treatment with drops of a wide spectrum. Quite often, this method works, although it is not entirely correct. For adequate therapy, which does not harm the health of the pet, you need to identify the exact cause of the discomfort. The use of drugs based on intuitive sensations is also a treatment method, but it is relevant if the doctor cannot find the cause and acts by exclusion.
When a cat shakes its head with a high probability, the cause is in the ears, but there are other options. If at the first visit to the veterinarian the problem was not identified, the diagnostic process will be delayed. The pet will be given symptomatic treatment, and the owner will need to pay maximum attention to the cat's behavior and changes in it.
Cat ears diseases
As mentioned above, if the cat began to shake its head - it most likely hurts her ear. In this case, the shaking of the head is provoked by the desire to stop the discomfort. Note that sudden movements partially help to dull the pain.
A common misconception - if the ear hurts, then otitis media needs to be treated. We will not argue, otitis media is a painful disease, but not the only one.
In veterinary medicine, there are more than a dozen diseases that can cause ear pain, headache, itching, blurred vision, dizziness ... and all these symptoms will cause the cat to shake its head. Even toothache can lead to similar behavior.
We will understand the symptoms of the most common diseases. A relatively rare occurrence in cats is weather dependence. Simply put, a cat has a headache when blood pressure changes. You cannot officially confirm this diagnosis, but it can simply be detected by observing the behavior of the animal. Quite often, weather dependence becomes a mystery, because the cat is uncomfortable at different times of the day. seasons of the year, etc., and the owner cannot link these features into one logical chain.
Ear mite is a disease caused by the microscopic tick Otodectes. In veterinary medicine, the ailment is called otodectosis. In order for the tick to live and reproduce, it needs a warm and humid environment, that is, the auricle is optimal. An ear mite is a very contagious disease, as soon as the parasite enters the auricle, it begins to lay eggs. The rapidly multiplying parasites feed on skin flakes, earwax, blood and lymph.
Statistically, it is cats that are more often affected by an ear tick, but they can infect dogs and humans. A tick cannot multiply on people's skin, but it will cause temporary irritation. Note that if the kittens were infected with an ear tick from their mother, they are likely to die, while an adult animal will fight the parasite until blood poisoning reaches a critical level.
An ear mite is not difficult to identify, the main symptoms are as follows:
- The cat shakes its head.
- There is an active scratching of the ears, head, neck. In just a few days, strong scratches appear on the skin.
- A cat often keeps its ears tight.
- Acute pain syndrome - the cat meows, does not allow to touch the ear.
- Persistent itching - a cat tries to scratch its ears with its paws and on the surface of furniture.
- Wet ears at an early stage of infection - in the first days or hours, the plaque is a little greasy, transparent and plentiful, after which there is a mother of blood or blood.
- Brown, thick coating, with admixtures of grains of coagulated blood, crusts and small white crumbs - these are the mites themselves and their eggs.
- Unpleasant smell - many owners cannot understand why the cat began to smell bad and only by this sign they detect an ear tick. The fact is that secretions, blood residues, tick excrement and earwax turn into a bad-smelling substance that dries and forms plugs.
What should I do if there are no symptoms of an ear tick, my ears are clean, but the cat still shakes its head and itches? Only one way out - to consider otitis media and other, less obvious reasons. To begin with, remember the events of the coming days, could the pet get an injury to the head or ears? Quite often, the consequences of blows to the head are dizziness, nausea, and weakness. Shaking her head, the cat tries to focus her eyesight and cheer up.
Ear injury is a fairly common occurrence in cats that have free access to the street. The fact is that freely walking pets often fight, and in fights, cats beat each other on the head and ears.
If you bathed a cat the other day, with a high probability we can say that water gets into the ear canals. The situation can be resolved even without interference, since it is with the shaking of the head that the pet shakes out the water. It is recommended to monitor the condition of the pet. wipe its auricles regularly dry and make sure that inflammation does not start.
notethat symptoms may appear 5-10 days after bathing.
Types and causes of otitis media in cats
When a cat scratches its ears and shakes its head hard, the cause may be otitis media. some breeds of cats are prone to diseases of this kind. Regular prevention - examination of the ears and their cleaning reduces the risks to a minimum, but does not exclude them.
It happens that otitis media develops for third-party reasons:
- Features of the anatomical structure - in some cat breeds, ears are pressed to the head. There is also an inborn narrowing of the auditory canals, which provokes the so-called stagnation - sulfur cannot completely come out of the ear. In cats with bent ear cartilage, the auricle is warmer, which contributes to more intensive reproduction of germs and parasites. Cats with ears bent back are also at risk because their auditory ones are not protected from the effects of the external environment - water, dust, direct sunlight, etc.
- Water or a foreign object in the ear canal.
- Rough reading of the ears or the use of unsuitable solutions, such as alcohol, leading to overdrying and cracking of the skin.
- Infestation by parasites, including fleas, lice, lice, etc.
- Papillomas and other neoplasms, for example, leading to a narrowing and even clogging of the ear canal.
- Damage to the ear canals with fungi or bacteria.
- Improper nutrition leads to a violation of metabolism and the functioning of all body systems. Usually, a deficiency or excess of protein is observed in cats, in the first case, the discharge from the ears becomes fatter, in the second, the cat suffers from poisoning with all the ensuing consequences.
- Viral diseases - any virus stimulates the immune system, which leads to hyperactive mucous membranes, including those located in the middle and inner ear.
When can otitis media be ruled out? With abundant brown discharge - as mentioned above, this is a symptom of an ear tick. However, an ear mite and other diseases can lead to the development of otitis media. Note that there are relatively painless forms of this ailment, in which the ears itch more than hurt.
The following symptoms may indicate otitis media of a painless chronic form:
- Constant head tilt - Helps reduce pressure in the ear.
- Turns the whole body - when the cat wants to look at something, she turns not only her head, but also the body. This indicates more headache than ear.
- Changing the shape or position of the ear cartilage - may indicate ear diseases of various types, including otitis media.
With the development of otitis media, usually, the clinical picture develops rapidly, the first sign of abundant sebaceous discharge and weeping ears indicates the active work of the mucous membranes and the excitation of the immune system. You may notice that the cat’s ears have become hotter than usual, the pet does not eat well, looks apathetic or irritated. A severe itch is already developing at this stage - the cat sticks its hind paw directly into the auricle, releases its claws and scratches the skin. If you massage your ears, you will hear characteristic sounds that indicate abnormally high amounts of moisture.
When the surface layers of the skin begin to deteriorate, discharge begins from the ears mixed with the sacrum. Further, it all depends on whether the ear canals are infected. In most cases, infection occurs because the cat scratches its ears with its hind legs, which leads to purulent discharge. At the stage of purulent discharge in a cat, the basic body temperature rises, appetite disappears. If the cat refused water - this indicates severe pain and critical condition. Self-medication in this case is inappropriate, the pet must be urgently taken to the veterinary clinic.
Important! Never warm your pet’s ear unless you know the cause of the inflammation. Local heating with purulent otitis will only exacerbate the situation.
In severe otitis media, the deep layers of the skin begin to collapse, which is accompanied by vascular bleeding. Purulent discharge mixed with blood, and from the ears of a cat begins to smell characteristic. If the smell has already appeared, and there is no discharge yet, we are talking about damage to the middle or deep ear. That is, there is already pus in the ear canal, but it is not enough for it to go outside.
Inflammation of such a force leads to severe swelling and narrowing of the ear canal, which exacerbates the situation even more. One of the consequences of this form of otitis media is partial or total hearing loss.
Otitis is distinguished by the location of the lesion. The deeper the inflammation, the more aggressive the treatment methods. Conventionally, the disease is divided into:
- External - inflammation occurs in the visible part of the ear, immediately causes pain and itching.
- Medium - itching may not occur immediately, but the pain is very severe and develops immediately. When the cat begins to itch, scratches do not appear in the ears, but behind them. Usually, otitis media is preceded by abundant discharge from the ears.
- The inner one is the most dangerous, stealthily flowing form, which may not cause pain and itching at first. Usually the first symptom is a tilt of the head and a headache, which leads to stiff movements, attempts to hide in the dark, a sharp reaction to loud sounds.
Theoretically, the external form of otitis media can go away without treatment and consequences, for example, if the cat has strong immunity and the disease is caused by bacteria. With the average and internal form of otitis media, the consequences can not be avoided, even if the treatment is carried out correctly and in a timely manner.
Sometimes, the owner turns to the veterinarian when the cat has a changed shape of the ear or hearing is noticeably impaired. Already at the doctor’s appointment, it turns out that the cat is suffering or suffered from otitis media. Keep in mind that most of the effects of internal and otitis media cannot be reversed.
Otitis also varies in intensity:
- Acute - The obvious, painful and simplest form of the disease. By discovering the disease in time and helping, you will avoid all the disastrous consequences. The difficulty is that acute otitis media develops rapidly and worsens. Literally within a few days, inflammation with external otitis media turns into a purulent form, as the cat scratches its ears. Pus, deep in the ear canal, leads to the spread of infection and exacerbation of the situation.
- Sluggish - an insidious form, often leading to complications even before the final diagnosis. Usually, otitis media affects the middle or inner part of the ear; for some time it does not cause pain and itching. The owner’s attention may be distracted by the fact that in the early stages of sluggish otitis media there are no purulent discharge and an unpleasant odor from the ears.
- Chronic otitis media - subsides and escalates in response to external factors. There can be many reasons for this form: air temperature, pressure, humidity, food allergy, reaction to treatment or prevention of parasites, etc. Usually, to confirm the diagnosis, long-term monitoring of the pet's health is required, since it is necessary to determine the dependence of the ailment on external factors. A fairly common cause of chronic otitis media is ignored external or not completely cured otitis media.
For proper treatment, it is important to determine the form of otitis media, that is, the reason for its development. The problem is that traditional treatment will be useless where antibiotics, antiviral drugs, or surgery are needed. Conducting symptomatic treatment, you will drag out time and aggravate the disease, although outwardly it will seem that the dynamics are positive.
Purulent otitis media - The most common form of otitis media that is contacted by veterinarians. As mentioned above, the release of pus is more a consequence than a cause of the disease. Yes, getting into the middle and deep ear, pus only exacerbates the situation, but it is not the cause of the disease. In fact, any form, type and type of otitis media will sooner or later lead to purulent discharge. The characteristic signs of the onset of purulent otitis media are thick crusts with a putrefactive odor formed in the ear canals.
Infectious otitis media - a form that can be caused by any infection. It is difficult to identify the exact type of the pathogen without a detailed examination, since the environment of the auricles greatly contributes to the reproduction of any bacteria, protozoa and parasites.
Bacterial otitis media - a form that occurs when the normal microflora of the ears is replaced by an unfriendly one. The reason for the development of the disease is bacteria that have fallen into a nutritious and favorable environment. Again, in a healthy cat with strong immunity, the body will cope with the disease without intervention at an early stage.The development of unfriendly bacteria may not be suppressed due to violations of the excretory system of the skin of the ears, for example, when overdrying or getting water into the ear canals.
Traumatic otitis media - when the cat injures the ear, the vessels of the deep tissues burst and hematomas form. Swelling leads to narrowing of the ear canals and congestion. Sulfur and secretions do not completely leave the ears, which leads to the active reproduction of microbes and bacteria. In fact, traumatic otitis media is always combined with bacterial, infectious and leads to a purulent form.
Parasitic otitis media can be caused by a variety of reasons, but most often the disease is a consequence of invasion by blood-sucking parasites. A cat combes the bites of fleas or ticks, as it has an allergic reaction to their saliva. Scratches become infected and inflammation begins, which leads to an increase in local temperature. The warmer the microbes, the faster they multiply, which leads to a more intensive development of the disease.
Fungal otitis media - This is one of the complications if the cat's skin is affected by spores of harmful fungi. The problem is that the more scratches, the wider and deeper the area of damage by mushrooms. The immunity reacts to the lesion, the temperature rises, the spores of the mushrooms ripen faster and seed new areas. This, in fact, is a vicious circle, leading to wide and deep damage to the auricles and skin throughout the body.
Allergic otitis media - a very common form that occurs due to the exacerbated reaction of the immune system to substances from the environment. As you know, a cat can have two forms of allergies - food and non-food. In both cases, the disease causes the excitation of the protective systems of the body and the activation of the work of all mucous membranes. With cat immunity, the base temperature rises.
Verrucous or wart otitis media - A fairly rare form for cats, but it is inherited. The disease is accompanied by the formation of warts in the ear canal. Neoplasms grow rapidly, narrowing the auditory canal or completely blocking it. When the ear canal is closed, sulfur and natural secretions do not come out completely, which leads to the so-called stagnation and the development of severe otitis media.