June 2012 Issue

Your Cat’s Hearing: Is It Failing?

The cause could be a rampant overgrowth of yeast in the ear canals. Here’s what you should know.

Among all acquired feline ear disorders, the most common by far is otitis externa, an infection of the outer ear canal that, if left untreated, can progress to the inner ear, damage the ear drum and seriously compromise an animal’s hearing as well as its sense of balance. The most common cause of this unpleasant condition and its potentially deafening consequences is an assault on the ear by an outside invader, the ear mite. In some cases, however, the culprit is an organism that normally resides harmlessly within a cat’s ear — a one-celled fungus, or yeast, known as Malessezia.

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