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Cat ear yeast

Yeast Infection in Cat's Ear:

Cat ear problems are quite common, and these can be caused by infections, allergies, injury, and a number of other factors.

As far as infections go, a yeast infection in a cat’s ears is rather common, and can be quite irritating and unpleasant, for both the cat and its owner. The yeast species that most frequently causes these infections is known as Pityrosporum pachydermatis or Malassezia pachydermatis. Other Malassezia fungi also exist, and are also responsible for some infections.

The Malassezia fungus is an organism that is normally present on the skin of most animals, including humans and cats. It is thus naturally occurring yeast in cat ears. It is usually harmless, but under certain conditions the fungus can multiply rapidly, at which point it starts to cause a number of unpleasant symptoms.

Usually, malassezia growth is kept under control naturally. It is only when the environment in the ear changes that the growth gets out of control. This can happen if for some reason there is excessive moisture in and around the ear for a long period of time. It could also happen if the cat has an allergic reaction that somehow changes or upsets the natural, healthy environment in the ear. Certain medications could also have the same effect. Of course, in some cases, it may not be the malassezia yeast but some other fungus, or even bacteria that take the opportunity to start rapidly multiplying and causing an infection.

Typical symptoms of cat ear infection include frequent scratching and shaking of the head. The cat may also hold its head to one side, as the discomfort, pain, or itching may decrease in this position. Some inflammation or swelling may also be noticed. In more severe cases, there may be a foul smell, and there may even be some discharge from the affected ear. A cat with a bad ear infection may also become uncharacteristically irritable or listless.

If you notice any of these symptoms and suspect that your cat has an ear yeast infection, it is advisable that you consult a doctor at the earliest. This will help to identify the cause of the infection, which in turn will help to treat the infection more effectively. Besides any medication or other action that the vet prescribes, you should make it a habit to keep your cat’s ears clean and dry at all times.

  Submitted on May 7, 2010  

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