Ear Tumors in Cats

Tumors associated with the ear can start right from the outer area and extend all the way to the ear drum including the pinnae and ear canal.
Tumors can be either malignant (made up of cancerous cells, can invade surrounding tissues can spread throughout the body) or benign (non cancerous growth and cannot affect surrounding tissues). Common tumors seen in cats are Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), Ceruminous Gland Adenoma or Adenocarcinoma, Basal Cell Tumor and Sebaceous Gland Tumors. Tumors can be a result of an injury, trauma, secondary diseases and conditions, over exposure to sunlight and inflammation of tissues. These tumors are seen primarily in senior pets (over 7 years of age).


Ear tumors can be caused by an ear injury, underlying ear diseases, known ear conditions, ear infections, inflammation or swelling in the ear, exposure to sunlight, accumulation of debris or foreign body in the ear, obstruction in the ear and the age of the cat.

Clinical Signs & Symptoms

Common signs are:
› Recurrent Otic (ear) discharge
› Disorientation
› Inflammation of the ear
› Increased earwax
› Strong ear odor
› Discomfort
› Tissue growth in the ear
› Nodular masses
› Bleeding


Veterinarians will require a complete history of your cat which includes medical history, vaccination records, existing health concerns, current and previous medications, onset of symptoms, diet and exercise routine and any information which can help in establishing a correct diagnosis. Diagnosis is done with a combination of tests. These include routine lab examinations and special tests. They are:

› Physical examination – this involves a complete ear (otoscopic) examination, looking for any foreign body, mites infestation, internal injury, swelling, ruptures, bacterial or fungal infections and abscess
› Complete Blood Count (CBC)
› Biochemical profile
› X-rays (of the ear and skull)
› Ear tissue biopsy
› CT Scan


This largely depends on the condition. It can be either a stand alone procedure or a combination of techniques.

Treatment includes:
› Treatment of wounds, tumors, scars, ruptures
› Fluid drainage (this needs to be done multiple times as there are high chances of recurrence)
› Surgical procedures
› Hyperthermia (destruction of affected tissue by extreme heat)
› Cryosurgery (destruction of affected tissues by extreme cold)
› Use of Elizabethan collar (this restricts a pet from scratching its ear)


The best way to prevent tumors is to have frequent and regular ear checks. Periodical ear cleaning, removing foreign matter reduces the chances of a tumor forming in the ear. Any ear condition left untreated can progress into formation of tumors.

Home Care

Home care should aim at improving the condition. Surgery is generally the preferred treatment of choice. Treatments can take a few days to a few weeks. If you observe any behavioral changes, or if the condition does not improve, please contact your veterinarian.

Prognosis is always good post surgery. Most pets are treated on an outpatient basis.

› It is mandatory to provide a stress-free environment for your cat. Keep water and food bowls within reach. Avoid physical activity. Keep your cats away from any noise and commotions.
› You have to administer and monitor all prescribed medicine as directed by your veterinarian.
› Do NOT travel with your cat.
› Do not allow your pet to roam outdoors, Accidents, mishaps and unseen situations can arise as the pet is momentarily deaf and will not be able to hear caution sounds
› Always keep sharp objects covered and fragile objects away from pets to avoid the risk of injury and accidents.
› Routine and regular checkups to access the progress (for fluid drainage, ear cleaning, medications)
› Exercise caution when dealing with pets. Daily cleaning and vacuuming, disposal of materials such as bandages, cotton swabs used for abscess or by ear secretions. Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly. Using disinfectants and proper hygiene protocols are strongly advised.
› Place a bell on the collar so that you can know where is pet is

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