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Deafness in Cats

Loss of Hearing in Cats: Overview

1. Deafness in Cats: Classification and Breeds:

  • Deafness in cats can be classified as complete or partial, and congenital (present at birth) or acquired later in life.
  • Breeds with white hair and blue irises are more prone to congenital deafness.
  • Some breeds at higher risk for congenital deafness include white Persians, white Scottish folds, Ragdolls, white Cornish Rex, white Devon Rex, white Oriental Shorthair, white Turkish Angora, white Maine Coon, and white Manx.

2. Symptoms of Deafness in Cats:

  • Unresponsiveness to everyday sounds.
  • Lack of response to its name.
  • Ignoring sounds of squeaky toys.
  • Not being woken by loud noises.

3. Causes of Deafness:

  • Conduction issues (sound waves do not reach the nerves in the ear).
  • Inflammation of the outer ear or other external ear canal diseases.
  • Inflammation of the middle ear.
  • Nerve-related issues, including degenerative nerve changes.
  • Anatomic disorders in the ear leading to fluid buildup in the brain.
  • Tumors or cancer affecting the nerves used for hearing.
    Inflammation and infections affecting the inner ear.
  • Trauma and exposure to certain toxins and drugs.
  • Risk factors include long-term ear inflammation and certain genetic conditions.

4. Diagnosis:

  • Provide a thorough history of the cat’s health and symptoms.
  • Report any incidents or drug exposure that might have contributed to the condition.
  • Early onset of symptoms may suggest congenital causes, especially in predisposed breeds.
  • Bacterial cultures, hearing tests, and sensitivity testing may be conducted.
  • X-rays may be used to assess the extent of the disease.

5. Treatment:

  • Congenital deafness is irreversible, but if caused by ear inflammation, medical or surgical approaches may be attempted.
  • Treatment depends on the underlying cause and may involve antibiotics, antiseptics, or surgery.
  • Hearing aids are an option in some cases.

6. Living and Management:

  • Reduce the cat’s physical activity to prevent injuries, as it may not hear approaching dangers.
  • Limit outdoor activities to protect the cat from potential harm.
  • Control the indoor environment for the cat’s safety.
  • Regular veterinary check-ups may be needed for ongoing treatment and monitoring.

7. Prognosis:

  • The prognosis depends on the underlying cause.
  • Congenital deafness is permanent.
  • Improvement may be possible if the deafness is caused by treatable conditions such as ear inflammation.

Understanding the specific cause of deafness in a cat is essential for developing an appropriate treatment plan and managing the cat’s environment to ensure its safety and well-being. Regular veterinary care and cautious handling are crucial for deaf cats.

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