What are the bluish-grey bumps in my cat’s ear and how should they be treated?

Original Question: I have a question about these bluish grey bumps in my cat’s ears. I've been told they are ear polyps, is that true? I would like to know what you think they are and how they can be treated. Thank you - Kelli

What are the bluish-grey bumps in my cat’s ear and how should they be treated? Mar 1, 2018

Hi Kelli,

Ear polyps are usually large and tend to bleed from time to time – usually a cat would only have 1 polyp rather than multiple.

What I think you’re dealing with is ‘ceruminous gland hyperplasia’ – these would be numerous (5-10) small bluish grey bumps in the ear.  Since they are oil secreting you usually get a chronic dirty ear.

Permanent or semi-permanent treatment is cryosurgery or laser surgery to remove them but they could grow back and quite frankly I’ve never seen the need in these cases to go to that extreme.

There is extremely recent discussion amongst specialists about using something called TCA – trichloroacetic acid – and putting this in the ear.  I have never seen or used this before.  I would start by having your vet call what’s called a ‘compounding pharmacy’ to make some up if they have it and I would try this.  I have used Burow’s before and although it doesn’t really resolve the problem, it keeps it at bay – Burow’s solution is an anti-inflammatory for the ear.  The biggest issue with this is the maintenance.  I would just keep up a good ear cleaning regime and use courses of burow’s from time to time – like apply the burow’s in each ear twice a day for 5 days, then repeat this a few weeks later or whenever it looks a bit inflamed or crusty.

Hope this helps.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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