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White blisters in cat's ears.

Species: Cat
Breed: Mixed
Age: More than 15 ye
My cat has a number of small white "blisters" on her ears. She repeatedly scratches and shakes her head, more than is normal for a cat. What is wrong with her? She's 16 years old with kidney disease. The local vet checked her for parasites and found none. They're pretty baffled as to what it could be. We give her Epakitin for kidney disease and the occasional hairball ointment. We have given both to her for about two years without any adverse reaction.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hmm...I can't say that I have seen something similar to what you are describing. If you are able to get a picture of these blisters you can send it to photos@askavetquestion.com. Perhaps that will help.

I'm wondering if she perhaps has an autoimmune disease like pemphigus? This is not very common but can cause blisters in the ears. If this is the case then she may benefit from receiving steroids.

There are some cysts that cats can get in their ears called ceruminous cysts. However, these are usually kind of purple in color and not itchy.

I wish I could give you more info. If you are able to send a picture then I'll see if I can add any more.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

I just sent two photos. I hope you can tell something from them. They're very hard to photograph, particularly since there's a lot of contrast between her skin and fur. From what I can tell, they're mostly on the backs of her ears. Our local vet also said she noticed one or two around the mouth, which we haven't been able to detect. Each one is about two or three millimeters wide and feels hard to the touch. I should also note that her fur is matted because we've been applying some ointment our vet gave us. That ear in particular is rather bare from scratching. When she scratches, it's above the eyes and behind the ears. She also loves to have the inside of her ears rubbed, but we've been trying not to do that ever since this became an issue- just in case. Also the red marks are from a scraping the vet did to check for parasites- she nicked some of the lumps.

Overall Isis is getting by very well for her age and considering she has KD. She eats well and even plays now and then. But her poor ears have really had it hard. I should also note that she's strictly an indoor cat, if that matters.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for the photos. These are definitely not normal lesions.

I would highly consider asking your vet about the possibility of an autoimmune disease such as pemphigus or vasculitis. Vasculitis is usually a reaction to a medication, but sometimes the cause is unknown. We don't know why cats get pemphigus. In either case, steroids may help. In order to get a diagnosis you may need to have a biopsy done.

An allergic reaction could possibly cause lesions like this, but I think an autoimmune condition would be more likely.

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.