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Black bumps in cat's ear.

Species: Cat
Breed: short hair cat
Age: 11-15 years
My friend has 3 cats (all unrelated) out of her 6 cats, that all have melanoma's in their ears. They are blackish grey growths. My friend can't afford to do surgery, even if that is an option. I feel bad for the cats, because they seem to bother them. They will sometimes scratch and rub on their ears, so I think they must itch. I took a picture and am going to email it to you.
I was wondering if you might have any suggestions for her.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for the great picture of these black bumps in your friend's cats' ears:

black bumps in cat's ear

Have these been diagnosed as melanomas? Because they look much more like something called ceruminous cysts.

Ceruminous cysts can appear in cats when there are chronic ear problems. If I had a client who had several cats in one household that had ceruminous cysts then I would wonder if ear mites were present because this would be a contagious reason for chronic ear problems. The chronic irritation in the ear can lead to these cysts.

Sometimes ceruminous cysts can be treated with a prescription steroid medication in the ear but sometimes they do need surgery to go away.

There are other things that could cause lesions like this such as certain types of cancers but it would be extremely unusual to see this in three cats at one time.

I would highly advise that at least one cat sees the vet and gets checked for ear mites. If they have chronic ear mites then it may be necessary to use a prescription strength ear mite product on every cat in the house otherwise they will keep passing the mites to each other.

The vet can decide whether steroids may help the ear as well.

I hope things improve soon!

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. 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:

Hi Dr. Marie,
Thank you so much for your reply.
Her cats do not have ear mites. My friend said that she had had her cats to a vet and he said melanoma. He did not do any tests, so maybe it was just a guess. I told her about your reply regarding ceruminous cysts and I just googled it.
The picture on this link does look like the growths in her cats ears.
As I had said, she cannot afford surgery, she is on disability, so I am not sure if she will proceed with anything. I guess I was hoping there might be something topical (maybe a numbing affect) or maybe a shot that could be given to them to ease the discomfort/itchiness.
Let me know if you have any suggestions.
Thanks again!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm not sure what else I can suggest. A topical steroid may help but this would need to be prescribed by a vet.

I wish I could add more!

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.