Buddy & Porky’s Pet Health: Swelling Ears

Dear Porky:

My cat has a swelling on its ear tip. What is it and what is causing it?


Dear Lisa:

It sounds like your cat has what is known as an aural hematoma. The ear flap becomes swollen from excessive scratching. The cause of the scratching could be several things, all of which point to some sort of ear infection or infestation. Cats are susceptible to ear mites, especially if they go outside. They contract these mites from contact with other cats that have them. Medicine prescribed by your vet can clear the ears of mites and there is now a preventative medication, Revolution, that helps keep the mites in check. If your cat is shaking it’s head and you can see an icky black discharge, chances are good that mites are the cause. See your vet. Left untreated, mites can lead to permanent damage. He or she will decide if the hematoma needs lancing at the same time that the mites are being treated. If it turns out that mites aren’t the cause of scratching and swelling, a proper diagnosis and treatment can be made.

Dear Buddy:

What do I do for my dog who has snowballs on his feet when he comes in the house? They are really stuck on and I am not sure how to get them off and keep my house from being soaked by just letting them thaw. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Spring is pretty far off still.


Dear Karen:

It’s that time of year when all of us carry snow into the house on our feet. Unfortunately, the snowballs can cause trouble for dogs, especially if they are old and arthritic. Those snowballs can be heavy and they are just plain uncomfortable.

There are several things you can do to make them less of a problem. Trim the fur around the legs and feet with blunt scissors. A trick that dog sledders use is to spray the feet with a nonstick cooking spray before you go for your walk to prevent the snow from sticking. Then you just wash the legs and feet upon returning home with tepid water to remove any spray. A light coating of Vaseline has also been used. Just remember to clean it off upon returning home. Booties are also a preventative idea. Sure they look a little stupid, but human wear all kinds of goofy looking things in the winter, so why not dogs? Make sure they fit snugly, but not so tight as to cut circulation.

If your dog comes in with the snowballs, use tepid, never hot, water to thaw the snow. And don’t let him chew at the snowballs. Irritation can develop and you can get a host of problems. A hairdryer on low heat is another remedy. Remember, with this frigid weather, all pets should have the shelter they need, preferably curled up on the couch with you, damp feet and all. Spring is coming eventually!

Speaking of ways to beat the cold weather, come adopt a cuddly WARM new pet at the “Warm Up Oswego” Adoption Day on Saturday, February 5th, 2011 from 11 to 2 pm at the Oswego/YMCA Armory, 265 West First Street, Oswego. There will be lots of new pets to meet and admire and maybe take home, coffee and cookies, treats for kids, and lots of other “Warm Up Oswego” activities to take part in.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:[email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org.