Prevalence Of Clinical And Subclinical Middle Ear Disease In Cats Undergoing Computed Tomographic Scans Of The Head

Shanaman M, Seiler G, Holt DE.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2012;53:76-79.

Three hundred and ten cats that had CT imaging of the head between January 2000 and December 2007 were evaluated retrospectively. Data that were recorded included signalment, presenting complaint, clinical signs, presence of upper respiratory tract disease, and CT findings. One hundred and one cats had evidence of middle ear disease on CT. Thirty-four of the 101 cats (34%) did not have a primary complaint of ear-related disease, clinical signs or physical findings consistent with ear disease, suggesting that the middle ear disease was subclinical. Twenty-seven of the 34 cats (79%) had concurrent nasal disease. Middle ear lesions were chronic in appearance. With the exception of tympanic bulla lysis, CT findings were similar in cats presenting with primary aural disease versus cats with presumptive subclinical middle ear disease. The majority of the cats did not return for treatment of the identified middle ear abnormalities. Subclinical middle ear disease is relatively frequent in cats undergoing CT imaging of the head. Few cats required subsequent treatment for ear disease although follow up was limited. Identification of subclinical middle ear abnormalities on CT should prompt acquisition of a detailed patient history and bilateral otoscopic examination.