A nasopharyngeal polyp is a common non-cancerous growth in the middle ear. As the polyps grow, they can extend down the tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the throat, and can block the mouth and nose.
Young cats are most commonly affected.
These polyps may be caused by:
- Inflammation from an ear infection
Signs will depend on the location of the polyp:
- Pharynx (back of throat): difficulty breathing, snoring, difficulty eating and swallowing
- Middle ear: difficulty balancing, hearing and neurological problems
- Ear canal: bad odor from the ear
- Nasal passage: nasal discharge
To properly diagnose your cat with a nasopharyngeal polyp, your veterinarian may perform the following:
- Physical exam: ear canal and mouth (usually requires sedation)
- X-rays: of the skull
- Polyp biopsy: to confirm the diagnosis
Most veterinarians advise that polyps must be removed by either one of two methods:
- Plucking: if the polyps are at the back of the throat, you veterinarian can pluck them out; however, it can grow back if the entire mass is not removed
- Surgery: your veterinarian will cut into the middle ear and remove the polyps. You may need to give your cat antibiotics for a few weeks following surgery
There is no known preventative for this condition.
Most cats are fine after surgery; some have temporary complications, like trouble blinking.
In most cases, it is impossible to remove the entire polyp and it may grow back.