Ceruminous cystomatosis is is a rare neoplastic skin disease of the feline ear of unknown etiology. It may develop as a sequela to otitis externa, a senile degenerative change or, in some cases, a congenital condition. The most common neoplasm of the ear canal is ceruminal gland in origin.

Whatever the cause, my cat had these bluish purplish cysts in her ears for nearly as long as I could remember, however over time they were worsening. They didn’t seem painful, but they were itchy and did irritate her, so Dr. Spinks recommended cryosurgery.

Cryosurgery is a surgical technique which utilizes liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide to freeze unwanted tissue and consequently destroys it. The tissue which is frozen may take up to 4 weeks to fall off or dissolve but fortunately there is very little discomfort to the pet during this process. This past June, Coriander (my cat) went in for her cryosurgery. We did biopsy one of the cysts to confirm the visual diagnosis, and the rest were frozen off. Today she went back in for her two week checkup. 

While the first few days she was uncomfortable, the cysts are now drying up and shrinking, and starting to slough off. The one on her lip, an unusual location for this type of cyst, was the first to fall off at just a week post freezing. The hope is that the rest of the cysts continue to slough off in the days and weeks ahead and that pretty soon her ears are cyst-free.

You can read more about cryosurgery from this holistic vet Dr. Simon, who is based in Michigan. The Centre for Veterinary Education at the University of Sydney in Australia discusses treatment of ceruminous cystomatosis through the use of a CO2 laser, which is another option that can be effective. The biggest benefit of the cryosurgery is that because of the extreme cold, it also freezes the nerve endings, resulting in little to no pain sensation in the treatment area, even after the procedure is complete and the site is healing.