Nasopharyngeal polyps are benign, pendulous masses that are associated with chronic ear infections in cats. These polyps normally arise within the throat region and extend into the latter part of the nasal cavity.
They may grow to significant sizes and actually interfere with the normal flow of air into the trachea and respiratory airways, causing breathing difficulties.
Clinical signs associated with nasopharyngeal polyps in cats include noisy breathing sounds, sneezing, nasal discharge, and swallowing difficulties. If the polyps arising from the ear canal are large enough, vestibular signs including head tilting, head shaking, incoordination, and falling may also be associated with this condition.
Diagnosis of nasopharyngeal polyps can usually be definitively made on visual examination of the oral cavity of cats suspected of having this disease. Treatment involves surgical removal of the polyps.
However, such a procedure is not without its potential complications. Because of the number of nerve fibers that course through the middle ear canal, surgical removal of polyps can lead to localized nerve damage.
Such damage can lead to side effects such as paralysis of the muscles of the face and excessive drooling.