What Is An Ear Hematoma?
An ear - or aural - hematoma, is a blood blister that develops within the cartilage and skin of your pup's ear.
They are often caused by self-inflicted trauma due to your dog excessively scratching at its ears, but other injuries or trauma to the ear can cause a hematoma as well. The trauma to the ear causes the small blood vessels in the pinna (the ear flap) to break and leak internally causing blood-filled swelling.
This condition is commonly seen in dogs that suffer from chronic ear infections that cause them to frequently scratch and paw at their ears. Ear infections in dogs are commonly seen in dogs with long, floppy ears; dogs that spend a lot of time in water; and dogs that suffer from untreated allergies that cause skin irritation.
What Does A Hematoma Look Like?
With an ear hematoma, your dog’s ear flap will be swollen. In severe cases, the whole ear flap may be affected and the weight of the blood may cause the ear flap to droop or hang lower than it usually does.
Hematomas can feel firm or squishy to the touch depending on their size and location. They are often painful and your dog will probably not want to have its ear touched.
Dog Ear Hematoma Surgery
The best way to treat a hematoma is through a surgical procedure that has two goals: to drain the hematoma and then prevent it from forming again. There are a few different techniques a veterinarian will use based on their personal preference, but the overview of the surgery is the same.
To begin, the hematoma will be surgically drained and any blood clots will be removed. Next, the vet will remove the empty or "dead" space in your pet's ear flap that was filling with blood. This is done by putting numerous sutures through the ear to promote scar tissue formation and reattach the cartilage to the skin.
Dog Ear Hematoma Surgery Recovery
The healing time for hematoma removal is about two weeks.
While your pup may be sore for the first few days following surgery, your vet will give you pet-friendly medications and inflammation medicine to help. They will also provide antibiotics if needed.
Your dog may have a drainage tube placed in its ear following surgery to help with healing. This will be removed by your vet 3 - 14 days following the procedure. They will also likely be given an e-collar or Elizabethan collar to prevent them from scratching at their ears while they heal.
Be sure to follow your vet's instructions on proper home care and monitor your pup's ear for signs of infection, such as could smelling discharge or swelling that doesn't appear to be going down.
Preventing Further Hematomas
To prevent further hematomas from forming, the underlying cause of your dog's ear irritation must be treated. Without treating the underlying cause, your dog is likely to resume scratching and pawing at its ears and risking further complications.
Be sure to follow up with your veterinarian so they can perform the appropriate diagnostic tests to get to the bottom of your pup's ear condition.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
Do you suspect your dog has a hematoma? Contact our South Wilton vets today to book an appointment.
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