Our vets at Diamond Bar frequently treat dogs with ear hematomas, which can cause significant pain. Do you know what ear hematomas are, what leads to their development, and what signs to watch out for? Keep reading to discover more about aural hematomas in dogs and how to respond if your dog is suffering from one.
What Are Dog Ear Hematomas (Aural Hematomas)?
A hematoma is a blood-filled pocket that develops in a tissue or organ called a 'blood blister.' Aural hematomas or dog ear hematomas occur between the skin and cartilage of your dog's ear flap or pinna, causing swelling that can affect the whole ear flap or just a part.
It is crucial to get your dog examined by a vet immediately if they display any symptoms of an ear hematoma. They can be very painful and lead to scarring that blocks the ear canal, impacting their hearing.
What Causes Ear Hematomas In Dogs?
When the blood vessels between your dog's ear skin and cartilage are damaged, bleeding under the skin leads to a hematoma.
The majority of ear hematomas in dogs are caused by self-inflicted injuries resulting from scratching or intense head shaking caused by ear irritation.
Ear irritation in dogs can be triggered by allergies, inflammation, parasites, trauma (bites or other injuries), foreign objects in the ear, or immune-mediated disease.
What are the signs of ear hematomas in dogs?
If your dog has an ear hematoma you will first notice soft, warm swelling on the inside of your dog's ear flap. In the later stages, this soft swelling will give way to scar tissue, resulting in the hard, distorted appearance of the 'cauliflower' ear.
How Are Ear Hematomas In Dogs Treated?
The ideal treatment option for your dog's ear hematoma depends on their specific case, and your vet can suggest the best course of action.
In certain cases, draining the area and injecting a steroid might be recommended to treat a dog's ear hematoma. However, this treatment may require repetition.
Surgery is usually the fastest and most efficient way to treat ear hematomas in dogs.
How Is Ear Hematoma Surgery On Dogs Performed?
The surgery for ear hematoma in dogs has three steps:
First, the accumulated blood in the ear flap is drained by making small incisions at each end of the hematoma and inserting a drain tube or completely opening up the hematoma.
Next, the veterinary surgeon will close the pocket where the blood accumulated by stitching the skin on both sides of the ear flap to the cartilage.
Finally, to prevent your dog from further injuring its ear by shaking or scratching, the ear is bandaged directly against its head or supported with a bandage.
Is There A Follow-up Required?
Depending on your dog's unique case, bandages, and draining tubes will be removed at some point within about 14 days.
Any drainage holes still apparent in your dog's ear from the surgery will be left to heal on their own.
If your dog's ear has healed sufficiently after 14 days stitches will be removed, however, it is not uncommon for stitches to be left in place for longer.
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.
If you've spotted a hematoma on your dog's ear, contact us immediately to schedule an examination for your pup. At Diamond Bar Veterinary Clinic our vets take pride in improving the health of Diamond Bar pets.