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 frequently observed in dogs with chronic ear infections, which prompt them to repeatedly scratch and paw at their ears. Dogs with long, floppy ears, dogs who spend a lot of time in the water, and dogs who have untreated allergies that irritate their skin are at an increased risk of developing ear infections.
What Does A Hematoma Look Like?
The ear flap on your dog will be swollen if they have an ear hematoma. The entire ear flap may be affected in severe cases, and the blood's weight may cause the ear flap to hang lower than usual.
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.
First, any blood clots will be surgically removed and the hematoma will be surgically drained. The empty or "dead" space in your pet's ear flap that was once filled with blood will then be removed by the veterinarian. In order to encourage the formation of scar tissue and reattach the cartilage to the skin, this is accomplished by inserting numerous sutures through the ear.
If you're worried about the cost of your dog's ear hematoma surgery, contact your vet and they should be able to give you an estimate.
Dog Ear Hematoma Surgery Recovery
The healing time for dogs after ear hematoma surgery 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.
What to Expect After Dog Ear Hematoma Surgery
Following surgery, your dog might have a drainage tube put in its ear to aid in the healing process. 3 to 14 days after the procedure, your veterinarian will remove this. To stop them from picking at their ears as they heal, they'll probably also be given an electronic collar or an Elizabethan collar.
Be sure to follow your vet's instructions on proper home care and monitor your dog’s ear for signs of infection, such as cold smelling discharge or swelling that doesn't appear to be going down.
Preventing Further Hematomas
It is essential to address the root cause of your dog's ear irritation in order to stop the development of additional hematomas. Without addressing the underlying issue, your dog is likely to start pawing and scratching at its ears once more, increasing the risk of further problems.
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.