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Dog Ear Hematoma

What is a dog ear hematoma?
A hematoma is a localized mass of blood that is confined within an organ or tissue. This is simply a “blood blister”. The most common type of hematoma in the dog is that affecting the pinna or ear flap. This is called an aural or ear hematoma.

Why does an ear hematoma in dogs occur?
Ear hematomas occur when a blood vessel in the ear bursts and bleeds into the space between the ear cartilage and skin. This is most commonly associated with trauma such as Dog Ear Hematomascratching or shaking the ears and bite wounds. Dogs with long, floppy ears are at greater risk for developing ear hematomas. Pets with clotting or bleeding disorders may also develop hematomas, with or without a history of trauma.

What can be done for a canine ear hematoma?
It is important to treat the underlying cause. The majority of cases are associated with an ear infection. This often causes scratching and head shaking leading to hematoma formation. The hematoma must be treated as soon as possible or permanent disfigurement may result.

The preferred method of treatment involves surgical correction of the hematoma. This usually involves incising and draining the hematoma, removing blood clots and suturing or bandaging the ear to help prevent future recurrence.

If it is a blood blister, won’t it disappear with time, just like a bruise?
If left untreated, the surrounding ear tissues will die due to lack of blood supply and result in a knurled, cauliflower-shaped ear. Additionally, this condition will produce intense pain and should be corrected as soon as possible.

Can you just drain the swelling?
Drainage may result in a temporary correction, but the hematoma returns in the vast majority of cases. The longer the hematoma is left untreated the greater the likelihood of permanent damage to the ear.

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Any information contained on this site relating to various medical, health and fitness conditions of pets and their treatment is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

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