What is Ear Hematoma?
A hematoma refers to swelling caused by broken blood vessels after bleeding in a tissue. Auricular, or ear hematomas, are fluid-filled swellings that appear on the concave surfaces of the ears of dogs, cats, and even pigs. This condition is more common in cats than dogs. Although the cause of the disease is unknown, it is believed to stem from head shaking and ear scratching.
Otitis externa is a condition that causes a dog to have a ringing in its ears. This refers to inflammation or infection of the external auditory channel, the auricle, or both. Otitis externa requires treatment and surgery to correct ear hematomas.
Fluid-filled pockets located inside the earflap are called ear hematomas. If vessels burst, they bleed underneath the skin to form a fluid-filled pocket. Although ear hematomas are more common in dogs with floppy ears, they can also occur in other breeds. An ear problem in a dog’s ears is often quite apparent. A quick visit to a veterinarian will confirm the presence of bleeding.
Ear Hematoma in Dogs
Pruritus is a condition that causes itching in animals. This condition can cause a soft, fluid-filled swelling of one or both ears in dogs. The earflap may feel shaky because it is partially or fully swollen with blood. It will vary in size, and in some cases, it could be so large that the ear canal becomes blocked. The earflap can cause permanent changes in the shape and weight of the ears.
Causes for Ear Hematoma In Dogs
- Trauma and otitis externe – Otitis externa can cause head shaking which, in turn, can lead to trauma. Head shaking can lead to the separation of the outer ear cartilage skin, which can cause vessel rupture and hematoma formation. Hematomas can be present in cases that do not involve significant ear diseases or trauma and may also be absent in extreme otitis externa, pruritus, or points of Sarcoptes infestation.
- Autoimmunity- Based on the testing of 40 dogs affected, Kuwahara suggested that an immune-mediated process caused the formation of aural hematomas. All evidence has not supported this theory.
Diagnostics of Ear Hematoma In Dogs
Ear hematoma can be diagnosed by the presence of soft ear swelling, either unilaterally or bilaterally. This swelling may be filled with bloody fluid or blood. The veterinarian will take a sample from the bump with the fine-needle aspiration to diagnose ear hematoma. It is also essential to determine the cause of the condition. Otitis externa is characterized by a foul odor, excess secretion, or inflammation. An otoscope is used to examine the canal. To determine the cause of the otitis, bacterial culture or other laboratory analysis may be necessary.
Treatment for Ear Hematoma in Dogs
An underlying ear infection must be treated.
Mild hematomas can be drained with a needle, but refills are ordinary. The injection of steroids into the area may prevent it from being refilled.
Oar hematomas are usually treated surgically. General anesthesia is required for this procedure. It involves an incision in one ear to drain any fluid between the skin and the cartilage. Several sutures are placed parallel to your incision to minimize damage to the ear blood vessels and promote adhesion between the skin and the ear cartilage. To allow drainage, the incision will be left open. Some veterinarians may place a pressure wrap on the ear to facilitate drainage and prevent fluid accumulation for seven days. In cats, pressure wraps are not necessary and often not tolerated. After the surgery, sutures will be removed within 14-21 days. If necessary, the veterinarian will prescribe pain medication and antibiotics.
The procedure is safe for animals and has a good prognosis. However, general anesthesia can pose risks as with any other surgical procedure. Early intervention and diagnosis are critical to a successful outcome. You must contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice signs of an ear hemorrhage.