Ear Hematoma in Cats

Ear Hematoma in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Ear Hematoma in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Ear Hematoma?

The visible outer area of the ear that is affected by a hematoma plays an important role in hearing function. It collects sound waves, concentrates them, and funnels into the middle and inner ear. While it is possible that an ear hematoma can resolve on its own, the condition causes significant discomfort and takes a minimum of several weeks to heal. If you notice that your cat is displaying possible symptoms, a prompt visit to the vet is warranted.

Ear hematoma, also called aural hematoma or auricular hematoma, is a common ear problem in cats. It is a painful condition that results when a blood vessel ruptures and blood and fluid fill the area between the skin and cartilage in the ear. A moderate to severe swelling of the ear can occur within minutes of rupture. If not treated promptly, the condition can result in permanent deformity.

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Ear Hematoma Average Cost

From 519 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Ear Hematoma in Cats

The primary symptom of ear hematoma is a swelling of the outer area of the ear. This can range from a slight bulge to an extreme swelling that resembles a balloon. The condition typically occurs on only one ear. The cat will likely display signs of pain, exhibit scratching and head shaking, and may tilt the head to one side.

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Causes of Ear Hematoma in Cats

Ear hematomas are almost always preceded by another medical condition. The most common causes are:

  • Chronic ear infections
  • Ear mites 
  • Chronic allergies
  • Immune disorder
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Blunt trauma to skull
  • Deep wounds (most often resulting from fights with other cats)
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Diagnosis of Ear Hematoma in Cats

Ear hematoma in cats is easy to diagnose with a physical examination. Discovering and properly treating the underlying cause is necessary to avoid recurrence.

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Treatment of Ear Hematoma in Cats

It is recommended that you seek veterinary attention for ear hematomas as soon as possible. Small hematomas often grow in size, and the larger the hematoma, the longer it will take to heal. Treating the condition quickly will result in a better chance for full recovery. 

The pain caused by an ear hematoma will likely subside in a few days. If left untreated the ear will eventually reabsorb the fluid, and the condition will resolve itself. However, this is not recommended. The affected area will continue to be swollen and scar tissue will develop, leaving behind an unsightly condition that is referred to as “cauliflower ear.” 

There are several treatment options available. Your veterinarian will decide which is right depending on the size of the hematoma, the length of time the ear has been affected, and his or her personal preference.

Surgery with Sutures

Surgery with sutures is the most common treatment for ear hematoma in cats. The cat is placed under anesthesia and a small cut is made to the underside of the ear. The fluid is allowed to drain out and multiple sutures are placed in the affected area. This not only treats the hematoma but also helps to prevent reoccurrence. The ear may or may not be bandaged after surgery. Stitches are removed in 2-3 weeks and as long as the underlying condition has been properly treated the animal has a good chance at full recovery. 

Surgery Without Sutures

This method is very similar to the one above, with the exception of the use of sutures. After the ear has drained it is taped over a rolled bandage and left to heal. Owners will be required to be more vigilant with aftercare due to the fact that the wound has not been closed. This option is commonly used on show cats as there is less of a chance of ear deformity following treatment.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Your veterinarian may choose this option if the hematoma is very small. A needle is inserted into the affected area to remove the fluid and a drainage tube may be inserted. This method is less effective and leaves a greater chance that the hematoma will reoccur. It is usually only recommended for animals that can’t tolerate general anesthesia.

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Recovery of Ear Hematoma in Cats

Following surgery, cats will likely be provided with pain control medications. Tranquilizers may also be used to keep the animal calm. A cone-shaped Elizabethan collar, or “e-collar”, may be placed over the head to avoid scratching or irritating the surgical site. This should be kept on until the wound is completely healed. Bandages must be kept clean and dry, and a trip to the vet may be necessary if the bandage gets wet or is otherwise damaged. Follow-up visits are needed to ensure that the condition is healing properly and that the underlying cause has been eliminated. Full recovery typically occurs in two to three weeks. If ear scratching or head shaking reoccurs, a return visit to the veterinarian will be necessary to address the underlying cause.

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Ear Hematoma Average Cost

From 519 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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Ear Hematoma Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Pumpkin

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Long hair orange tabby

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4 Years

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39 found helpful

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39 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Swelling

My cat has a hematoma on his right ear and holds his ear down. Just happened today. He is also known for scratching his ears and picking fights with his cat sister. Can I treat this at home?

Aug. 17, 2018

Pumpkin's Owner

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39 Recommendations

Some aural haematomas may self resolve since with time the haematoma will be broken down by the body and resorbed, however some cases may need surgical correction since a cat may paw too much at the ear causing secondary issues or may head shake as well. Regardless, it is best to see your Veterinarian first and then see from there. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 17, 2018

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Lucky

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DOMESTIC

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10 Years

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11 found helpful

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11 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Ear Keeps Refilling Fluid

about three weeks ago we took Lucky to the vet. They said he had Hematoma they put a shunt in to drain the ear. However, it keeps filling with blood. The vet said keep the hole open (scab keeps closing it) can I keep draining it myself or take back to the vet. and how can I keep it properly its hard to remove scab. I try warm cloth but

Aug. 4, 2018

Lucky's Owner

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11 Recommendations

Sometimes the drain holes do scab up and they can be difficult to remove, a warm damp cloth like you’re using is best but you may need to hold it there for a minute or two to help loosen the scab for removal. You should return to your Veterinarian if you’re having further issues to discuss what else can be done in the meantime especially if there is no decrease in swelling. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 5, 2018

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Ear Hematoma Average Cost

From 519 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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