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What is Ear Hematoma?

A hematoma is defined as swelling created by a broken blood vessel after bleeding has occurred inside a tissue. Auricular or ear hematomas are fluid-filled swellings of various sizes that develop on the concave surface of ear of dogs, cats, and pigs. The condition is more common in dogs than cats. The pathogenesis for the development of the lesions is not completely understood, but head shaking or ear scratching due to itching is thought to be the main cause. In dogs, the condition is frequently related to the presence of otitis externa (inflammation or infection of the external auditory canal, the auricle, or both). Treatment of ear hematomas usually requires a surgical intervention and medication to treat otitis externa. Ear hematoma's are fluid-filled pockets on the inside of the earflap. When something causes vessels to rupture, they bleed under the skin and form a fluid-filled pocket. Ear hematoma's are commonly seen in floppy-eared dogs, but they can occur in any breed. A problem with a dogs ear is usually quite visible and a quick check-in with a veterinarian can confirm presence of a hematoma.

Ear Hematoma Average Cost

From 109 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Ear Hematoma in Dogs

Dogs with this condition will present a soft fluid-filled swelling in one or the two ears. The earflap will feel fluctuant, like a water balloon because it may be partially or completely swell with blood. The swelling will vary in size, in some cases it may be so large that the opening of the ear canal is blocked. The extra weight of the earflap may be uncomfortable for the animal and it may lead to a permanent change in the shape of the ears. Most animals will show signs of pruritus (itching) like head shaking and ear scratching.

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Causes of Ear Hematoma in Dogs

  • Otitis externa and trauma

    - It is thought that the presence of otitis externa leads to head shaking, which in turn, can lead to trauma. Head shaking can cause separation of the skin of the external ear cartilage, leading to vessel rupture and hematoma formation. However, hematomas may be found in cases where there is no obvious ear disease or trauma and be absent in cases of extreme otitis externa or pruritus, for example, in cases of Sarcoptes infestation.

  • Autoimmunity

    - In 1986 Kuwahara proposed that the development of aural hematoma formation was due to an immune mediated process, based on the results of testing 40 affected dogs. However, there has been contradictory evidence for this theory.

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Diagnosis of Ear Hematoma in Dogs

Diagnosis of ear hematoma is based on the presence of unilateral or bilateral soft ear swelling that is filled with blood or bloody fluid. The veterinarian will collect a sample of the fluid inside of the swelling using fine needle aspiration in order to make the diagnosis. In addition, it is important to diagnose what is causing the condition. Otitis externa can be diagnosed if there is bad odor on the ears, excessive secretion, and/or inflammation. A bacterial culture and other laboratory analysis may be needed to determine what is causing the otitis and to choose the best treatment option available.

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Treatment of Ear Hematoma in Dogs

Ear hematomas usually require surgical treatment. The surgery requires general anesthesia and consists of making an incision in the affected ear in order to drain all the fluid that has been accumulated between the skin and the auricular cartilage. Several sutures (the amount will vary depending on the size of the hematoma) are placed parallel to the line of incision to minimize the chance of damaging the ear blood vessels and to promote adhesion of the skin to the ear cartilage. The incision will remain open to allow drainage of the ear. Some veterinarians will place a pressure wrap for seven days on the ear to promote further drainage and prevent re-accumulation of fluid in the ear. Pressure wraps following surgery is not usually required in cats, and is not often tolerated. Sutures will be removed 14-21 days after the surgery. The veterinarian will prescribe pain medication, antibiotics and other medication required to treat otitis externa, if present.

This procedure is relatively safe and animals have a good prognosis, however, there are some risks associated to general anesthesia as with any other surgery. Early diagnosis and intervention ensures a good outcome so it is essential to contact the veterinarian as soon as you observe signs of ear hematoma.

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Recovery of Ear Hematoma in Dogs

After the surgery the veterinarian will give you indications about the postoperative care and monitoring. Some of the recommendations may include:

  • The ear canal should be cleaned, dried and treated with an appropriate medication at the end of the procedure.
  • Clean the incision and massage out any small pockets of fluid that accumulate postoperatively.
  • Using an Elizabethan collar until the sutures are removed and the hematoma and otitis externa are resolved.
  • Adequate treatment and consistent follow-up of otitis externa, if present.

The prognosis for resolution of aural hematomas is good, but recurrence is more likely if underlying otitis externa is not treated and controlled. Once a hematoma has occurred in one ear, the other ear should be closely examined for otitis. Adequate treatment of otitis externa and close monitoring is essential to prevent pruritus and head shaking, which may lead to recurrent ear hematoma development.

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Ear Hematoma Average Cost

From 109 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$500

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Ear Hematoma Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Tugg

dog-breed-icon

German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking

We live in Costa Rica and are concerned that the care we received for our dog might be archaic. This article was very helpful. We are concerned because no pain medication was prescribed. Also, she sleeps on the opposite side of the ear that had surgery, will fluid drain into that ear and cause further infection? Would putting a cottonball in her esr when she sleeps be a good idea? And last, we live in a very tropical environment, our house is very open, no a/c. We arw concerned about bacteria and further infection, how do we prevent that.

May 17, 2018

Tugg's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If Tugg had surgery for a hematoma, she should be on pain medications, oral antibiotics, and a topical antibiotic if needed. Without seeing her or her surgery site, I'm not sure that I can comment on her individual situation, but those things are basic standards of care for surgery, typically. I hope that all goes well for her!

May 17, 2018

It’s like the stoneage here, they don’t give pain medication for animals and looked at me like I am crazy for asking. They did prescribe an antibiotic and a topical antibiotic (i think... it’s a spray that is silver). They also didn’t give me detailed instructions pn how to clean the wound, only said clean it twice a day. It’s so frustrating.

May 18, 2018

Tugg's Owner

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Dexter

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Cocker Spaniel

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Swelling Still Present

My cocker spaniel got a hematoma and had surgery 10 days ago. His ear is draining and I am cleaning the surrounding areas daily due to the draining. My concern is that the base of his ear is still swollen. Is that normal? I go no post op care except to flush it, if necessary. I read above massaging the pockets may be good. I never did that.

May 1, 2018

Dexter's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Normally I don’t like massaging of the ear since it may cause the bleeding to start again; you should have been given instructions from your Veterinarian on discharge from the clinic, you should call them for clarification as Dexter is under their duty of care. Continue to keep the area clean and any remaining blood should be absorbed by the body with time. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 2, 2018

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Dume

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German Pointer

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking

Good day, my dog (German whirehaired pointer) has aural hematoma. He is 13 years old and we wonder if he will survive anesthesia. It is really bothering and if anesthesia is dangerous is there an alternative Can you advise pls

April 27, 2018

Dume's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

When it comes to anaesthesia, age is a concern but it is more important for a dog to be fit for anaesthesia which means to pass a physical examination and a pre anaesthetic blood test monitoring blood counts, liver and kidney function. Surgery is the best course of action in these cases, you should discuss with your Veterinarian about anaesthesia and surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 27, 2018

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Rocco

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Labarador

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Ear Flap

What about the homeopathic tablets Sulpher 30x and to bandage the dogs ear? I read that some people were successful with this. I have a Labrador with a big hematoma and I want to try this. I alraedy treated the ear mites - the cause of the head shaking.

March 23, 2018

Rocco's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Homeopathy has been proven consistently to be ineffective with the one scientific published study proving its efficacy not being able to be reproduced; you can by all means try this approach as it wouldn’t cause any harm but I would recommend you visit your Veterinarian for the haematoma to be drained properly. If you leave the haematoma long enough and it doesn’t bleed anymore, the body will break it down and reabsorb it. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.independent.co.uk/news/science/homeopathy-treatments-must-be-labelled-to-say-they-do-not-work-us-government-orders-a7429776.html www.ted.com/talks/james_randi/discussion

March 23, 2018

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Kitty

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Dachshund

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

My dog had a hematoma and it was removed yesterday. She is trying to remove the plaster on her ear by flapping her ear vigorously or rubbing that ear in any surface. Does her such actions will have a negative impact on her ear? Or will such actions increase the chance of a further hematoma? From today morning onwards she is forcefully exhaling. Is that normal? After how many days she can have a bath? Is rubbing her body with some antiseptics are advisable to avoid bad smell?

Dec. 13, 2017

Kitty's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Kitty will think that there is something on her ear (there is - the plaster/bandage/dressing) which she is trying to shake free, this is not uncommon but may cause a recurrence of the haematoma which may require another surgery. You should try to keep her calm and try to pet her to induce a state of calm; if your Veterinarian has instructed you to change the dressing you can clean it with a dilute antiseptic but should wait a few days before bathing her. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Dec. 13, 2017

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Maya

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Labernese

dog-age-icon

11 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Ear Flap, Hot To Touc Touch

My dog has a swollen and hot left ear flap, like a water balloon. It doesn't seem like she is in pain though. When we touch it she doesn't seem to care. She has not been shaking or itching so I have no idea if is really a hematoma or just swollen from a bug bite or something?

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Dixie

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

dog-age-icon

14 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking
Hearing Loss
Loss Of Balance
Head Tilting

My poor girl has had 2 aural hematomas in 2 years, 1 in each ear. The first surgery she was 12 and they stitched the ear all around and used small peices of tubing throughout the ear with stitches running through them. It took 3 months for ear infection and hematoma to heal with antibiotics,azthromisin ointment, ear drops and wound wash. So after excessive treatment at home and monthly trips to vet for them to put other medications in ear and $800 later she was healed ear looks fine. The 2nd hematoma was 4 months ago and was just as bad swole up over night and it was a Saturday so had to wait until Monday for vet to open which is her new vet because the other closed down... they do the surgery that day and had her ear completely wrapped up so I couldn't see, wrap comes of the next day and I see they put 11 different stitches all around and down in ear but this time they cut a 3inch slit on the inside of ear. Hematoma went away in a month but cut wasn't healing so they gave her another dose of antibiotics and wound wash but still didn't heal all the way so they refused to remove stitches for another month by then the skin was growing around the stitches and you could barely see stitches. Took her back cut was open an inch still so they left stitches. 2 weeks later she was whining again and her ear was warm the stitches where way too tight and almost embedded so being a nurse myself I removed all stitches and the cut could actually close then to heal. Her ear closed up that week and we haven't had any trouble at all EXCEPT she can't hear me now she can hear deep noises or if u holler she can somewhat hear but before this surgery she never had any hearing loss just wondering if this surgery/infection/ or medication put in ear could have caused this?? Or what I could do to help because it just seems to be getting worse.

dog-name-icon

Sammy

dog-breed-icon

Husky

dog-age-icon

18 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Itching
Scratching

well my husky Sammy has been scratching his ear. he had his surgery a few days ago, its seems very uncomfortable for him and he kept shaking his head when i re-wrap the bandage again the wound has also been exposed to air a few times . Is this a normal thing for dogs to scratch their ear...?

dog-name-icon

Blanco

dog-breed-icon

Pit bull

dog-age-icon

5 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Scratching

My puppy has a lot of raised bumps on the inside of his ear. He scratches his ears a lot and has many skin problems. I took him to the vet for his skin and ears and my vet said she had never seen anything like his ears before. I came home and did research and I feel like he might have ear hematoma, but why would my vet say they didn’t know what it was? Should I take him to a new vet? They prescribed him cefpodoxime and prednisone for his itchy skin, but didn’t really do much for the ears. They somewhat drained about 4 of the little lumps and said there was cystic like fluid and a little bit of blood. They didn’t really give me any answers as to what was wrong with his ears and I’m not really sure what to do about his ears.

Ear Hematoma Average Cost

From 109 quotes ranging from $300 - $2,500

Average Cost

$500

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