Aural Hematoma in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Treatment of Aural Hematoma in Dogs

Is your dog shaking his head and ears excessively? If yes, then your dog might be suffering from aural hematoma. 

Aural hematoma in dogs is a common condition that can affect dogs of all kinds and is caused by trauma to the pinna (ear flap) as a result of excessive head shaking. The blood gets accumulated in the ear flap as a result of a broken blood vessel.

Causes and treatment of aural hematoma

Ear hematomas develop when the tiny blood vessels in the floppy part of the dog’s ear ruptures. The vessels bleed under the skin and form a fluid-filled pocket. Ear hematomas can develop from too much head shaking, obsessively scratching at the ears, trauma to the ears (sometimes caused by smacking the ears against things during head shaking), infection, inflammation, parasites, and most commonly, dog fights. If the problem isn’t addressed and blood and other fluids continue to accumulate in the skin, the hematoma can become quite large, and can end up blocking off the opening of the ear canal. It’s not uncommon for ear hematomas to rupture while the dog is shaking his head, spraying blood all over the place. Hopefully, pet owners don’t let ear hematomas get to this point.

Treatment of an ear hematoma is two-fold: (1) resolving the swelling, and (2) finding the root cause of the problem. Discovering and addressing the root cause of an aural hematoma is necessary to prevent recurrence.

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Aural hematoma – Why is it a problem?

Hematoma gets created whenever a blood vessel is broken and internal bleeding occurs inside the tissue. In the case of an aural hematoma, the ear flap may swell up (partially or completely) with blood which in severe cases can even block out the ear canal. The unwanted blood accumulation can weigh down the ear flap, leading to discomfort and potentially impaired ear function.

Aural hematoma – causes and symptoms

Some of the most common causes that can lead to aural hematomas in dogs include:

  • Injury
  • Excessive head shaking
  • Ear mites
  • Itchiness

Visible symptoms of aural hematomas involve:

  • Swollen or puffy ear
  • Constant shaking of the head
  • Earflap will turn red
  • The swollen area will be too soft and warm as it contains blood
  • The dog will become aggressive
  • Head will tilt to one side due to weight of the accumulated blood

How do you treat hematoma in a dog’s ears?

Some of the best treatment for aural hematoma in dogs include the following:

  • ASPIRATION: Ideal for treatment in the initial stages. A syringe gets inserted to draw out all of the fluid from the hematoma. Aspiration is a relatively inexpensive and easy process, but the bleeding has to be stopped as the space left by the aspirated fluid will simply fill back up. Sometimes multiple aspirations are needed to drain all the fluid out.
  • SURGERY: This is one of the best ear hematoma in dog’s treatment options available and applies if the hematoma gets too big to be drained.  A vet may decide to remove it via a hematoma removal surgery. In this process, the ear flaps are separated, the wound is flushed, and the flaps are sutured together. Sutures are left in place for about three weeks to create deliberate scarring in the area, and this further prevents the earflap from filling back up with blood or fluid.
  • HOMEOPATHY: Arnica pellets and Arnica cream have produced good results in our treatments.
  • MEDICATION: If you are unable to meet a veterinarian immediately, you will need to ensure that the underlying cause of hematoma, and the scratching/ shaking, is addressed. The ear should be kept clean. Start the dog on an antibiotic such as Enrofloxin 150mg/20kg body weight for at least 5 days to arrest infection on-site, especially if the hematoma is from a trauma/dog bite/puncture wound.
  • SCARRING: All surgical options will result in some degree of pinna scarring. However, if the dog’s ear hematoma is never addressed – in addition to being very uncomfortable for many weeks or months – intense scarring is unavoidable. A lot of scarring will occur, sometimes causing the entire earflap to crinkle up and shrivel as the fluid is reabsorbed back into the body.

Surgery for Ear Hematoma – How Much Will It Cost?

Ear hematoma in dog’s surgery cost is dependent on two prime factors – the age of your pet and the severity of the condition. In large hematomas, vets prefer to first anaesthetize the dog and then begin treatment. In case, your pet is anesthetized, the cost shoots up because of the usage of anesthetic drugs. Older dogs, on the contrary, undergo blood tests to allow vets to determine their suitability for surgeries. If your dog is at an advanced age, the surgery may be riskier.

How to treat hematoma in dog’s ear at home?

If you’re searching for a hematoma in dog’s ear home remedy, no clear remedy exists. But unless the discomfort is really bad, the fluid will get absorbed by the dog’s body over 1-2 months. Getting results before this period does not mean avoiding the vet clinic. Seek a veterinarian’s advice anyway. 

The information contained in VOSD Vet Advice™ is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical action which is provided by your vet. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. For any emergency situation related to a dog’s health, please visit the nearest veterinary clinic.

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