Reviewed and updated for accuracy on March 25, 2019 by Dr. Hanie Elfenbein, DVM, PhD
Ear hematomas in dogs, also known as auricular hematomas or aural hematomas, occur when blood accumulates in the flap (or pinna) of a dog’s ear.
Symptoms of Ear Hematomas in Dogs
Dog ear hematomas are characterized by a swelling of the ear flap. In most cases, only one ear will be affected. However, it is possible for both ears to have hematomas. The swelling may involve the entire ear flap or may cover only part of the ear flap.
Causes of Dog Ear Hematomas
The most common cause of an ear hematoma in dogs is an ear infection or other irritation within the ear. Dog ear infections cause irritation that results in shaking of the head, which in turn, causes the development of the dog ear hematoma.
Less commonly, allergic skin disease in dogs, immune disorders, trauma or blood clotting deficits can be the cause of ear hematomas in dogs.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Ear hematomas are diagnosed by physical examination.
Many different dog ear hematoma treatments exist. The fluid within the hematoma can be drained, but the hematoma is likely to recur and may need to be drained numerous times. Many veterinarians prefer to lance the hematoma and drain the fluid under anesthesia.
In most cases, a drain is placed in the ear to keep additional fluid from building up within the ear flap. Alternatively, sutures or other devices may be placed through the ear flap to discourage additional accumulation of fluid and recurrence of the hematoma.
If an ear infection, mites or other ear disease is present, it will need to be treated simultaneously. Curing an ear hematoma requires resolving the initial disease that caused the dog to shake his head in the first place.
Preventing ear infections is often effective in preventing dog ear hematoma formation. When ear infections do occur, they should be treated promptly to avoid the formation of a hematoma.
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