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Ear Hematoma Surgery in Dogs

If your dog has a blood blister in their ear, it may need to be surgically treated. But what should you know about this condition and its treatment? Our Deer Park vets discuss aural (ear) hematomas and what to expect after your dog has ear hematoma surgery.

What is an ear hematoma?

A hematoma is a collection of blood that forms within a tissue or organ and is sometimes called a 'blood blister.' When it occurs in a dog's ear, it is called an aural or ear hematoma and appears between the cartilage and skin of the ear flap. As a responsible pet owner, it is important to know the signs of an ear hematoma in your dog and know what steps to take if your dog develops one.

Causes of Ear Hematomas In Dogs

Ear hematomas in dogs are typically caused by trauma or injury that damages the small blood vessels in the ear flap. This damage causes the vessels to break and leak internally, leading to a blood-filled swelling or pocket. Some common causes of dog ear hematomas include:

  • Your dog scratching their ears or shaking their heads due to:
    • Ear infection
    • Ear mites
    • Skin allergies
    • Foreign objects in the ear canal
  • Scratches or bites (e.g., sharp thorns, fights with other animals)
  • Underlying health issues

Signs of Ear Hematomas in Dogs

If your pet suffers from an ear hematoma, the most common indication is swelling in the ear. If the swelling is large enough, the ear flap itself will be swollen and may cause the ear to droop under its weight. The swelling may feel tight or squishy to the touch, but it's important to be gentle as your pet may feel discomfort if the affected area is tender. Aside from changes in the appearance of your pet's ear, also keep an eye on their behavior. If their ear is irritated or tender, they may groom the area more than usual or shy away from being touched.

Diagnosis & Treatment for Ear Hematomas in Dogs

If your dog has a hematoma, your vet will check their ears for mites or infections, which are common causes of the condition, along with injuries to the area. If your pet is prone to infections, it is more likely that they will develop a hematoma. Your vet may use a needle to take a sample for further analysis, depending on the case, to confirm the nature of the condition.

Ear Hematoma Surgery

Ear hematomas in dogs are commonly treated with surgery. If the hematoma is small or the pet cannot be safely anesthetized, your vet may attempt to drain the site with a needle. However, this procedure is not ideal, and the issue may recur. Ear hematoma surgery is a permanent solution that can reduce scarring. Additionally, your vet will address the underlying issue causing the hematoma, such as an infection or allergy.

What happens during ear hematoma surgery?

During the surgery, the veterinarian will make a small incision in the ear flap to drain the accumulated blood. After clearing the ear flap, the veterinarian will use small stitches to close the incision and prevent any further accumulation of blood or infection. Additionally, the veterinarian or veterinary surgeon will wrap a bandage around the ear as an extra precaution to prevent bleeding.

What is the cost of ear hematoma surgery for dogs?

If your dog needs ear hematoma surgery, you may wonder what the cost will be. However, veterinary surgery costs vary widely across the country, and several factors determine the cost of your dog's surgery, such as the size of your pup and the complexity of the procedure to remove the hematoma. To get an accurate estimate for your dog's surgery, it is best to speak to the staff at your veterinary clinic. Most veterinarians are willing to provide a detailed breakdown of the costs and answer any questions you may have.

What can you expect right after dog ear hematoma surgery and during recovery?

Your dog will have been placed under general anesthesia for ear hematoma surgery. This means that they may be groggy and have a reduced appetite. Don't worry. They should return to normal within a day or two. 

The healing time for hematoma removal is typically about two weeks. While your pup may experience soreness during the initial days of recovery following surgery, your vet will prescribe pet-friendly pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs to help manage discomfort. Additionally, antibiotics will be provided if necessary.

Your furry friend may exhibit tenderness or discomfort for a few days after the surgical procedure. However, your veterinarian will administer medications to alleviate pain and prevent infections and inflammation.

Your dog will also need to wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent them from scratching the surgical site, which could lead to inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infection.

Your vet will provide you with instructions and helpful advice on how to care for your pet at home during their recovery from surgery. They will also guide you on when to return for follow-up visits and to have the stitches removed.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Is your dog showing signs of an ear hematoma or other issue affecting their ears? Contact our Deer Park vets to schedule an examination and care for your pup.

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