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Why does my pet keep scratching its ears vigorously? Ear Hematomas in Pets (Causes & Treatment)

When a dog or cat has painful or uncomfortable ears due to and untreated infection, they often shake their head and scratch at the ears vigorously.  This can cause a blood vessel in the earflap to rupture and bleed into the tissues of the pinna causing it to swell, known as an ear hematoma.

What is an Ear Hematoma?

(Aural Hematomas) Ear Hematomas or blood blisters are quite common in floppy-eared dogs such as hounds, spaniels and setters. They occur less frequently in dogs with erect ears and more rarely in cats. Hematomas can occur at any age.

Is the hemaotma painful for my pet?

The problem is more annoying for your pet than it is painful.  Your pet feels like something is clinging to its ear.  Usually your pet will attempt to shake or remove it with its paw.  Unfortunately, the more your pet attempts to move the blister, the larger the blood-filled blister becomes.

Where did the hematoma come from?

Most pets with ear hematomas have chronic ear infections.  Learn more about Pet Ear Infections.

How do you treat an Ear Hematoma?

The earflap may partially or completely swell with blood, the earflap will feel fluctuant and fluid-filled, like a water balloon.  The usual recommendation is to have the blood clots removed and to bandage and clean the ear under anesthesia.

During the surgery an incision is made on the inside of the earflap. The hematoma is drained of fluid and blood clots. Then, to prevent the hematoma from refilling with fluid, multiple sutures are placed in the hematoma area vertically or horizontally and a bandage is applied.  The Sutures are usually left in place for 3 weeks to allow good scarring to take place so that refilling will not occur.  It is also important to discover the actual cause of the ear infection and treat it as well.


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Care Animal Hospital, is proud to be your pet’s health care advocate. What sets us apart is our highly trained staff, cutting edge technology and caring service. We provide piece of mind in diagnosing, analyzing and treating your trusted companion. You can rest assured that we will find a solution to your pet’s health care needs. Contact CARE Animal Hospital of Brandon, Florida if you believe your pet may have an ear hematoma today.

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  1. […] infection.  This often leads to weeks of inappropriate treatment with over-the-counter remedies.  Treating an ear infection with the incorrect medications can cause the problem to become worse.  Ear mites are tiny […]

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