Determine what causes a hematoma or blood pocket in a dog’s ear, which results in an enlarged ear. Aural hematomas in dogs are treated surgically or with medication.
Is your dog’s ear suddenly red and swelled like a balloon? Your dog may develop an auricular hematoma, a blood collection between the ear cartilage and skin.
Ear hematomas need immediate veterinary care. In addition, due to scar tissue growth and/or infection, the dog’s ear may become permanently disfigured if left untreated.
Aural Hematoma Symptoms
Aural hematomas in dogs are extremely simple to diagnose. Typically, the following symptoms are observed:
- Ear enlargement and balloon-like look of the ear flap;
- Head tilting;
- Repeated head shaking or pawing at the ear;
- Warm ear flap;
- The inflamed portion of the ear is deep red or purple.
The hematoma is a blood-filled pocket; it is a severe bruise.
You may detect a faint odor of iron (attributed to the blood). If the aural hematoma is an abscess, the ear will be filled with foul-smelling pus that is blood-tinted yellow, white, or even green.
What Causes a Dog’s Aural Hematoma?
Dogs often get aural hematomas due to ear infections or ear mites. An illness or mite infestation will result in more excellent head shaking and ear scratching. But this doesn’t always happen; some dogs get ear hematomas during play or other severe head movement activities.
Injuries may also cause blood to pool inside the body. For example, a dog bite may rupture blood vessels, causing the ear to fill with blood. In instances when the skin is ruptured, the aural hematoma may be an abscess – a pocket of infection. It demands immediate veterinary care. First, the veterinarian will make a tiny incision and insert a drain to drain the ear. The dog will next be given oral medications to treat the illness.
How to Treat a Dog’s Ear Hematoma
When a dog’s ear swells with blood, resulting in an auricular hematoma, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary. Small hematomas commonly enlarge. Thus the ear will need prompt treatment.
The veterinarian will check the dog’s ears for symptoms of ear infection, bite wounds, ear mites, and other conditions that may have contributed to the creation of the hematoma. These fundamental issues need therapy.
According to Dr. Michael Levine, DVM, the veterinarian will sterilize the ear flap with rubbing alcohol and may use a local anesthetic to numb the ear. Next, the veterinarian will lance the hematoma with a sterile needle put into the blood pocket. The fluid will then be drawn into the ear using a syringe. Next, the veterinarian will make a tiny incision and insert a little plastic tube into the pocket produced by the aural hematoma. It will be held in place by sutures. The drain will remain for two to three weeks, enabling fluid to drain out while the ear recovers.
This procedure does not need general anesthesia. A topical anesthetic is adequate in most cases, while some animals may require a slight sedative.
Alternatively, the veterinarian may take the animal under general anesthesia to drain the fluid, introduce a drain, and suture the ear to keep the pocket closed while the ear recovers.
Dr. Levine suggested that the veterinarian may give prednisone, a steroid with anti-inflammatory properties. Prednisone will be administered to the dog for at least one week after the hematoma has disappeared, allowing for a full recovery.
Home Treatment for a Dog’s Ear Hematoma
If you cannot take your pet to the veterinarian quickly due to a holiday or weekend, the blood pocket may be drained at home to avoid expansion. It is a temporary solution to prevent the pet’s ear hematoma from becoming more severe.
To drain the aural hematoma at home:
- Then, immerse the needle in rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide for two minutes.
- Put on latex gloves and wash your hands with soap that kills germs.
Lance the blood pocket with the sterile needle after disinfecting the dog’s ear flap using rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide-soaked cotton pads.
- Manipulate the ear gently to stimulate drainage; do not pressure the ear, as this may increase the hematoma.
- Once the blood has been drained, rewash the ear flap with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol and apply a tiny amount of antibiotic ointment to the region where the ear was lanced.
Draining the dog’s hematoma at home is not a cure nor a permanent solution, but it may prevent the hematoma from developing bigger. In addition, after the hematoma is drained, the dog will be less likely to shake his head or paw at the ear, but the blood pocket will reappear within a few hours.
Alternately, pet owners may cover the ear to avoid further harm from scratching and head movement. Wrap some gauze or an Ace bandage around the dog’s head to secure the ear in place. The covering should be snug enough to remain on the dog’s head without becoming uncomfortable. The dog must be monitored while his head is covered if it rolls down his neck. If the dog does not accept wrapping, it may be advantageous to reduce head shaking and scratching.