WHAT IS AN AURAL HEMATOMA?
Aural hematomas are collections of fresh or clotted blood within the pinna (ear flap). When there is a hematoma, the ear flap becomes very thick and spongy. The swelling could affect the entire ear flap or just one area of the ear.
Image source: https://cat-world.com/ear-hematoma-in-cats/
WHAT CAUSES AN AURAL HEMATOMA?
It is usually the result of your pet's scratching and head shaking from otitis externa (infection of the external ear canal), which can be itchy and uncomfortable for your pet.
Image source: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/pet-health-hub/conditions/aural-haematoma-in-dogs
Other sources of irritation to the ear associated with the development of an aural hematoma include:
- immune mediated diseases
- foreign bodies
- trauma (bite wound or blunt trauma)
SYMPTOMS OF AURAL HEMATOMA
- A swollen, droopy earflap (that develops very suddenly)
- Redness, heat and pain
- Head shaking
- Ear scratching
- Head tilt (holding the head to one side)
ARE THERE TREATMENTS FOR AURAL HEMATOMA?
Aural hematoma treatment options include needle aspiration of the blood and any clots that have formed in the ear flap, as well as surgical drainage. Because needle aspiration is usually only a temporary fix, surgery is preferred.
POST-OPERATIVE CARE FOR AURAL HAEMATOMA
Post-operative care keeps the swelling from returning. Pet owners should take the following precautions at home:
- As directed by your veterinarian, clean your pet's ear.
- If your veterinarian uses a head cone on your pet, make sure they wear it at all times until you receive further instructions from the veterinarian.
- Keep track of their symptoms, such as pain, swelling, and redness. The ear of your pet may bleed slightly. If the bleeding is severe, contact your veterinarian.
- Make certain that your pet receives all of their medications on time.
Most pets with aural hematomas recover completely within a week or two after surgery.
CAN THE AURAL HAEMATOMA HEAL ON ITS OWN?
Without treatment, most ear hematoma will eventually heal on its own, but the pet will often be in pain for weeks. Furthermore, the two sides of the ear frequently form thickened, wrinkled scar tissue, making the ear look and feel unnatural. This cosmetic issue may be insignificant to the owner. If a hematoma is not treated, the blood in the ear flap will separate into serum and a clot that will be absorbed gradually over a six to ten weeks period. In some instances, the swelling can result in necrosis of the skin and rupture of the hematoma. The hematoma can result in an infection too.
ARE THERE ANY PREVENTION METHODS?
Because scratching and head shaking are by far the most common causes of ear hematomas, the best way to prevent ear hematomas is to keep your pet's ears clean and healthy. Consult your veterinarian for advice on your pet's ears, as care instructions can vary from dog to dog.
Done by: Nurse Adon