Hematoma in a Dog’s Ear: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


An acoustic hematoma is a pool of blood that collects between the skin and the cartilage of a pet’s ear flap. It’s typically triggered by excessively aggressive ear scratching or head shaking that results from an ear infection. Dogs and felines can both suffer ear hematomas, though dogs (especially those prone to skin allergies and ear infections) are more prone to them. Treatments range from draining the hematoma with a needle, to surgical correction of the problem.

Hematoma in a Dog’s Ear: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


An ear hematoma is a pocket of blood that forms within the outside part of an animal’s ear flap. Although both dogs and felines can suffer ear hematomas, the condition is a lot more common in dogs.

Ear hematomas are usually triggered by some type of self-trauma – such as when a family pet aggressively scratches at the ears or shakes his or her head, causing the ear flaps to slap versus the skull. This trauma can cause blood to leave the vessels and pool in a pocket between the skin and cartilage components that make up the external part of the ear flap. Normally, there’s a hidden cause for the scratching and head shaking, such as ear mites or bacterial and/or yeast infections of the ear canal. Due to the fact that dogs that suffer from skin allergic reactions are prone to ear infections, allergic skin disease can be an important part of the underlying problem.

It’s undeniably essential to treat both the ear hematoma and the underlying parasites or ear infection and address possible allergies.

Symptoms and Identification

A family pet with an ear hematoma will have a fluid-filled swelling on all or simply part of the ear flap (called the “pinna”). Sometimes the swelling will seem firm, other times, soft and fluctuant. It might occlude the ear canal or simply include the very tip of the ear.

A veterinarian can identify this condition during a physical exam. Nevertheless, it is likewise important to diagnose hidden conditions that might result in excessive ear scratching or head shaking. The veterinarian will most likely inspect the ear canal and swab it for a sample to analyze under the microscopic lense for signs of parasites or infection.

Allergic skin disease (including inhalant allergic reactions and food allergies) is probably the most typical condition underlying this disease in dogs. Definitively identifying this possibility, however, is not as simple as determining organisms under a microscopic lense. Food trials (to investigate food allergic reactions) and other type of allergy screening may remain in order.

Impacted Breeds

Any dog or cat can develop an ear hematoma. Because allergic skin disease is a common cause, any pet vulnerable to skin allergic reactions in most likely to develop an ear hematoma. The problem establishes simpler in dogs with more pendulous ears, because heavy ear flaps easily slap against the side of the head during head shaking.


Surgical repair is often thought about the most reliable treatment for ear hematomas. While under anesthesia, a cut is made along the length of the hematoma on the inner surface of the ear. After the fluid and blood clots are gotten rid of, the inner surface of the ear is added down to the outer surface area of the ear with sutures. The sutures hold the inner and external surfaces versus each other so that when scar tissue kinds, the two surface areas are smooth and not bumpy. The stitches normally stay in location for a couple of weeks while the incision is left open so that fluid will continue to drain pipes as the ear heals. Eventually, the incision will heal by itself.

For a dog with droopy ears, the cured ear is often flipped up and bandaged against the go to avoid head shaking during recovery. An Elizabethan collar (a cone-shaped hood that fits over the pet’s head) is often suggested so the pet can’t scratch at the ears.

As an option, numerous small incisions might be made on the inside surface area of the ear with a laser. In this case, sutures are not required.

Another treatment involves the positioning of a small drain, or rubber tube, in the external portion of the ear. The drain remains in place for a number of weeks as the fluid resolves and the ear heals. Some pets might not endure this, and cats’ ears are usually too little for this technique.

In many cases, vets might extract the fluid with a needle and syringe. Medication might likewise be injected into the area to minimize swelling and inflammation. However, it is typical for the hematoma to return with this procedure.

With an underlying ear infection or ear mites, the animal will probably need to have the ear canals cleaned and treated with suitable ointments or services. Resolution of the underlying issue will help avoid another ear hematoma. Allergic skin disease, however, has a way of causing chronically affected ears that might suffer frequent ear hematomas unless the problem is properly addressed.

Without treatment, an ear hematoma will ultimately heal by itself, however the family pet frequently experiences weeks of pain. In addition, the two sides of the ear frequently form thickened, wrinkled scar tissue, so the ear will not look or feel natural. This cosmetic issue may not make a distinction to an owner.


While ear hematomas themselves might not be easily avoidable, preventing (or successfully treating) underlying issues that cause head shaking will definitely lower the risk of this complication.

Also read: Dog Flapping His Ears and Shaking His Head All of the Time


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