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Dog Ear Hematomas

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Dog Ear Hematomas

Dogs, such as this Saluki, with long, floppy ears are more prone to ear hematomas.

A commonly occurring condition or problem, especially in long eared dogs such as setters and retrievers, are ear hematomas. These hematomas may be painful and can cause a deformity in the dog’s ear. Trauma to the ear is the usual cause of a hematoma. That trauma can be caused by another dog fighting with it or by the dog itself scratching or flapping its ears due to a Dog Ear Infections or Dog Ear Mites.

Signs and Symptoms

The hematoma is a small collection of blood from a ruptured blood vessel in the ear. The blood vessel ruptures and collects between the skin and cartilage of the ear causing a lump. They occur quickly and can be very painful. Although the pain may subside in a few days, the hematoma will not go away without proper treatment. It takes only minutes for it to form.

The ear will be very swollen and tender to the touch. Even though it is possible that the pain may go away, the dog’s ear can be permanently disfigured if the hematoma is not removed correctly. This may not seem like an issue if your dog is a seldom seen yard dog or farm dog, but a hematoma can block the passage of air into the ear if it is high on the ear, and that can lead to other serious issues.

Dogs with frequent ear infections, Dog Allergies or ear mites are most likely to get a hematoma. The constant scratching and flapping will cause these tiny blood vessels to rupture. Dogs that fight or live in heavily wooded areas can also be injured by the other dogs or by the brush as they run through.

Treatment

Treatments are varied. The size of the hematoma, the veterinarian's preference and how quickly it is noticed and treated will be the deciding factors as to the course of treatment. Most frequently surgery is in order. An incision is made on the underside of the ear. The blood is drained and the ear is sutured. Bandaging may not be necessary, but if the cause of the hematoma is an infection, ear mites, allergies or some other illness, that will have to be dealt with as well. When surgery is properly and promptly performed the ear should be fine with just a slim possibility of recurrence and with a normal looking ear.

On show dogs there is an alternative treatment which consists of incising the lower ear and not suturing, but rather using a rolled bandage that the ear is wrapped around and allowing the ear to heal. This will prevent any disfiguring of the ear and is therefore preferable for the show dog.

There is also the possibility of drainage without surgery. If the hematoma is tiny or appears to be an old lesion, your veterinarian may use a syringe to aspirate the fluid. They may also insert a drain into the ear that will help release the fluid and avoid surgery and sutures.

The only prevention for an ear hematoma is avoiding trauma and treatment of ear mites, infections or allergies. If you notice a lot of head shaking going on, it may be best to check your dog’s ears to see if there is a problem. If you are unsure, a prompt visit to the veterinarian is definitely in order. The problem can then be properly diagnosed and appropriately treated.

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