Bumpy ears in dogs; Ear Hematoma | Daily News

Bumpy ears in dogs; Ear Hematoma

There are tiny blood vessels in the pinna or the floppy part of your pet's ears. When something causes these little vessels to rupture, they bleed under the skin and form a fluid-filled pocket. An aural hematoma is a pool of blood that collects between the skin and the cartilage of a pet’s ear flap. It’s typically caused by overly aggressive ear scratching or head shaking causing the ear flaps to slap against the skull that result from an ear infection Ear hematomas are most commonly seen in floppy-eared dogs, but they can occur in any breed of dog

Symptoms and Identification

An ear hematoma will have a fluid-filled swelling of the ear, the ear is warm, and the swollen area is a soft feeling on touching. The dog may or may not show itching at the ear.

Diagnosis

A veterinarian can diagnose this condition during a physical exam. The veterinarian will most likely inspect the ear canal and swab it for a sample to examine under the microscope for signs of parasites or infection. Usually, there’s an underlying cause for the scratching and head shaking, such as ear mites, bacterial and yeast infections of the ear canal, immune disorders or blood clotting deficits and skin allergies are prone to ear infections.

Treatment

Treatments range from draining the hematoma with a needle, to surgical correction of the problem. As an alternative, several small incisions may be made on the inside surface of the ear with a laser. In this case, sutures are not needed. Another treatment involves the placement of a small drain, or rubber tube, in the external portion of the ear. Surgical repair is often considered the most effective treatment for ear hematomas. An Elizabethan collar (a cone-shaped hood that fits over the pet’s neck) is often recommended so the pet can’t scratch at the ears until recovery.

Medication may also be injected into the space to reduce swelling and inflammation. However, it is very common for the hematoma to return with this procedure.

The pet will most likely need to have the ear canals cleaned and treated with appropriate ointments or solutions. Without treatment, an ear hematoma will eventually heal on its own, but the pet often experiences weeks of discomfort. In addition, the two sides of the ear often form thickened, wrinkled scar tissue, so the ear won’t look or feel natural. This cosmetic issue may not make a difference to an owner.

Prevention

While ear hematomas themselves may not be easily preventable, preventing the underlying issues that cause head shaking will certainly reduce the risk of this complication.

(The writer is a Veterinary Surgeon and holds B.V.Sc; M.Sc Poultry Science; Master of Public Administration and Management)


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