How is an aural hematoma diagnosed?
Diagnosis is usually straight forward. The appearance and feel of the ear tell your vet a lot, especially if an ear infection is also present.
In some cases, your veterinarian may take a needle sample to confirm there is blood in the swollen area, and to rule out other conditions that would need a different treatment — for example, a mass on the skin or swelling due to a bee sting.
What does an aural hematoma look like?
With an ear hematoma, your dog’s ear flap will be swollen.
If the lesion is confined to just one part of the pinna, the swelling may be small. For larger hematomas, the whole ear flap will be engorged, and the weight of the collection of blood may cause the ear flap to droop and hang lower than usual.
An ear hematoma may feel squishy or taut to the touch. More than likely, your pup will object to you touching it, since the pressure can be painful.
Suspect your pet has an aural hematoma? Book a vet visit.
In almost all cases, some sort of trauma or injury is to blame — that’s what causes the blood vessels between the ear cartilage and skin to break and leak.
The most common type of ear flap trauma is from a dog repeatedly scratching their ear and shaking their head, due to an ear infection, allergic skin condition, ear mites, or a foreign body lodged in the ear canal. For that reason, your vet will take a close look inside your pet’s ears.
Aural hematomas can also develop from an accidental bump or injury to the ear flap. For example, this could happen during vigorous play, if your pup runs through bushes and their ear gets scraped by a sharp branch, or following a bite wound on the ear flap from another dog or a wild animal.
Less commonly, health conditions that cause blood clotting abnormalities can also lead to a blood pocket formation in the ear flap.
Since scratching and head shaking from an ear issue are by far the most common cause, the best way to prevent ear hematomas is by keeping your pet’s ears clean and healthy.
Ask your vet for advice on your pet’s ears because care instructions may vary a lot from dog to dog. Some pups might only need an occasional ear cleaning. However, other dogs — especially droopy-eared breeds like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels that are at a great risk for ear infections and ear problems — may need frequent ear cleanings with special ear maintenance solutions.
Which Dogs Are More Prone To Ear Hematomas
Your dog is at a higher risk of developing ear hematomas if he has recurring ear problems. Especially if they cause him to scratch at his ear and shake his head. Hematomas are also more likely in dogs with clotting or bleeding problems, even without obvious trauma.
Dogs with floppy ears are also more prone to ear hematomas.
Dog Ear Hematoma: Dr. Dan explains.
So your dog’s ear has swollen and it looks like there’s a big blister on it. It may be small or it may be taking up the whole ear.
Whatever the size, what you’re seeing is most likely an ear hematoma. The name sounds a bit scary and the sudden appearance of it is alarming … but there’s no need to worry.
Ear hematomas can be a serious issue but the cause is usually obvious and it’s easy to treat.