An EAR HEMATOMA is a large collection of blood that forms between the skin and the cartilage in the ear. This appears as a “lump” or swelling of the earflap. The most common cause of this condition is excessive head shaking as a result of an ear infection. Other possible causes include allergy or trauma, such as a bite wound or hitting the head on a solid object. Hereditary tendencies may also be involved, as some breeds and families within the breed are more prone to this than others. This condition can RECUR in the same ear or other ear if underlying problems are not corrected. A swollen earflap should be evaluated and treated as quickly as possible to reduce the chance of permanent disfigurement of the ear.
If the hematoma is not treated properly, one of two things will happen:
- The hematoma will continue to enlarge until it ruptures and becomes infected.
- The blood clot will cause permanent damage to the appearance of the ear. This may result in a very thick ear that can interfere with normal ventilation of the ear canal leading to ear infections. Sometimes as the clot matures and contracts, it will cause the ear to become “cauliflower-like” in appearance. This change is irreversible and results in a “withered-up” appearance to the earflap.
Once the blood clot has formed, the treatment of choice is surgical drainage.
NOTE: Your pet’s ear will look very THICK and SWOLLEN for the first 5 days after surgery. Most ears show a greatly reduced swelling by the time of suture removal. It is very important you keep the scabs off so drainage can occur and the wound will heal from the inside out.
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