Diagnosing and Treating Ear Hematomas

December 2, 2015 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

Ear hematomas are fluid-filled pockets on the inside of the earflap. They are most commonly seen in floppy-eared dogs but can occur in other dog breeds and even cats. Hematomas develop when the tiny blood vessels in the ear rupture, bleed under the skin and form the fluid-filled pocket.


Most ear hematomas develop from dogs shaking their heads or scratching at their heads. Other causes can be injury to the ear such as from a dogfight, infection or inflammation of the ear, or the presence of a foreign body or parasite in the ear. Finding and treating the underlying cause for the ear irritation and head shaking is important to prevent recurrence. The discharge from the hematoma can be examined for bacteria, yeast, or mites. Medications may be necessary to resolve an infection, if present. If the problem is allergies, figure out what your pet is allergic to if possible. Changes may need to be made in your pet’s diet or environment to avoid another allergic response.


Ear hematomas can resolve by themselves but occasionally the blood does not reabsorb into the ear properly resulting in “cauliflower ear”. For this reason, many pet owners choose to have the ear treated by a veterinarian. Aspiration, inserting a needle and drawing out the blood, is often used especially if hematoma is small. This method is less costly than surgery and does not require anesthesia. However, larger hematomas sometimes require surgery which involves draining and surgically closing the hematoma so blood or fluid can’t get back into that particular area.


Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If the underlying problem is addressed, the condition can easily be managed. It is important to routinely check and clean your pet’s ears.

Ear Hematomas Dogs

Print Friendly