Joplin came in with a VERY SWOLLEN EAR

An EAR HEMATOMA (aka AURAL hematoma) is a blood filled pouch in the ear flap

Ear hematomas are much more common in cats than in dogs

It is usually the result of damage to the ear flap, frequently caused by an injury or excessive scratching or head shaking. When itchiness is the underlying clinical sign, conditions such as ear mites, allergies, ear infections, or debris in the ear may be the source.

Hematomas are hard to miss, as the pet’s external ear (the pinna) will look very swollen & often be painful & warm to the touch.

If you suspect your pet has a hematoma, you should contact your vet right away. It will be important to identify what caused the hematoma & treat its underlying origin, as well as to remove the fluid in the ear flap.

Your vet will often recommend surgery as a definitive solution to open & drain the hematoma. All the fluid & any other debris within the hematoma will be removed, & your vet will repair the ear flap so that it can’t fill up with fluid again.

If your pet must undergo anesthesia to have the hematoma drained & repaired, your vet will recommend preanesthetic tests to ensure your pet is healthy & can tolerate the anesthetic procedure without any trouble.

Your pet may go home on antibiotics & treatment for the underlying cause as well as pain-relieving medications. Additional meds may be prescribed depending on your pet’s particular situation. Many pets must wear a cone-shaped collar, an “Elizabethan collar” to prevent them from scratching the surgery site.

Some hematomas cannot be prevented, as they occur spontaneously. Many, however, occur secondarily to things like ear mites, fleas, & ear infections.

Checking your favorite pet’s ears regularly & making sure they are clean & disease-free is imperative. If you suspect something is out of the ordinary, contact your vet to discuss the issue!