Latest News 2010 July What is an Aural Hematoma?

What is an Aural Hematoma?

Many dog and cat owners are quite alarmed when they see that their pets' ears are swollen and balloon-like and may go into panic mode.  The swelling is called an aural hematoma and occurs when a blood vessel in the ear is broken.  The vessel releases blood inside of pets' ear flaps, causing the ears to swell and become quite firm.

Usually, a hematoma will develop after pets shake their ears or experience some type of blunt trauma that breaks a blood vessel.  After the blood vessel is broken, the swelling may become so large and persistent that the ear canal opening becomes obstructed.  Additionally, pets may experience discomfort form the heavy weight of the ear and develop permanent scarring.

While aural hematomas are more common in dogs, cats can also develop this condition.  When pet owners notice that their animals have hematomas, they will need to get help from a veterinarian not only to treat the swelling but also to treat the underlying cause of the pets' head shaking.  For example, a dog may shake its ears continually if it has a chronic ear infection.

Vets will treat hematomas with aspiration, lancing procedures, teat cannula placement and also surgery.  If left alone, the hematoma will go away in weeks or even months, but this course of treatment is not recommended as pets can be in a great deal of pain and need relief.