If you notice that your cat has developed an ear hematoma, you might be wondering how to help. Today, our Sharpsburg vet team talks about the causes of aural hematomas in cats, symptoms, and treatment options.
A hematoma, also known as a "blood blister," is a blood pocket that forms inside of an organ or tissue. Aural (ear) hematomas develop between the skin and cartilage of your cat's ear flap, though their size and location can vary. Cat ear hematomas don't happen often, but that just makes it more crucial for pet parents to know what to look for and what to do if their cat develops one.
What Causes Ear Hematomas In Cats?
Ear hematomas frequently result from trauma or other injuries. The small blood vessels in the cat's ear flap break and leak when they are damaged, resulting in a blood-filled swelling or pocket. The following are some typical causes of cat ear hematomas:
- Your kitty scratching their ears or shaking their heads due to:
- ear infection
- ear mites
- skin allergies
- foreign object in ear canal
- Scratches or bites (e.g. sharp thorns, fights with other cats)
- Underlying health issues
Symptoms Of Ear Hematoma In Cats
If your pet has an ear hematoma, the most common sign is likely to be a new bump or swelling on the ear. If it is large enough, the ear flap itself will be swollen and possibly cause it to droop under its weight.
The swelling may feel tight or squishy to the touch, but be gentle - if the spot is tender, your cat will most likely express their displeasure! Aside from changes in the appearance of your cat's ears, keep an eye on their behavior. If their ear is irritated or tender, they may groom the area more frequently than usual or avoid being touched.
Diagnosis & Treatment Of Ear Hematomas In Cats
Your veterinarian will thoroughly inspect your cat's ears for mites or infections. Aside from injury to the area, these are common causes of hematoma, especially if your pet is prone to infections. Depending on the circumstances, your veterinarian may use a needle to obtain a sample to confirm the nature of the condition.
The most commonly recommended method for dealing with ear hematomas is a simple surgical procedure. If the hematoma in your cat's ear is small or your pet cannot be safely sedated, your veterinarian may be able to drain the site with a needle. While this procedure is appropriate for some hematomas, it isn't ideal, and the problem is likely to reoccur. Aural hematoma surgery is a long-term solution to your pet's problem, and surgical removal of hematomas can reduce scarring.
Your vet will also treat the underlying issue causing the hematoma (e.g. infection, allergy).
Aural Hematoma Surgery For Cats
To drain the blood pocket during this procedure, the veterinarian makes a tiny surgical incision in the ear flap. Your veterinarian will then close the pocket and prevent new blood or infection from accumulating by using tiny sutures. The veterinarian or vet surgeon will bandage the ear to further ensure there is no blood buildup at the site.For a precise cost estimate for cat aural hematoma surgery, speak with your veterinarian directly.
What happens if you leave a cat ear hematoma untreated?
An ear hematoma that is not treated will eventually go away on its own, but not before your cat has suffered for several weeks. The ear will not feel or look natural because both sides of the ear frequently develop thick, wrinkly scar tissue.
After ear hematoma surgery, your cat may experience some tenderness or discomfort for a few days, but your vet is sure to provide medications to address pain and prevent infection and inflammation.
Your cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar to stop them from scratching the surgical site and causing inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infection.
Your veterinarian will provide instructions on how to care for your feline friend at home while they are recovering from surgery, as well as advice on when to go back for check-ups and to have the stitches taken out.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.