If you notice that your cat has developed an ear hematoma, you might be wondering how to help. Today, our Clarksville vet team talks about the causes of aural hematomas in cats, symptoms, and treatment options.
A hematoma is a blood pocket that forms within an organ or tissue and is also known as a "blood blister." Aural (ear) hematomas can vary in size and location and appear between the skin and cartilage of your cat's ear flap. Because ear hematomas are uncommon in cats, it is critical for pet parents to understand what to look for and what to do if their cat develops one.
What causes ear hematomas in cats?
The most common cause of ear hematoma is trauma or injury. When the small blood vessels in the cat's ear flap are damaged, they break and leak internally, resulting in a blood-filled swelling or pocket. Cat ear hematomas are caused by a number of factors, including:
- Your kitty scratching their ears or shaking their heads due to:
- ear infection
- ear mites
- skin allergies
- foreign object in the 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.
If the swelling is tender, your cat will most likely express their displeasure! Aside from physical changes, keep a close eye on your cat's behavior. If their ear becomes irritated or painful, they may groom it more frequently than usual or avoid being touched.
Diagnosis & Treatment Of Ear Hematomas In Cats
Your cat's ears will be carefully inspected by your veterinarian for infections or mites. These are typical causes of hematomas, in addition to the injury to the area, particularly if your pet is prone to infections. Your veterinarian might take a sample with a needle depending on the situation in order to determine the condition's exact nature.
The most commonly recommended method for treating ear hematomas is a simple surgical procedure. If the hematoma on your cat's ear is small or your pet cannot be safely sedated, your vet may be able to drain the site with a needle. While this procedure is appropriate for some hematomas, it is not ideal, and the problem is likely to reoccur. Aural hematoma surgery is a permanent solution to your cat'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).
What happens if you leave a cat's ear hematoma untreated?
If the hematoma is left untreated, it will eventually dissolve, but the resulting inflammation will have harmed the tissues around the ear, giving the ear a distorted, cauliflower-shaped appearance. For humane reasons, aural hematomas should be treated because they are excruciatingly painful.
Ear Hematoma Surgery For Cats
When a cat has an ear hematoma, the veterinarian will perform surgery to drain the blood pocket by making a tiny incision in the ear flap. The pocket will then be closed by your veterinarian using tiny sutures to prevent further blood or infection accumulation. The veterinarian or vet surgeon will bandage the ear to further guarantee that the site doesn't collect blood.
For an estimate of the cost of cat hematoma surgery, please contact your veterinarian directly.
Your cat could feel some amount of tenderness or discomfort for a few days following the procedure, 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 give you instructions and helpful advice on how to care for your feline friend at home while they recover from surgery, as well as when to return for follow-up visits and stitches removal.
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.