Do you have a floppy eared dog that lives to stick his head out of the car window? A dog prone to ear infections? What about a dog who loves to swim or hike? If so, you may be interested to know that these events all have the potential to lead to the development of an Aural Hematoma. However, armed with knowledge and a simple plan you can prevent them.
An Aural Hematoma is a painful, abnormal accumulation of blood on the flap of the ear between the skin and cartilage, sometimes accompanied by discoloration and extreme swelling and pain. This can occur in both cats and dogs, but is more common in dogs with floppy ears. Hematomas are brought on by many types of irritation in the ear: Infections, foxtails, allergies, yeast, ear mites, or even debris from something as innocuous as sticking her head out of the car window. The injury doesn’t come from the irritation, but the scratching and head shaking the animal does in response to it.
If your dog has a hematoma it is important to talk to your vet. There are two main procedures they are likely to discuss with you. The most successful being surgical removal and suturing the area where the hematoma was to encourage scar tissue development, thus reducing the chance of recurrence. The other options are for the veterinarian to drain it, however this only works about 25% of the time because it will likely fill up with blood again.
The simplest and most cost effective way to deal with an Aural Hematoma is to never get it in the first place. “Prevention is the best medicine.” If your dog suffers from yeasty ears, swims often, or gets ear infections, it’s beneficial to clean their ears once a week with a cotton ball damp with a mixture of one part water and one part raw organic apple cider vinegar. If you hike with your furry friend, it’s important to check for foxtails not only in the ears, but also between their toes and paw pads. If your dog has a penchant for enjoying the breeze on car rides make sure to only have the window cracked open enough for him to stick his muzzle out.