November 9, 2012
Aural hematomas

An aural hematoma is a collection of blood within the cartilage plate of the ear, due to broken blood vessels.

These hematomas occur as a result of head shaking or scratching of the ear caused by pain or irritation.{{more}}

The ear flap may partially or completely swell with blood. The swelling may be so large that the opening to the ear canal is blocked off. The extra weight of the ear flap may be uncomfortable and may lead to permanent change in the carriage of the ears. The condition is more common in dogs, but can occur in cats as well. The ear flap will feel fluctuant and fluid filled, like a water balloon.


Usually there is a reason why a dog has been shaking the head:

1. Due to ear infections.

2. Due to ear mites infestation.

3. Due to mange.

4. Also due to various types of dermatitis.

5. Dogs with Ehrlichiosis (tick fever). In these cases the platelet count is low, thus interfering with the clotting mechanisms of the blood, causing bleeding.

6. As a result of injury to the ear flap, for example after a dog fight.


The treatment of this condition generally is surgical. To drain out the bloody fluid and suture it in such a way as to prevent the flap of the ear from filling up again. Treatment of the underlying condition is also necessary.

What if we leave it alone without treatment?

If left alone, an aural hematoma will, in most cases, resolve itself eventually. The fluid will be reabsorbed back into the body and the ear flap will no longer bulge. The problem is that a lot of scarring is associated with this process and the ear is often not cosmetically appealing afterwards ( it becomes a cauliflower ear). Resolution of a large hematoma can take several months, during which time it is very painful and uncomfortable for your pet.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd. Tel: 456 4981