Aural haematoma is an accumulation of blood which collects between the cartilages of the ear flap.
The most common cause of an aural haematoma is trauma from constant head shaking or ear scratching. This can be caused by an ear infection (otitis externa) or fleas. The blood vessels in the ear break, filling the space in the ear flap with blood. They can occur in both cats and dogs but are most commonly seen in dogs.
Your veterinary surgeon will need to treat the underlying cause to help prevent the aural haematoma from reoccurring or increasing in size.
Options for treatment of aural haematomas
This would involve leaving the aural haematoma to resolve on its own. This is an option for smaller haematomas in dogs where the cosmetic appearance of the ear is not a consideration.
Your veterinary surgeon may recommend draining the aural haematoma using a syringe and needle. Occasionally sedation may be required to do this as the ear can be inflamed and sore. Once the fluid has been drained off a steroid is injected into the empty space where the fluid collected. This is not successful in all cases.
This involves giving your pet a general anaesthetic. The haematoma is lanced and drained with the placement of sutures and stents to prevent refilling. The sutures are usually left in for 2-3 weeks.
Any treatment recommended by your vet should be carried out during this healing period and minimal head shaking should be allowed. Your pet may have to wear a head bandage and/or a buster collar to prevent shaking or scratching.
Although performing the surgery minimises the chances of the aural haematoma reoccurring it does not rule it out completely and regular checking and cleaning of your pet’s ears would be beneficial to help prevent future aural haematomas.
Please see our guide to ‘Applying Ear Cleaner To Your Dog’.
Please see our guide to ‘Applying Ear Cleaner To Your Cat’.