Canine aural hematoma is caused when blood accumulates within the cartilage layers, comprising of the ear flap or pinna of the dogs ears. It is also known as Pillow ear, Auricular hematoma or Aural hematoma.
In aural hematoma, mild swelling and fluid filled swellings appear on the pinna (floppy part of the ear). The dog scratches and shakes its head which may resemble a possible ear mite infection or accumulation of a foreign body and shows discomfort and irritation.
There are various causes which can lead to aural hematoma. They are:
› An existing ear infection
› Ear mites infection caused by Otodectic Mange
› Excess scratching which leads to rupture of blood vessels within the ear
› Injury on the flap or pinna
Clinical Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms seen are:
› Head shaking
› Mild swelling of the ear flap or pinna
› Fluid accumulation on parts of the ear
› Fluid accumulation on the entire ear
Veterinarians will require a complete history of your dog which includes medical history, vaccination records, existing health concerns, current and previous medications, onset of symptoms, diet and exercise routine and any information which can help in establishing a correct diagnosis. Diagnosis is done with a combination of tests. These include routine lab examinations and special tests. They are:
› Physical examination – this involves a complete ear (otoscopic) examination, looking for any foreign body, mites infestation, internal injury, swelling, ruptures, bacterial or fungal infections, tumors and abscess
› Complete Blood Count (CBC)
› Needle aspiration of tumors
› Needle aspiration of abscess (abscess is yellow pus whereas hematoma is bloody)
Treatment focuses on identifying and addressing the direct or the underlying cause of aural hematoma. Treatment is one or a combination of techniques. This depends on the causative agent involved in hematoma. This includes:
› Antibacterial medications
› Anti-fungal medications
› Medications for treatment of secondary causes (mites, infections)
› Treatment of wounds, tumors, scars, ruptures
› Antibiotic medications
Veterinarians will opt for:
› Fluid drainage has to be done multiple times as there are high chances of recurrence.
› Surgical procedures
› Use of Elizabethan collar (this restricts a pet from scratching its ear)
There is no prevention for Aural hematoma. Hematoma is not a disease but a condition arising from ear injury, ear wounds, ear infections.
Home care should aim at improving the condition. Treatments can take a few days to a few weeks. If you observe any behavioral changes, or if the condition does not improve, please contact your veterinarian.
Prognosis is always good post surgery. Most pets are treated on an outpatient basis.
› It is mandatory to provide a stress-free environment for your cat. Keep water and food bowls within reach. Avoid physical activity. Keep your dogs away from any noise and commotions.
› You have to administer and monitor all prescribed medicine as directed by your veterinarian.
› Do NOT travel with your dog.
› Do NOT allow your dog to roam freely, it reduces the chances of contracting other infections which can affect the eye.
› Always keep sharp objects covered and fragile objects away from pets to avoid the risk of injury and accidents.
› Routine and regular checkups to access the progress (for fluid drainage, ear cleaning, medications)
› Exercise caution when dealing with pets. Daily cleaning and vacuuming, disposal of materials such as bandages, cotton swabs used for abscess or by ear secretions. Wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly. Using disinfectants and proper hygiene protocols are strongly advised.
If left untreated, this may cause permanent damage to the ear leading to deafness (loss of hearing)