While rare, your cat can suffer ear injuries leading to hematomas. In this article, our Lincoln veterinarians will provide comprehensive information on cat ear hematomas and the surgical treatment options available.
Ear Hematomas in Cats
A hematoma, commonly called a "blood blister," occurs when a blood pocket forms inside an organ or tissue. Aural hematomas, specifically in a cat's ear, develop between the ear flap's skin and cartilage, with varying size and location. While cat ear hematomas are relatively rare, pet parents must understand the signs and necessary actions if their cat develops one.
Causes & Symptoms of Ear Hematomas in Cats
Cat ear hematomas usually result from trauma or injury to the area. When a cat's ear is damaged, blood vessels rupture and leak into the surrounding tissue, filling it with blood and forming the hematoma. The primary culprits behind cat ear hematomas are:
- Scratching and shaking of your cat's head caused by:
- ear infection
- ear mites
- skin allergies
- foreign object in the ear canal
- Scratches or bites from the environment or other animals
- Underlying health concerns and conditions
Diagnosis of Ear Hematomas in Cats
Your vet can typically diagnose ear hematomas in cats by visually examining or feeling the cat's ears. It may be easier to identify if there is also an infection.
If your vet remains uncertain after the physical examination, they can take a blood sample to determine the cause and confirm the hematoma.
Treatment for Ear Hematomas in Cats
The most recommended way to deal with ear hematomas is through surgery. Your veterinarian may opt for drainage if your pet can't be sedated or has a small hematoma. While this method will resolve the hematoma, it isn't a permanent fix, as the condition will likely return. Ear hematoma surgery, on the other hand, offers a lasting solution to your pet's problem and prevents excessive scarring.
Your vet will also address any underlying causes of the hematoma during treatment to prevent it from recurring.
Ear Hematoma Surgery for Cats
The most common and successful treatment for ear hematomas in cats is ear hematoma surgery. While the process itself may vary depending on the situation and veterinary surgeon, there will always be standard steps in the process. These are:
- A small incision will be made at each end of the hematoma to remove the blood from the pinna. A drainage tube will be sutured into the hematoma to drain any fluids that build-up, or the vet may open the area completely to prevent a build-up of blood and fluids.
- The veterinary surgeon will close up the area where the blood has accumulated permanently, preventing further hematomas.
- The pinna will be supported for proper healing through the cat's recovery process after ear hematoma surgery.
Once your vet resolves the ear hematoma, they will promptly address any additional related conditions.
As your cat heals, the vet will safely remove drainage tubes, bandages, or sutures as needed.
What Happens if Ear Hematomas Are Left Untreated
While ear hematomas will drain, heal, and scar on their own, this is not recommended. If left untreated, the following may occur.
- While healing the ear, hematoma will cause swelling and pressure, which will be very painful for your cat.
- The ear flap could become swollen and prevent you from being able to treat any infection that may be present.
- The process of healing ear hematomas in cats alone could take a very long time.
- There is an increased possibility of ear hematomas reoccurring if left to heal independently.
- If an ear hematoma heals naturally, there is a good chance it will leave excess scar tissue.
If your cat is experiencing an ear hematoma, it is best to have it examined by their vet and treated through surgery to decrease pain, speed up healing, and prevent this condition from happening again. Ask your vet directly about the cost of ear hematoma surgery for cats. They should be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate.
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.