If you observe that your feline companion has developed an ear hematoma, you might wonder how to help. Today, our New York vet discusses the causes of aural hematomas in cats, symptoms, and treatment options.
A hematoma, often called a 'blood blister,' is a localized blood collection within an organ or tissue. In the context of aural (ear) hematomas in cats, these occur in the space between the skin and the cartilage of your feline friend's ear flap. While it's uncommon in cats, pet owners must be informed about the signs and necessary steps to take if their cat experiences an ear hematoma.
What Causes Ear Hematomas In Cats?
Usually, the cause of ear hematoma is trauma- or injury-related. When damage occurs to the small blood vessels located in the cat's ear flap, they break and leak internally, creating a blood-filled swelling or pocket. Some common causes of cat-eat hematomas include:
- Your kitty scratching their ears or shaking their heads due to:
- ear infection
- ear mites
- skin allergies
- foreign object in the ear canal
- Scratches or bites (e.g., sharp thorns, fights with other cats)
- Underlying health issues
Symptoms Of Ear Hematoma In Cats
If your pet has an ear hematoma, the most common sign is likely to be a new bump or swelling on the ear. If it is large enough, the ear flap itself will be swollen and possibly cause it to droop under its weight.
While assessing the swelling, be sure to handle it gently, as your cat might express discomfort if the area is tender. In addition to visual changes in your feline friend's appearance, pay close attention to any alterations in their behavior. If their ear is sensitive or uncomfortable, they may increase grooming in that area or become more averse to physical contact.
Diagnosis & Treatment Of Ear Hematomas In Cats
Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination of your beloved feline companion's ears, with a keen focus on identifying potential issues like mites or infections. These factors often contribute to hematoma occurrences and injuries, particularly if your pet has a history of infection susceptibility. In certain situations, your vet may employ a needle to extract a sample for precise confirmation of the condition's nature.
A simple surgical procedure is the most commonly recommended method to address the issue of ear hematomas. If the hematoma on your cat's ear is small or your pet cannot be safely put under anesthesia, it may be possible for your vet to try to drain the site with a needle. While this procedure is suitable for some hematomas, it isn't ideal, and the issue will likely arise again. Aural hematoma surgery is a permanent solution for your pet's problem, and surgically removing hematomas can reduce scarring.
Your vet will also treat the underlying issue causing the hematoma (e.g., infection, allergy).
Aural Hematoma Surgery For Cats
This procedure consists of the veterinarian making a small surgical incision in the ear flap to drain the blood pocket. Afterward, your vet will use tiny sutures to close the pocket and stop blood or infection from reoccurring. The vet or vet surgeon will bandage the ear to ensure the site doesn't accumulate blood.
After your cat's dental procedure, you can expect them to experience some tenderness or discomfort for a few days. Rest assured that your veterinarian will prescribe appropriate medications to manage pain and minimize the risk of infection and inflammation.
Your cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar to stop them from scratching the surgical site and causing inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infection.
You'll receive detailed instructions and valuable guidance from your veterinarian on how to provide at-home care for your feline companion during the post-surgery period.
Additionally, your vet will inform you about when to schedule follow-up visits and the optimal time for stitch removal.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.