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Aural Hematoma in Cats: When is Surgery Needed?

Aural Hematoma in Cats: When is Surgery Needed?

If your cat gets a swollen ear, you might worry about what to do. In this post, our Goleta vets discuss what causes aural hematomas in cats, in addition to symptoms and treatment options.

Sometimes, a little pocket of blood, like a blood blister, can show up inside an organ or tissue.  in the case of ear hematomas in cats, this happens between the ear's cartilage and skin. 

While they don't occur often in cats, this makes it all the more imperative for cat owners to understand how to recognize ear hematomas and what to do if their feline friend develops one. 

What Causes Aural Hematomas in Cats?

Typically, the cause of a cat's ear hematoma will be related to injury or trauma. When the small blood vessels located in the cat's ear flap are damaged, they break and leak internally, resulting in a blood-filled pocket or swelling. Some common causes of cat ear hematomas include:

Ear Scratching or Head Shaking

A cat may scratch their ears or shake their heads due to ear mites, an infection in the ear, a foreign object caught in the ear canal, or skin allergies.

Bites or Scratches

Fights with other cats or sharp thorns can leave bite or scratch marks on the ear. Underlying health issues may also be to blame. 

Signs of Ear Hematoma in Cats

If your kitty has an ear hematoma, the most common symptom will probably be a new bump or swelling on the ear. If it's large enough, the ear flap itself will be swollen, potentially causing the ear flap to droop under its weight. 

The swelling might feel soft or firm, but be careful, your cat might react if it hurts. Also, keep an eye on your at's behavior. If their er is tender or irritated, they might groom it more or avoid being touched. 

Diagnosis & Treatment of Ear Hematomas in Cats

Your feline friend's ears can be closely examined by your veterinarian for infections or ear mites - common causes of hematoma aside from injury to the area. This is especially true if your cat is susceptible to infections.

Your vet may also take a sample of the hematoma using a needle to confirm the nature of your cat's condition. 

Treatment: Aural Hematoma Surgery for Cats

When it comes to treating aural hematomas in cats, surgery is often recommended. The vet will make a small surgical incision in the ear flap so the blood pocket can be drained. Tiny sutures will then be used to close the pocket and to stop blood or infection from accumulating again. 

To stop the blood from coming back, the vet might wrap the ear in a bandage. 

If the hematoma on your feline companion's ear is small or your kitty cannot safely undergo anesthesia, your vet may choose to recommend draining the site with a needle. 

If the hematoma is small or your cat can't have surgery, the vet might try draining it with a needle. However, this isn't the best option, and the problem might come back. Surgery is the best way to permanently fix the issue and reduce any scarring. 

Your veterinarian will also treat the underlying cause of the hematoma (e.g. allergy or infection). 

What happens if you leave a cat's ear hematoma untreated?

While ear hematomas will drain, heal, and scar on their own, this is not recommended. If left untreated, the following may occur:

  • The ear hematoma may cause swelling while healing, which can be very painful for cats
  • The ear flap may swell and prevent you from being able to treat any infection that might be present.
  • It may take a very long time for ear hematomas in cats to heal on their own.
  • There is an increased possibility of ear hematomas reoccurring if left to heal on their own. 
  • If an ear hematoma heals naturally, there is a higher risk for excess car tissue.

If your cat is suffering from an ear hematoma, it's best to have it examined by one of our veterinarians in Goleta and treated with surgery to decrease pain, speed healing, and prevent the condition from reoccurring.

How much does cat ear hematoma surgery cost?

The price for cat ear hematoma surgery can vary. It depends on your catès condition, where you live, your vet's fees, and other factors. Your vet can give you an estimate of the cost and answer any questions you have about the surgery. 

Post-Surgery Recovery

After your catès procedure, they might feel a bit tender or uncomfortable for a few days, but your vet will give you medicine to ease any pain and prevent infection or swelling. 

Your cat will need to wear a cone to stop them from scratching or rubbing the surgical site and causing inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infection.

You will receive instructions and helpful advice from your vet on how to administer home care for your feline friend as they are recovering from surgery at home, as well as when to return for follow-up visits and to have the stitches removed.

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.

Do you suspect your cat has an ear hematoma? Contact our Goleta vets today.

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At Goleta Airport Pet Hospital, we are always accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health and well-being of all Goleta pet companions. Contact us to book your pet's first appointment today!

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