Your dog’s ear has enlarged and appears to have a large blister on it. It could be tiny or obstruct the entire ear. What you are likely witnessing is a dog ear hematoma, regardless of its size. There’s often no need to panic, even though the name and abrupt presence of it are unsettling. Although ear hematomas can be a major problem, the cause is frequently evident and the remedy is straightforward.
What Is a Dog Ear Hematoma?
The accumulation of blood outside of a blood vessel is known as a hematoma. It’s also known as a blood blister at times. An ear hematoma is the most typical kind of hematoma in dogs (or aural hematoma). These take place when a blood vessel rupture and bleeds between the outer ear’s cartilage and skin.
The size and appearance of ear hematomas might vary. They might be minor, affecting only a small section of the ear, or they can be large enough to block the ear canal, altering how the ear hangs or stands.
Although they might not be as red as a typical blood blister, they have a blister-like appearance. A hard, bloated mass that can feel spongy or like a water balloon will be present on the earflap in addition to the visible swelling.
Hematomas rarely burst, despite the fact that they could appear to be ready to. However, they can cause your dog a lot of discomfort, especially when touched.
The Cause of Dog Ear Hematoma
Trauma is the cause of hemotatomas. Excessive scratching or violent head shaking are the most frequent types of injuries that result in ear hematomas.
This means your dog may be more likely to get a hematoma if they experience the following:
- Ear infections
- Ear mites
- Insect bites
Another source of irritation that results in excessive head shaking and scratching is foreign items inside the ear. Bite wounds that do not break the skin are another frequent reason for ear hematomas.
Dogs Prone To Ear Hematomas
If your dog has ongoing ear issues, he is more likely to develop ear hematomas, especially if they make him move his head and scratch at his ear. Even in the absence of visible injuries, dogs with clotting or bleeding issues are more likely to develop hemorrhages.
Dogs with floppy or curved ears are also more prone to ear hematomas.
Ear Hematoma in Dogs Left Untreated
The blood will eventually reabsorb if you let a hematoma heal on its own. For smaller hematomas, this can happen in as little as 10 days. The reabsorption of bigger hematomas, however, might take weeks or even months.
Scar tissue also runs the potential of resulting in permanent disfigurement, like cauliflower ear. At this point, the skin starts to resemble a cauliflower floret. Depending on where the hematoma is, this disfigurement may or may not be a concern.
Are Ear Hematomas in Dogs Dangerous?
There are 3 main scenarios where an ear hematoma becomes more serious.
- The hematoma is blocking the ear canal preventing drainage and hearing.
- Natural healing without any sort of treatment could result in permanent ear canal narrowing. Ear infections would become more likely as a result.
- The hematoma is so large and painful it’s causing significant discomfort or pain.
Once the hematoma becomes this serious, you can still treat it but your options may be a bit more limited.
Conventional Treatments For Dog Ear Hematomas
Most traditional veterinarians will advise surgery if your dog has an ear hematoma. By creating an incision in the hematoma, the veterinarian will drain it and get rid of any clots. The skin and cartilage of the ear will subsequently be reattached using several sutures.
Before suturing, the veterinarian may additionally introduce a drain so that any new fluid accumulation can be quickly evacuated. Your dog needs to be sedated for this intrusive surgery.
Other conventional options may include the following:
- Aspiration: Using a syringe, the veterinarian will remove the fluid providing short-term relief.
- A teat cannula (or similar drain) placement. This will aid the hematoma in draining until it heals properly.
- A vacutainer, which creates a vacuum to remove the blood in the hematoma and maintain skin and cartilage to improve healing. If this option is chosen, you will need to change the drain when it is full.
These alternatives don’t require anesthesia and are less invasive than surgery. However, there are more natural alternatives that could be worth exploring first.
Managing Ear Hematomas at Home
It’s critical to take action right away to prevent the hematoma from growing larger. Hematomas can be treated naturally at home, but they can also be very dangerous. Consult your holistic veterinarian prior to making a decision.
Determine the Underlying Cause
You must address the underlying cause of the hematoma regardless of whether you use natural or conventional therapy. If you don’t, another hematoma could develop. The good news is that most frequent ear hematoma causes can be treated naturally.
Allergies in Dogs
There are two main types of allergies and each one is different.
Food Allergies: Any food can cause a food allergy, but corn, wheat, rice, eggs, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and lentils are major offenders. An elimination diet or allergy test is the best way to identify the problem. Common signs include a chronic ear infections, itchy skin, a dull coat, and watery or red eyes.
Environmental Allergies: Traditional veterinarians often recommend Benadryl, but this can do more harm than good. To learn about the dangers of Benadryl, read our article here.
Ear Infections in Dogs
One of the most common causes of veterinary visits is canine ear infections. Your dog will have hot, odorous ears with a waxy discharge if he has an ear infection. They could also have a crusty or scabby appearance. Your dog can experience serious hearing or balance loss.
For ear infections, doctors typically provide antibiotics, steroids, and topical medications. However, they only momentarily alleviate the symptoms, and they have potentially harmful side effects. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that can be used. Calendula, apple cider vinegar, green tea, and oil of oregano are a few common cures.
Ear Mites in Mites
Although they belong to the same family as ticks, ear mites don’t bury or bite. Instead, they eat the wax that collects in your dog’s ears. The majority of the time, ear mites are acquired outside or from another animal, such as a cat, dog, or ferret. If your dog has ear mites he may have:
- Droopy ears if they usually stand up
- Dark discharge
- A bad smell
There will also be tiny, moving white specks the size of a pinprick. however you probably won’t be able to see these unless you have excellent vision. You can use a cotton ball to gather debris from the outer ear canal and try to diagnose them yourself.
Use a magnifying glass to see any moving spots after placing it against a dark background. Olive oil, garlic oil, and green tea are examples of all-natural treatments for ear mites.
Ticks in Dogs
Ticks can occasionally be seen on dogs. Ticks are noticeable because they are larger than mites. However, they could be difficult to spot if they’re further into your dog’s ear. If there is nothing evident on the exterior canal, make sure to examine as far within your dog’s ear as you can.
When they see a tick, the majority of people tend to fear at first, although this is unnecessary. Even if it’s crucial to move quickly, you shouldn’t hurry. Any irritation the tick may have caused should go away shortly once it has been removed.
Get Rid of the Dog Ear Hematoma
Fortunately, there are several natural remedies you can try.
Yunnan Baiyao for Dogs
Chinese herbal medicine called Yunnan Baiyao is intended for ingestion. Use 1 capsule or tablet or 250 mg of powder per 20 lbs of body weight once or twice per day.
Homeopathy for Dogs
Arnica montana 30C or Hamamelis 30C are homeopathic remedies that can help with your dog’s ear hematoma. They’re best for simple hematomas that don’t have a lot of inflammation. Give one of these remedies up to twice daily for 1 week, then once a day for 4 to 5 days.
If the hematoma continues to get larger, stop treatment and consult your vet.
Yarrow for Dogs
Apply yarrow oil topically to help strengthen exterior capillary walls.
Leeches for Dogs
Most are hesitant to try this option, but it has proven successful not only in past treatments, but current as well. Leeches have long been used medicinally by humans and are being utilized today. Actually, the FDA views them as a medical device.
They do more than only consume blood, as you may already be aware. Leech saliva contains anti-clotting and therapeutic qualities. They are a fantastic option for hematomas because this helps avoid the formation of scar tissue. Online retailers like Biopharm provide veterinary leeches for sale. However, before utilizing this treatment, speak with your holistic veterinarian.
Can You Drain An Ear Hematoma At Home?
It is not advised to drain a hematoma at home. While it might momentarily make your dog feel better, it also runs the risk of infecting them. And typically, the hematoma returns.
Consult your holistic veterinarian if you believe that your dog’s hematoma requires draining. When they first occur, ear hematomas might be a little frightening, but there are numerous natural ways to treat them.
Discuss all options with your holistic veterinarian and consider some of these less intrusive treatments before having surgery.
New RVC research reveals dog breeds with folded ears more likely to suffer from blood blisters of the ear