Dog Ear Hematoma

Over the last couple of days my dog, Bella has been shaking her head like crazy.  We took her to the park the other day and she was in and out of the water for hours so I figured she had water in her ear.  Now she could have had water in her ear but we now have a bigger problem.  Because of all the shaking she now has a ear hematoma, and the only reason I know that is because I use to work at a vet hospital so I know exactly what those are.  I thought this might be helpful to anyone else that has a dog who won’t stop shaking their head.  While I was doing more research online this is what I found…

A hematoma or blood blister is a swelling filled with blood that can be painful and invite infection if it bursts. Some hematomas in adogs ear can heal itself over time, but this is rare. Surgery is often required to remove the hematoma. For dogs hematomas often happen on the ear flaps.


    1. Hematomas often happen in one ear but can happen in both. The dog will be scratching at the ear constantly, perhaps even rubbing the ear with a paw. Sometimes they whine or yelp when they touch the ear. They may even keep shaking their heads much more than usual. Part of most of the ear will look swollen, red or brick pink and the dog will not be happy when you touch it. If the ear flap doesn’t look red or brick pink but the dog is showing all of the other signs of a hematoma, it still could be a hematoma.


    1. It’s very hard to prevent hematoma on dog ears, but you can help to cut down on reasons why a dog would rub or scratch its ears too much and cause the injury that results in a hematoma. Preventing ear mites and other parasites can help cut down the chances of a hematoma. Regular grooming can help ensure that a foreign object or a burr doesn’t irritate the ears. In dogs with long, floppy ears, like Bassett hounds, ear infections can be prevented by occasionally turning the ear inside out gently to air dry.


    1. Dogs with long, floppy ears that hug close to the head will be more prone to getting ear hematomas. Spaniels, hounds and many setters have ears like these. Their ears need more attention so they do not get infected, get a foreign object stuck in the ear or get parasites. Dogs that walk on their ears are also prone.


    1. Ear hematomas are one reason why some dog breeders promote cropping a dog’s ears to make them pointy. However, this cosmetic procedure is not sensible as it causes even more medical problems from post-op infection and the dog scratching its stitches.


  1. Do not ignore a swollen ear or any sign of a hematoma. This is a condition that can make your dog miserable. Many dogs rip open their ears and catch potentially lethal infections. Even when a dog manages to survive a hematoma without surgery, they often have deformed ears. In some countries, states or localities, you can be prosecuted for animal cruelty for withholding medical treatment for your dog’s hematoma.

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