Today, our Seattle veterinary team will discuss ear hematomas in cats and the surgical procedure used to treat this condition across our location.
What are ear hematomas in cats?
A hematoma is a collection of blood that forms in an organ or tissue, similar to a 'blood blister.' Aural hematomas, specifically, occur between the skin and cartilage of a cat's ear flap and can differ in size and location.
Although they are not common in cats, it's crucial for pet owners to recognize the signs and know how to respond if their cat develops an ear hematoma.
Treatment for Cats With Ear Hematomas
Surgery is typically the preferred method to address ear hematomas, but if the hematoma is small or the pet is unable to undergo anesthesia, draining may be an alternative option.
Although draining can clear the hematoma, it is not a long-term solution since the condition is likely to occur again. Ear hematoma surgery, on the other hand, is a permanent solution that prevents excessive scarring.
Additionally, your vet will treat any underlying cause of the hematoma during the procedure to prevent it from reoccurring.
Ear Hematoma Surgery for CatsThe 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:
- Your cat's veterinary surgeon will make a small incision at each end of the hematoma and remove the blood from the pinna. A drainage tube will be placed in the hematoma and sutured in place to continue draining any fluids that build up or the vet may opt to completely open the area to prevent a build-up of blood and fluids.
- Then the surgeon will close up the area where the blood accumulated permanently preventing further hematomas.
- The pinna will be supported to allow for proper healing through the recovery process.
Once the ear hematoma has been resolved, your vet will treat any additional conditions related to the ear hematoma.
As your cat heals, the vet will remove any drainage tubes, bandages or sutures when it is safe to do so.
Recovery From Ear Hematoma Surgery in Cats
After the procedure, your cat may experience some discomfort or tenderness for a few days, but your vet will provide pain medication and preventative measures for infection and inflammation.
To prevent scratching, which can cause bleeding, inflammation, pulled stitches, or infection, your cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar.
Your vet will provide instructions on how to care for your cat at home during their recovery and when to return for follow-up visits and to have the stitches removed.
What Can Happen If Cat Ear Hematomas Are Left Untreated
While ear hematomas will sometimes drain, heal and scar on their own, however this is not recommended. Untreated hematomas can lead to the following:
- Pain caused by swelling and pressure that could last for weeks.
- Swollen ear flap that can prevent effective treatment of any infection that may be present.
- The process of ear hematomas in cats healing on their own could take a very long time.
- A greatly extended healing time.
- Excessive scar tissue giving the ear a distorted appearance.
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 reoccurring.
Cat Ear Hematoma Surgery Cost
The cost of ear hematoma surgery for cats varies depending on several factors, such as the severity of the hematoma and the cat's overall health, and can differ among veterinarians, locations, and cats.
To obtain a precise cost estimate, speak with your vet's office. They can provide you with a detailed breakdown of the expenses involved in the procedure, and most animal hospitals are willing to do so.
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.
Does your cat have an ear hematoma that requires surgery? Our Seattle vets are here to help! Contact Cat Clinic of Seattle today to book an examination for your feline friend.