Our vets in Seattle have shared valuable insights on aural hematomas in cats, a condition that may cause severe discomfort and necessitate surgical intervention. Read on to learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this ailment.
Did you know that a hematoma can be described as a 'blood blister' that forms within a tissue or organ? It can vary in size and location, but in cats, it can appear between the skin and cartilage of their ear flap. Although it's not a common occurrence in cats, it's crucial for cat owners to familiarize themselves with the symptoms and what to do if their feline friend develops an ear hematoma.
The Causes of Cat Ear Hematomas
In most cases, the causes of ear hematomas in cats are related to trauma or injury. When damage occurs to the small blood vessels located in the cat's ear flap, they break and leak internally, resulting in a blood-filled swelling or pocket. Some common causes of ear hematomas in cats include:
- Your kitty scratching their ears or shaking their head due to:
- foreign object in the ear canal
- skin allergies
- ear mites
- ear infection
- Underlying health issues
- Scratches or bites (e.g. sharp thorns, fights with other cats)
Signs & Symptoms of Ear Hematomas in Cats
If your feline friend is suffering from an ear hematoma, you may notice that their ear appears swollen. In severe cases, the weight of the swelling may cause the ear flap to droop. The swelling may feel firm or soft when touched, but it's important to be gentle as your cat may be experiencing discomfort. Keep an eye on your cat's behavior, as they may groom the affected area more frequently or avoid being touched if their ear is sensitive or irritated.
Diagnosing & Treating Ear Hematomas in Cats
Your vet will examine your cat's ears for mites or infections as these are common causes of ear hematomas aside from injuries to the area, especially if your pet is prone to infections. Depending on the case, your vet might use a needle to take a sample to confirm the nature of the condition.
If your cat has an ear hematoma, surgery is the recommended treatment method. Sometimes, if the hematoma is small or your cat cannot undergo anesthesia, your vet may attempt to drain the site with a needle. However, this is not always the best solution and the hematoma may return. Aural hematoma surgery is a permanent fix for your pet and can also help reduce scarring. Additionally, your vet will address any underlying issues such as allergies or infections that may have caused the hematoma.
Cat Aural Hematoma Surgery
During the surgery, your veterinarian will make a small incision in the ear flap to drain the blood pocket. After clearing the area, the vet will use small sutures to close the pocket and prevent any further build-up of blood or infection. To prevent the accumulation of blood, the vet or vet surgeon will bandage the ear.
The cost of the surgery depends on various factors such as the specific case of your cat, location, and the veterinarian you consult. You can ask your veterinarian for an estimate of the cost of aural hematoma surgery for your cat.
How Cats Recover From Aural Hematoma Surgery
It's normal for your cat to feel some tenderness or discomfort for a few days after surgery. However, your veterinarian will provide medications to manage the pain and prevent infection and inflammation.
To prevent further complications such as inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infection, your cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar.
Your vet will give you instructions and useful advice on how to care for your feline friend while they recover at home. They will also inform you of when to schedule follow-up visits and when 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.