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Surgery for Ear Hematomas in Cats

Hematomas, or blood blisters, can easily occur if your cat experiences trauma to the ear or has been excessively scratching. Today, our Snellville vets share the typical causes of ear hematomas in cats, how they are diagnosed and how surgery can repair this issue and prevent complications. 

Ear Hematomas in Cats

A hematoma, also known as a blood blister, is a blood pocket that forms inside an organ or tissue. Aural (ear) hematomas develop between the skin and cartilage of your cat's ear flap, though their size and location can vary.

Cat ear hematomas don't happen often, but that just makes it more crucial for pet parents to know what to look for and what to do if their cat develops one.

Causes of Ear Hematomas in Cats

Cat ear hematomas are typically caused by trauma or injury to the area. As a cat's ear is damaged the blood vessels rupture and leak into the surrounding area filling it with blood and creating the hematoma. The most common causes of cat eat hematomas include: 

  • Scratching and shaking of your cat's head caused by:
    • ear infection
    • ear mites
    • skin allergies
    • foreign object in the ear canal
  • Scratches or bites from the environment or other animals
  • Underlying health concerns and conditions

Diagnosis of Ear Hematomas in Cats

Diagnosing ear hematomas in cats can usually easily be done just by your vet visually examining or feeling the cat's ears, and may be easiest to spot if there is also an infection present.

If your vet is still unsure after a physical examination they may take a blood sample to determine the cause and confirm the hematoma.

Treatment for Ear Hematomas in Cats

The most commonly recommended method to address the issue of ear hematomas is surgery. If your pet is unable to be sedated or if the hematoma is small, your veterinarian may choose to drain it instead. This method will clear up the hematoma, but it is not a permanent solution because the condition is likely to reoccur. For hematomas in the ear, surgery is a permanent solution for your cat that also prevents excessive scarring.

During treatment, your vet will also treat any underlying cause of the hematoma to prevent the situation from reoccurring.

The Cost of Ear Hematoma Surgery for Cats

If your cat requires ear hematoma surgery, the cost will vary depending on a variety of factors including the location or the clinic, the expertise of the veterinarian and the other diagnostics and treatments that they may need.

Speak with your vet to obtain an estimate of the cost of your cat's surgery. They will also be able to answer any questions that you may have an explain the process to you.

Ear Hematoma Surgery for Cats

The most common and successful treatment for ear hematomas in cats is 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:

  • A small incision will be made at each end of the hematoma to remove the blood from the pinna. A drainage tube will be sutured into the hematoma to drain any fluids that build up or the vet may choose to completely open the area to prevent a buildup of blood and fluids.
  • The veterinary 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 cat's ear hematoma recovery after surgery.

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.

Post-Surgery Recovery

After your cat has had ear hematoma surgery, the recovery process should be relatively straightforward. They may feel some amount of tenderness or discomfort for a few days following the procedure, but your vet is sure to provide medications to address pain and prevent infection and inflammation.

Your cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar (E-collar) to stop them from scratching 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.

What Happens if Ear Hematomas Are Left Untreated

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

  • While healing the ear hematoma will cause swelling and pressure which will be very painful for your cat.
  • The ear flap could become swollen and prevent you from being able to treat any infection that may be present.
  • The process of ear hematomas in cats healing on their own could take a very long time.
  • 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 good chance that it will leave an excess amount of scar tissue.

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 happening again. Ask your vet directly about the cost of ear hematoma surgery for cats. They should be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate.

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 a hematoma on its ear? Contact our Snellville vets today to schedule a consultation to discuss treatment.

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