Discover all you need to know about aural hematomas in cats, from their causes and signs to the treatment options available. Our Mankato veterinarians provide valuable insights in this post, highlighting the discomfort caused by these hematomas and the potential need for surgical repair.
A hematoma is a blood pocket that can form in tissues or organs, also known as a 'blood blister.' When it comes to cats and ear hematomas, they typically occur between the skin and cartilage of the cat's ear flap. Although they are not common in cats, it is crucial for cat owners to recognize the signs and take appropriate action if their feline friend develops an ear hematoma.
The Causes of Cat Ear Hematomas
Ear hematomas in cats usually occur due to trauma or injury, which causes damage to the tiny blood vessels in the cat's ear flap. These vessels break and leak, leading to a swelling or pocket filled with blood. 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 cat has an ear hematoma, the main sign you'll likely notice is that the ear swells up. If the swelling is significant, the ear flap itself may become swollen and sag down due to its weight. When you touch the swollen area, it may feel tight or squishy, so handle it gently. Your cat might express discomfort if the spot is tender! Besides changes in the appearance of your cat's ear, keep an eye on their behavior. If their ear is irritated or sensitive, they may groom the area more frequently or avoid being touched.
Diagnosing & Treating Ear Hematomas in Cats
When you take your cat to the vet, they will carefully check your cat's ears for mites or infections, which are common reasons for ear hematomas. This is particularly important if your cat is susceptible to infections. To determine the exact cause, your vet may use a needle to collect a sample for further testing.
The most recommended treatment for ear hematomas in cats is surgery. However, if the hematoma is small or if your cat cannot undergo anesthesia safely, your vet may attempt to drain the site using a needle. While this procedure works for some hematomas, it is not ideal and the issue may reoccur. Aural hematoma surgery offers a permanent solution for your pet's problem and can minimize scarring. Additionally, your vet will address the underlying issue that caused the hematoma, such as infection or allergy.
Cat Aural Hematoma Surgery
During the surgery, your vet will create a small cut in the ear to release the trapped blood. After that, they will stitch the incision to prevent future blood accumulation and infection. The vet or vet surgeon will also wrap a bandage around the ear to keep the area clean. The total expense for this surgery will vary based on factors like your cat's condition, your location, and the specific veterinarian you choose. To get an idea of the cost for your cat's aural hematoma surgery, it's best to ask your veterinarian for an estimate.
How Cats Recover From Aural Hematoma Surgery
After the procedure, your cat may feel some tenderness or discomfort for a few days. However, the vet will give you medications to relieve the pain and prevent infection and inflammation.
To protect the surgical area from scratching, your cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar. This will prevent inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infection.
Your vet will provide you with instructions and useful advice on how to take care of your cat at home during the recovery period. They will also let you know when to come back for follow-up visits and when the stitches should be 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.