In our article, our Babcock Ranch veterinarians talk about a common issue in cats—aural hematomas. These can be really uncomfortable for cats and might need surgery to fix. We cover the causes, signs, and treatment choices related to aural hematomas in cats.
A hematoma is a blood collection that can form within a body tissue or organ, resembling a 'blood blister.' When it comes to cats, specifically their ears, these hematomas can be found between the skin and cartilage of the ear flap. While not common in cats, knowing how to spot and handle an ear hematoma is crucial for cat owners.
The Causes of Cat Ear Hematomas
Usually, ear hematomas in cats happen due to injuries or accidents. When the tiny blood vessels in a cat's ear flap get hurt, they can break and cause blood to collect inside, creating a swollen pocket filled with blood. Common reasons for 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 a swollen ear, you might notice that the ear looks bigger. Sometimes, the ear flap might droop if the swelling is large. When you touch the swelling, it could feel tight or soft, so be careful because your cat might feel pain.
Watch out for changes in your cat's behavior too. If the ear hurts, your cat might groom the area a lot or avoid being touched.
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.
The most common treatment for ear hematomas in cats is surgery. If your cat's ear hematoma is small or if anesthesia is risky, your vet might attempt to drain it with a needle. However, this isn't the best option, as the issue could return. Aural hematoma surgery offers a lasting solution, reducing scarring for your pet.
Your vet will also treat the underlying problem causing the hematoma (e.g., infection, allergy).
Cat Aural Hematoma Surgery
As part of the surgery, your veterinarian will make a small surgical incision in the ear flap to drain the blood pocket. Once cleared, your vet will use tiny sutures to close the pocket and prevent blood or infection from building up again. The vet or vet surgeon will bandage the ear to ensure the site doesn't accumulate blood.
The cost of this surgery will depend on various factors, including your cat's specific case, where you are, and the vet you see. Ask your veterinarian for an estimate of the cost of your cat's aural hematoma surgery.
How Cats Recover From Aural Hematoma Surgery
After the procedure, your cat might feel a bit sore for a few days. But don't worry, the vet will give you medicine to help with the pain and to keep infections and inflammation away.
To protect the surgical area, your cat will need to wear a cone-shaped collar. This will prevent scratching, which could lead to issues like inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infections.
The vet will guide you on how to take care of your cat at home while they recover from surgery. You'll also get advice on when to return for check-ups and 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.