Burst Blood Vessel Caused Dog’s Swollen Ear

Aural hematomas in dogs may require surgery.


Q. My dog's ear has flopped over, and seems to be swollen. Is there anything that can be done to relieve the pressure and pain?

A. It sounds like your dog has an aural hematoma, a swelling of the outside portion of the ear (pinna) that occurs when a blood vessel in the pinna bursts, causing itto fill up with blood. It can be a painful and uncomfortable condition.
Aural hematomas usually result from frequent and vigorous head shaking due to an underlying ear infection. It’s important to get any infection under control first before treating the hematoma, or it could reoccur.
The treatment of choice is a surgical drainage of the ear, under sedation. The veterinarian will then sew a rigid mesh splint on both sides of the ear so it does not fill up again. It’s a rather involved and costly procedure, and not without complications, such as postoperative bleeding.
About 30 percent of dogs with aural hematomas will respond to medical treatment. The veterinarian will drain the blood from the ear (under light sedation), and inject a steroid medication into the ear. Sometimes a head bandage is used to help prevent another hematoma forming. Although many dogs respond to medical treatment, if the ear fills up with blood again they will need the full surgical treatment.
Remember to have any underlying ear infection addressed by your veterinarian, then discuss medical versus surgical options.


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Mr DFW   Justin, TX

6/17/2012 4:01:10 PM

I have a better approach to treatment for aural hematoma in dog
Try putting an 'Aural Splint' over the affected ear after
The treatment is specific and should be applied by a veterinarian, but in some cases a trial by owner may be included in a case study for the
Do not crush the ear when applying the
Do not lacerate or open the hematoma for fear of
Trim any excess hair from the
Aspirate and prepare the ear with non-elastic athletic tape folded over the edges lengthwise and onto the head. Leave a tab out beyond the tip of the
Non-elastic tape is specified to not continually compress the plates into the ear possibly cutting off the blood flow.

The ear should be confined within the plates and not compressed between
The hematoma will refill slightly and then halted because the plates will not allow it to
Now the blood flow from the broken vessel will cease and begin to
The tearing of the tissues will also
Leave the 'aural splint' taped to the ear for two
Like a cocoon, in between the plates healing will occur by means of a thin blood clot forming from the healing body fluids, stopping the blood release into the ear, and the tissues will begin adhesion from the clot providing the materials the body
The non-elastic tape provides for normal blood flow into the ear to occur and healing to
After the two week treatment, remove the plates and observe.

The blood clot will be visible, but will regenerate after some
The tissues will be held together by the adhesion and properties of the
As the clot is absorbed through natural means, the skin and cartilage will remain attached and scarring will not be
If anyone, veterinarian or pet owner is interested, make contact with me to get a free


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mark   chesterfield, ID

11/28/2011 9:57:06 AM

my doberman has this i ntook her to the vet drained a little bit not it all injected steroid did not splint or bandage it when it came back bigger they did not even try draining it just said operation 335 pounds should i seek a second opinion

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Maureen   Philadelphia, PA

4/28/2011 2:07:21 PM

Your information regarding a burst blood vessel was very helpful. My beagle is at our vets now having surgery for a ear blood vessel injury. I feel much better knowing what to expect to hear from our vet when it is time to pick him up. I was given some info from our vet, but to hear the specific procedure that is being done, helps me to feel more comfortable with what is actually being done. Thank you.

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Lois   Palacios, TX

11/11/2009 4:51:06 PM

My vet insists there is no ear infection; however, my 8 yr old male German Shepherd's ear is filling up for the third time in about a month. First, he had the surgery with the buttons; the next day after the bandage was removed,the ear filled up again and then it was lanced, pinned back and taped for another 10 days. His ear has been very warm to touch ever since the bandage came off and now it has started swelling up again. He is shaking his head and yawning more. I am at wits end as to what to do -- take him back or find another vet -- meanwhile he is uncomfortable.

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