Cats can be adventurous getting into all sorts of mischief. Sometimes this can lead to injuries and can result in secondary conditions such as hematomas for injuries affecting your cat's ears. Today, our Grass Valley veterinary surgeons discuss ear hematomas in cats and when surgery may be needed.
What Are Ear Hematomas in Cats?
A hematoma is a pocket of blood that develops within an organ or tissue, which you may more commonly know as a blood blister. These can vary in size and location, but in the case of ear hematomas, they appear between the skin and cartilage of your cat's ear flap. While ear hematomas are typically uncommon for cats, they are not unheard of, and so it is ideal to be aware of what the signs of this condition are and know when surgery may be necessary.
The Common 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, 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
How Ear Hematomas in Cats Are Diagnosed
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 in order to determine the cause and confirm the hematoma.
How Ear Hematomas in Cats Are Treated
The most commonly recommended method to address the issue of ear hematomas is surgery. For pets that are unable to undergo anesthesia or if the hematoma is quite small then your vet may opt to drain it instead. This method will work to clear up the hematoma but is not a permanent solution as the condition is likely to present itself again. Ear hematoma surgery is a permanent solution for your pet's problem, and surgery will prevent excessive scarring from occurring.
During treatment, your vet will also treat any underlying cause of the hematoma in order to prevent the situation from reoccurring.
Surgery For Ear Hematomas in CatsThe most common and successful treatment for ear hematomas in cats is veterinary 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:
- The vet surgeon will use surgery to create a small incision at each end of the hematoma and remove the blood from the pinna. A drainage tube will be placed in the hematoma and sutured to continue draining any fluids that build up or the veterinary surgeon may opt to open the area to prevent a build-up of blood and fluids.
- The veterinary surgeon will close up the area where the blood accumulated permanently using surgery to prevent further hematomas.
- The pinna will be supported to allow for proper healing through the recovery process.
Once the ear hematoma has been resolved through surgery, your veterinary surgeon will treat any additional conditions related to the ear hematoma.
As your cat heals from veterinary surgery, their surgeon will remove any drainage tubes, bandages or sutures when it is safe to do so.
Ear Hematomas Left Without Surgical Treatment
While ear hematomas will drain, heal and scar on their own this is not recommended. If left without veterinary surgery, 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 veterinary surgeon and treated through surgery to decrease pain, speed up healing and prevent this condition from happening again.
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.