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Cat Ear Hematoma Surgery

If you notice that your cat has developed a swollen lump on their ear, you might be wondering what it is, and how to help. Today, we discuss the causes of aural hematomas in cats, symptoms, and surgery to treat this condition.

What is the lump on my cat's ear?

A hematoma is a pocket of blood that develops within an organ or tissue, sometimes referred to as a 'blood blister.' It can vary in size and location, but in the case of aural (ear) hematomas, they appear between the skin and cartilage of your cat's ear flap. They don't occur frequently in cats, but that makes it all the more important for pet parents to know what to look for and what to do if their cat develops an ear hematoma. 

Causes & Signs of Ear Hematomas in Cats

Trauma or injury to the ear are the most usual cause of aural hematomas in cats. 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

Diagnosing Ear Hematomas in Cats

Veterinarians diagnose cau aural hematomas by simply examining the appearance and health of your cat's ears, looking for swelling or signs of infection. 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.

Treatment for Cats With Ear Hematomas

Surgery is generally required to treat cat ear hematomas. 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.

Hematoma Ear Surgery for Cats

The most common and successful treatment for ear hematomas in cats is ear hematoma 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:
  • Your cat's veterinary surgeon will make 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 in place to continue draining any fluids that build up or the vet may opt to completely open the area to prevent a build-up of blood and fluids.
  • Then the 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 recovery process.

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.

Cat Ear Hematoma Surgery Recovery

After surgery for an ear hematoma, your cat may feel some tenderness or discomfort for a few days. Your vet will prescribe medications to address pain and prevent infection and inflammation.

An Elizabethan collar (cone) will need to be worn by your kitty to prevent 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.

Ear Hematomas Left Untreated

While ear hematomas will sometimes drain, heal and scar on their own however this is not recommended. Untreated hematomas can lead to the following:

  • Pain due to swelling and pressure that could last for weeks.
  • Chronically swollen ear flap that could prevent effective treatment of infections in the future.
  • A greatly extended healing time.
  • Excessive scar tissue that gives the ear a distorted appearance.

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 reoccurring.

Cat Ear Hematoma Surgery Cost

Costs may vary depending on a number of factors. When surgery is needed to treat an ear hematoma, anesthetic drugs are required, as are multiple medical professionals. Your veterinarian may also request blood work to determine if your cat is healthy enough for surgery.

Other factors also play a role in the cost of your cat's ear hematoma surgery, such as where you live, the severity of the hematoma, and your cat's overall health.

To get an accurate estimate for your cat's surgery, please speak to your veterinary team. Your vet's office will be able to provide a detailed rundown of the costs involved and answer any questions you may have.

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.

Concerned about the health of your cat's ears? Contact Wachusett Animal Hospital today to book an examination for your feline family member, or to learn more about cat ear hematoma surgery at our hospital.

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