An ear hematoma can develop between the skin and cartilage of your cat's ear flap and lead to deformity if left untreated. Our Santa Clarita vets discuss the surgery used to treat this condition and what to expect during recovery.
What are ear hematomas in cats?
A pocket of blood that develops within an organ or tissue is a hematoma. This is sometimes also referred to as a blood blister and can vary in location and size.
Ear (aural) hematomas appear between the skin and cartilage of your cat's ear flap. The fact that they don't often occur in cats makes it all the more imperative for pet parents to understand what to watch for and what to do if their cat develops one of these.
Treatment for Cats with Ear Hematomas
Veterinary surgery is the most commonly recommended treatment option to address the issue of ear hematomas in cats. Some pets won't be able to undergo anesthesia or the hematoma may be quite small. In these circumstances, your veterinarian may opt to drain the hematoma instead.
While this method of treatment can help to clear up the hematoma, it is not a permanent solution since the condition is likely to recur. Your pet's problem can be permanently resolved with ear hematoma surgery, which will also prevent excessive scarring from occurring.
While your cat's hematoma is being surgically treated, your vet will also treat any underlying factors that may be contributing to the hematoma in order to prevent this condition from recurring.
Ear Hematoma Surgery for Cats
The most common (and most likely to prove successful) treatment for ear hematomas in cats is ear hematoma surgery. While the process itself may vary depending on the veterinary surgeon performing the procedure and your pet's specific circumstances, there are some standard steps to the process. These include:
- Your cat's veterinary surgeon will create a small incision at each end of the hematoma before removing the blood from the pinna (ear flap). A tube will then be placed to drain the hematoma and sutured in place to drain any fluids that accumulate. Alternatively, the vet may opt to completely open the area to prevent bodily fluids from building up.
- The area where the blood accumulated will then be closed, permanently preventing hematomas in the future.
- The pinna will be supported to allow for the area to properly heal during the recovery process.
Once the ear hematoma has been treated, your vet will treat any additional conditions that may have developed in relation to the ear hematoma.
As your animal heals following this surgery, your vet will remove any drainage tubes, sutures or bandages when it's safe to do so.
Recovery From Ear Hematoma Surgery in Cats
Your kitty may experience some tenderness or discomfort for a few days following their procedure, but your vet is sure to provide medications to address pain and prevent infection and inflammation.
Your cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar to stop 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.
What Can Happen If Cat Ear Hematomas Are 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 caused by swelling and pressure that may last for weeks
- Deformity of the ear
- Swollen ear flap that can prevent effective treatment of any infection that may be present
- The process of ear hematomas in cats healing on their own could take a very long time
- A greatly extended healing time
- Excessive scar tissue resulting in the ear appearing distorted
- Necrosis (death) of the pinna
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
Surgery to treat ear hematomas in cats varies considerably from one vet to another, from one geographical location to another, and even from one cat to another. The cost of your cat's ear hematoma surgery will depend on a number of factors including the severity of the hematoma and the overall health of your feline friend.
To get an accurate estimate of the cost of your cat's surgery speak to the veterinary professionals at your vet's office. Most animal hospitals are happy to supply clients with an estimate containing a detailed breakdown of the various costs involved in procedures such as surgery.
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.