How Long Will It Take for a Dog Ear Hematoma To Go Away?


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Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM

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An ear hematoma (also referred to as an aural hematoma) is an uncomfortable blood clot that occurs inside of a dog’s ear flap. This condition can last for around 1 to 6 weeks, depending on the severity of the hematoma and how well it has been treated. It is common for dogs with aural hematomas to have an underlying infection, too.

The duration of an aural hematoma largely depends on how it is treated and whether your dog is irritating the hematoma by shaking their head and scratching at the ear.

If you are wondering how long your dog’s ear hematoma will take to go away and how you can speed up the healing process, then this article has all the information you need!

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What Is An Ear Hematoma In Dogs?

An aural hematoma occurs when the ear flap gets filled with bloody fluid, which causes the ear to swell and form a squishy lump. The lump is caused by broken blood vessels in the ear, making it like a large blood clot or a swollen bruise.

The swelling of the dog’s ear flap is painful and uncomfortable, which causes dogs to constantly shake their heads to try and alleviate the discomfort, which in turn exacerbates the situation as the hematoma gets larger and takes longer to heal.

vet showing ear hemotoma on a dog
Image Credit: ThamKC, Shutterstock

What Causes Ear Hematomas In Dogs?

Aural hematomas usually form via self-inflicted injuries, which typically occur in dog breeds that have long ears because constant head shaking can cause trauma to the ear.

These are some of the common causes of ear hematomas in dogs:

  • Violent head shaking
  • Impaired immune system
  • Inflammation and facial swelling
  • Trauma from a wound
  • Irritation to the ear (such as hair plucking)
  • Infection of the external ear canal
  • Ectoparasites
  • Allergies
  • Blood clotting defects

Most dogs with long, floppy ears that dangle from their head are more likely to be affected by an ear hematoma because constant head shaking that can cause trauma.

How Long Does a Dog Ear Hematoma Last?

If untreated an aural hematomas may be present for upwards of 6 weeks. If your dog is suffering from a severe ear hematoma that is quite large and there is an infection, the ear hematoma may take much longer to go away unless the cause of the hematoma is treated promptly by a veterinarian.

While occasionally aural hematomas may resolve on their own, if your dog shows signs of discomfort like shaking their head and scratching at the affected ear, it is best to not let it worsen and bring your dog to the vet.

vet cleaning dog ears
Image Credit: Zivica Kerkez, Shutterstock

How Can You Treat Ear Hematomas In Dogs?

If you suspect that your dog has an aural hematoma, it is important to get them checked by a veterinarian. A vet can also help find the cause of your dog’s hematoma and administer the correct treatment so that it can heal properly. If the hematoma is caused by an infection, a veterinarian will most likely prescribe an antibiotic that your dog needs to help fight the infection which will stop the hematoma from becoming larger and more painful for your dog.

Depending on the severity of your dog’s ear hematoma, veterinarians will prescribe steroids to help reduce inflammation and/or surgically repair the hematoma under anesthesia. They will proceed to make an incision in the lump and drain all the blood while removing any blood clots during this process. This is especially common in dogs who have a severe and large ear hematoma that is causing them noticeable discomfort.

Regardless of the severity of your dog’s ear hematoma, it is best to take them to a veterinarian and NOT try to drain the hematoma yourself.

Additional drainage methods veterinarians will use is drainage with aspiration, which includes giving your dog a pain relief medication or mild sedation, while draining the blood from the hematoma with a needle and syringe. They will then inject a steroid into the empty pocket where the blood was to help alleviate any inflammation.

Once the blood has been drained by a veterinarian, your dog’s ear hematoma will make a speedy recovery in the next few weeks. In severe cases, a veterinarian will need to repeat the drainage method if blood drains back into the hematoma.

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Conclusion

If your dog has a mild hematoma that is not causing them discomfort and your dog’s veterinarian feels it can resolve on its own or solely with medical management, then it is important to make sure your dog does not shake their head or that there is no infection present as this will only prolong the healing process. Always seek professional guidance when it comes to treating aural hematomas!


Featured Image Credit: Kittima05, Shutterstock



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