What is an ear hematoma?

A hematoma is described as a mass of blood, liquid or coagulated, within the walls of tissues or an organ.
An ear hematoma, or aural hematoma, is a collection of blood within the ear flap (pina). This blood can be either fresh or clotted and can be present in the entire ear flap or be localized in one area.

How can a cat get an ear hematoma?

The anatomy of the ear shows two layers of skin and cartilage between them. Blood vessels run free between the skin layers and the cartilage. When cats use excessive force to scratch their ears or violently shake their heads they can easily damage the blood vessels and cause bleeding inside the ear flap. The most common reason for ear hematoma in a cat are ear mites, they cause excessive scratching of the ears.

How is ear hematoma treated in cats?

There are several possible ways for the treatment of ear hematoma. The most common choice is surgical draining of the blood by making an incision from one to the other end of the ear. After eliminating the blood and serum that has been accumulated in the space between the skin several sutures are placed through the ear flap to hold both skin layers and the cartilage. Then the ear flap needs to be stabilized (head bandage) to prevent further shaking or scratching.

How to prevent ear hematomas from happening again?

It is very important to treat the underlying cause of the ear hematoma. In cats, the most common causes of ear hematomas are parasites such as ear mites, or allergies. Treating the ear mites, or the allergy will prevent future ear hematomas. If a cat lives outdoors, the ear hematoma can be caused because of fights with other cats and forming of deep wounds.

On the video below you can see a surgical treatment of an ear hematoma in a cat:

If you liked this article, read “Pyometra in cats” on our blog.