What Is Otohematoma in Dogs? Find Out!

Otohematona is, as the name implies, a bruise that can form in your dog’s ear because of the accumulation of blood on the sheet of atrial cartilage. This collection of fluid, which causes an inflamed appearance, is located on the inner side of the atrium and is one of the most common traumatic injuries that affect the ears of the dogs.

Main causes of otohematoma in dogs

Autotraumatism is one of the main causes of otohematoma in dogs. For various reasons, pets can hit themselves, especially when they are excited about their games. However, it also usually appears in animals that suffer from otitis externa or atrial pavilion dermatitis. These conditions lead dogs to scratch their ears more than usual or shake their heads excessively, which causes them to get hurt.

Otohematoma – which afflicts more races with pendulous ears, as is the case with the basset, cocker, and Weimaraner – occurs when the pet, when hitting, scratching or rubbing, breaks the blood vessels that are in its ear, thus causing the bleeding. That blood accumulates on the cartilage sheet of the ear, which begins to look swollen or deformed. In dogs with erect ears, the weight of this content can cause the flag to fall to the side, generating a very marked contrast – both in shape and position – with respect to the ear that is not affected.

If the animal is not treated quickly, this accumulation of blood tends to acquire a hard consistency and becomes more difficult to eliminate. For this reason, you should pay close attention to the symptoms and avoid delays in the veterinary consultation when you observe persistent scratching of the ears, frequent head shakes or notices an inflammation in the ear area of ​​your pet. If the hematoma is organized, the pavilion can retract and produce a permanent deformation in the normal architecture of the ear. A quick and effective diagnosis will prevent this collateral damage known as “wrinkled ear”, “cabbage ear” or “cauliflower ear”.

Otohematoma treatment in dogs

If your pet is suffering from this problem, calm down. With proper treatment, the otohematoma is resolved without major complications: the veterinarian can puncture, apply anti-inflammatories or drain surgically.

If the option is chosen is drainage, keep in mind that:

  • The professional will sedate your pet and first perform a thorough cleaning of the ear and external ear canal.
  • Then proceed to make a cut, so that does not tend to close with the passing of days.
  • To avoid loss of irrigation and collapse of the main vessels, the veterinarian should place the points parallel to the longitudinal axis of the ear. In order to keep the internal skin in contact with the cartilage, it is important that the tension is the minimum necessary.

In addition, the idea is that, in order to perform these procedures, the outer part of the auricular pavilion is not shaved. This will prevent:

  • The growth of the new hair catches the attention of your dog and, for that reason, start again with the scratching or shaking of his head, and can cause another otohematoma.
  • Your ear is unprotected because of post-shaved alopecia that usually appears in certain races.

After the treatment performed by your trusted veterinarian, you will have to follow his advice to avoid possible complications:

  • It controls the bandage that was made to compress the auricular pavilion.
  • Give the medication indicated, in the appropriate doses and fulfilling the number of days stipulated for its taking.
  • Try to keep your pet permanently wearing an Elizabethan collar while the healing process lasts. This will prevent you from removing the stitches and tearing the wound.

Keep in mind that successful surgery can become a failure if subsequent care is not properly fulfilled.

Remember also that, before any abnormal symptoms in your pet, you should always turn to a professional. In the case of otohematomas, if you try to solve the problem on your own, you can cause strong infections that only aggravate the picture.

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