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The accumulation of blood in the ear flap of a cat is the primary cause of ear hematoma. It occurs when there is rupturing of a blood vessel causing the collection of fluid in between the cartilage and skin. This condition is also often referred to as ‘aural hematoma’ or ‘auricular hematoma’.
The main symptom of ear hematoma is swelling in the ear flap. Incidentally, it is likely for ear hematoma to occur in just one ear; though some cats may exhibit hematoma in both ears too. Ear hematoma can cause the cat to suffer from extreme pain. The ear may show mild to severe swelling in just a few minutes following the rupture. The avoidance of immediate treatment could cause permanent deformity.
Medical experts inform that there is almost always a medical condition preceding ear hematoma. Some of the most common causes of ear hematoma include:
- Ear mites
- Chronic infections of the ear
- Immune disorder
- Chronic allergies
- Trauma to the skull
- Blood clotting
It is usually possible for a veterinarian to diagnose the condition of ear hematoma by just examining the ear with the naked eye. But it is important to know that abscess and tumors could also exhibit symptoms similar to those of ear hematomas. Therefore, the veterinarian would need to use his expertise and experience to make a distinction between these ear conditions.
Veterinarians sometimes perform ‘needle aspiration’ which involves the extraction of some fluid accumulated in the ear. This fluid is then analyzed under a powerful microscope. The presence of blood in the fluid confirms that the cat is suffering from ear hematoma. The veterinarian will also work towards diagnosing the underlying cause of the ear hematoma (e.g. parasites, ear infections, allergies etc.)
Cat owners are advised to seek immediate veterinarian attention if they suspect ear hematoma in their cat. Prompt treatment usually helps achieve complete recovery in a shorter span of time.
Large hematomas generally demand surgical intervention. During the surgical treatment of ear hematoma, a veterinarian may create an incision and drain out the blood clots and fluids from your cat’s ear. This incision is usually left a bit open as it allows any remaining fluid to leak out as well. Alternatively, a vet may put a drain in your cat’s ear.
The surgery is completed with the placement of multiple sutures or by bandaging the ear. This helps prevent additional damage and allows the re-adhering of the tissues while avoiding the recurrence of the ear hematoma.
The choice of treatment usually depends on the extent to which the ear has been affected.