Swollen Dog Ear: How To Diagnose and Treat Ear Hematoma

swollen dog ear

Today, we will address an important topic regarding dogs’ ears. Ear hematoma in dogs is also common and referred to as an auricular or aural hematoma. First, every pet owner needs to understand what ear hematoma is, known as a swollen dog ear or aural hematoma. A hematoma occurs in one ear flap but can occur in both ears. An ear hematoma is a pool of blood underneath the skin, causing redness and swelling.

Dogs develop hematomas in their ears’ flaps, and the ear’s outer portion connects to the top of your dog’s head. This disorder is caused by excessive head shaking or scratching because of ear infections, allergies, and other irritation in the ear canal. When the dog shakes its head frequently, it causes a blood vessel inside the ear flap breaks, leading to swelling.

Symptoms of Swollen Dog Ear or Ear Hematoma

The major symptom of ear hematoma is the swelling that becomes extensive daily. The dog shows a variety of symptoms because of irritation and pain. A lump or fluid-filled pocket appears in a dog ear that is thicker in size and is called a ‘cauliflower ear.’

The major signs and symptoms of Ear Hematoma are;

  • Ear flap filled with fluid
  • Itching
  •  Ear scratching
  • Tilting of the head
  • Head shaking
  • Head-shaking

All these are major indicators that show this disorder in dogs. All these also indicate that these need to be diagnosed and treated.

Causes of Ear Hematoma

The major reason for ear hematoma is aggressive head shaking or scratching. The tissue of the dog’s ear is very thick, and the blood vessels can break easily. A space between skin and ear cartilage fills with blood and fluid and causes the ear to swell quickly. This swelling forms a balloon-like nodule on the dog’s ear. 

Any dog breed can develop ear hematomas with larger ear flaps and be more susceptible. The major reason is that the ear flaps against the skull when the head is shaking.

 There are many underlying conditions, such as

  • Allergies
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Yeast or Bacterial infection
  • Skin disease
  • Immune disorder
  •  Eat mites 

Among these causes, infections, allergies, and blood clotting disorders are the most common causes of ear hematomas.

How to Diagnose Ear Hematomas in Dogs

This disorder is easily identifiable when you visit a veterinarian. Your veterinarian diagnose by visual examination and sometimes conduct a physical exam to know the reason behind the head shaking or scratching.

  1. Needle aspiration is the process that confirms that the fluid in the pocket is blood
  2. Urine Test
  3. Routine Blood Test
  4. Examination of the ear canal to check the infection, parasites, and foreign bodies in the ear canal.
  5. Skin tests
  6. Skin tests identify food allergies that cause discomfort.

How To Treat Swollen Dog Ear or Ear Hematomas

Sometimes, ear hematoma is small and repairs itself when the blood inside eventually reabsorbs. But if you leave your dog untreated, it can become a permanent scar or deformed ear. Therefore, always consult your veterinarian if your dog has ear infections, allergies, or blood clotting disorders. There are multiple options for repairing an ear hematoma, and they determine the right method for your dog.

1. Aspiration

Aspiration is when a needle is used to remove fluid from the hematoma. This fluid returns within days, but that is a temporary solution. Sometimes, it leads to infection with an ear flap. Therefore, this method provides instant relief, and no surgery is required. If a vet instills a steroid into the dead space, that can make this method more successful.

2. Pie Crusting Sutures

In this procedure, an incision is made in the ear flap, and multiple sutures are placed in the hematoma ear to prevent it from refilling. In this method, a tube is left in place to drain fluids as the area heals. The tight bandages are applied over the ear to reduce swelling. It is kept in place for up to three weeks to prevent the recurrence of this disorder again.

3.Teat Cannula Placement

The third procedure is the placement of a teat cannula, a small device to treat the inflammation. It is surgically placed in the dog’s ear hematoma. This one is the most successful method, but make sure the dog tolerates the discomfort of the cannula in the ear flap.


In a nutshell, no matter which dog breed you have, you should be careful about their health. If your pet dog has any infection or allergies, consult your veterinarian immediately. Otherwise, it becomes worse. The treatment methods are available, but these are quite expensive and painful for your dog. Therefore, always carefully prioritize your dog’s overall health and hygiene. This piece of information is best for those people who ask about treatment of swollen dog ear.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here