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Aural Hematomas in Cats: When is Surgery Needed?

Aural Hematomas in Cats: When is Surgery Needed?

Trauma to the soft tissue can lead to blood blisters commonly referred to as hematomas. This condition can cause discomfort in your feline friend and should be addressed by a veterinarian. Here, our Oceanside vets discuss aural hematomas in cats, how we use surgery to treat this condition, and things you should know about recovery and cost.

What Are Aural (Ear) Hematomas in Cats?

A hematoma is a blood blister that occurs in the soft tissues. It is usually caused by some form of trauma and can vary in size and location, but in the case of aural (ear) hematomas, they appear between the skin and cartilage of your cat's ear flap. They don't occur frequently in cats, but it is all the more important for pet parents to know what to look for and what to do if their cat develops an ear hematoma. 

How is a cat's ear hematoma treated?

If your cat has been examined and diagnosed with an ear hematoma then the vet will likely recommend surgical treatment to drain the hematoma and prevent reoccurrences. For pets that are unable to undergo anesthesia or if the hematoma is quite small then your vet may opt to drain it instead. This method will work to clear up the hematoma but is not a permanent solution as the condition is likely to present itself again. Ear hematoma surgery is a permanent solution for your pet's problem, and surgery will prevent excessive scarring from occurring.

Your vet will also take the time to determine the cause of the hematoma and take any measures necessary to prevent future occurrences.

If an aural hematoma is diagnosed, what can I expect from my cat's surgery?

If your vet has diagnosed your cat with an ear hematoma, they will likely recommend surgery to treat it. While the process itself may vary depending on the situation and veterinary surgeon there will always be standard steps in the process. These are:
  • Your cat's veterinary surgeon will make a small incision at each end of the hematoma and remove the blood from the pinna. A drainage tube will be placed in the hematoma and sutured to continue draining any fluids that build up or the vet may opt to completely open the area to prevent a build-up of blood and fluids.
  • Then the surgeon will close up the area where the blood accumulated permanently preventing further hematomas.
  • The pinna will be supported to allow for proper healing through the recovery process.

Once the ear hematoma has been resolved your vet will treat any additional conditions related to the ear hematoma.

As your cat heals the vet will remove any drainage tubes, bandages, or sutures when it is safe to do so.

How can I tend to my cat's ear after hematoma surgery?

As with other surgical procedures, you can expect your cat to experience some discomfort during recovery. Still, your vet is sure to provide medications to address pain and prevent infection and inflammation.

Your cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar to stop them from scratching the surgical site and causing inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infection.

You will receive instructions and helpful advice from your vet on how to administer home care for your feline friend as they are recovering from surgery at home, as well as when to return for follow-up visits and to have the stitches removed.

What happens if you leave a cat's ear hematoma untreated?

Occasional ear hematomas can clear up on their own but this can lead to scarring and a potential reoccurrence. Untreated hematomas can lead to the following:

  • Pain caused by swelling and pressure that could last for weeks.
  • Swollen ear flap that can prevent effective treatment of any infection that may be present.
  • The process of ear hematomas in cats healing on their own could take a very long time.
  • A greatly extended healing time.
  • Excessive scar tissue gives the ear a distorted appearance.

If your cat is experiencing an ear hematoma it is best to have it examined by their vet and treated through surgery to decrease pain, speed up healing, and prevent this condition from reoccurring.

If your cat has an ear hematoma, how much will the surgery cost?

Surgery to treat ear hematomas in cats varies considerably from one vet to another, from one geographical location to another, and even from one cat to another. The cost of your cat's ear hematoma surgery will depend on a number of factors including the severity of the hematoma and the overall health of your feline friend.

Your vet will be able to share the specifics of your cat's overall treatment to help prepare you for what to expect on the bill. Most animal hospitals are happy to supply clients with an estimate containing a detailed breakdown of the various costs involved in procedures such as surgery.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat showing signs of pain affecting their ears? Please contact our Oceanside veterinary team to schedule an examination today.

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