When trauma or injury occurs in the ear, it can cause a pocket of blood to develop. This is known as a hematoma. Here, our Los Angeles vet surgeons share some information about ear hematomas and what you can expect during and after your cat's veterinary surgery.
Ear Hematomas in Cats - What are they?
Blood blisters can happen in any soft tissue that has been affected by trauma. These blisters are commonly referred to as hematomas. While these hematomas can happen anywhere, ear hematomas develop in the ear of your cat. While they aren't very common, they can still happen. These can be easily managed, however, as long as you know the signs to watch for and what to expect from treatment.
What is ear hematoma surgery and what is it used for?
The common treatment for ear hematoma surgery is to create an incision to open up the area and use tubes to drain the blood and fluid from the affected area. If your cat is unable to have general anesthesia or has another reason why they can't undergo complete surgery, the area will just be simply drained. 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.
While your cat is being treated for the ear hematoma, the vet will also address the underlying cause if possible in order to prevent a reoccurrence.
What is the process for ear hematoma surgery?The most common and successful treatment for ear hematomas in cats is ear hematoma surgery. 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 in place 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.
What should I expect after ear hematoma surgery?
The first few days after surgery can be difficult for your feline friend as they are likely in some pain and may be experiencing swelling. Your vet will provide pain medications and post-surgery care advice to help your cat be as comfortable as possible.
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.
Basic Post-Surgical Care Tips for Cats
There are a few things that you can do at home in order to help your cat's recovery after ear hematoma surgery be a success:
- Follow your veterinary surgeon's instructions.
- Use an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) to help prevent your cat from scratching or rubbing their ear.
- Manage your cat's pain using the medication prescribed by the pet surgeon.
- Monitor the inspection site daily and contact your vet if you notice any concerning symptoms.
- Keep other pets away from your cat to prevent them from showing interest in the incision.
- Bring your cat in for scheduled follow-up visits.
Possible Complications of Ear Hematomas if Left Untreated
There are rare cases of er hematomas clearing up on their own, but it is not advisable to allow this to happen. Ear hematomas that aren't promptly treated can lead to:
- 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.
Bringing your cat in for an examination at the first sign of an ear hematoma is the best way to ensure quick treatment of this condition and decrease the risk of reoccurrence.
What is the cost of ear hematoma surgery?
The cost of ear hematoma surgery can vary based on the clinic, vet and your cat's condition. The severity of the hematoma and your cat's overall health can have an impact on this cost as well.
Your vet will be able to discuss the costs associated with your cat's ear hematoma surgery with you explaining each item in the quote and sharing some of the possible unforeseen costs which may arise. Most animal hospitals are happy to supply clients with an estimate containing a detailed breakdown of the various costs involved in procedures such as cat and dog 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.