When your cat experiences an injury to their ear, it can result in a blood blister known as a hematoma. Here, our Southern Wisconsin vets talk about how cat ear hematomas can be treated with surgery and what happens after surgery is complete.
What are cat ear hematomas?
A blood blister, or hematoma as we commonly call it, can develop with injury or trauma to the soft tissue. It 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 that makes it 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 Surgery Can Be Used to Treat Cat Ear Hematomas
The main goal of your cat's ear hematoma surgery will be to drain the blood and close the area back up properly, lessening the risk of a future hematoma. 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.
By treating the cause of the ear hematoma, your vet will help to prevent this condition from occurring again in the future.
What happens during cat ear hematoma surgery?
The most common method of treatment is ear hematoma surgery. The exact process for this varies from vet to vet but there is a standard process that all vets share.
If your cat undergoes surgical treatment for an ear hematoma, there will be a number of steps including:
- 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.
After the surgery has been completed and the hematoma is treated, your vet will address the underlying cause.
As your cat heals the vet will remove any drainage tubes, bandages, or sutures when it is safe to do so.
What to Expect During Recovery From Ear Hematoma Surgery
Once surgery is complete your cat may experience some pain. Your vet will prescribe medications that will help during recovery. Pain medications, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics may all be prescribed. These will help keep your cat comfortable and prevent infection while your feline friend recovers.
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 after your cat's ear hematoma surgery for recovery, as well as when to return for follow-up visits and to have the stitches removed.
Can an ear hematoma go away on its own?
Your vet will never recommend that hematomas be left alone. There is no guarantee that the issue will resolve itself and you may risk serious complications for your cat. 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.
What is the cost of cat ear hematoma surgery?
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.
You can speak with your vet to get an estimate of the cost for your cat's specific surgery and treatment needs. 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.