Does your dog frequently scratch his ears? Does he constantly shake his head? Both these signs might have suggested you something is going wrong with the ear of your dog. The disease which commonly affects ears of dogs is known as aural hematoma. The term 'aural' stands for ear and 'hematoma' means a localized swelling filled with blood. When combined together, aural hematoma describes the condition wherein an accumulation of blood forms within the underlying surface of the ear flap, better known as pinna. Aural hematoma in dogs occur when the small blood vessels in the ear rupture, and cause blood to accumulate and fill up the space in the pinna. This may, in turn, result from an allergy or infection.
Symptoms of Aural Hematoma in Dogs
Aural hematoma in dogs are characterized by a number of signs and symptoms. If your dog is suffering from it, you would find his pinna to be swollen on its inside. The pinna might be red and warm when touched. You may sometime find the swelling to be at the base of your dog's ear. As has been mentioned earlier, he would often shake his head and scratch his ears. Your dog's head would be tilted to one side. He is most likely to suffer from mild to intense pain in the ear. Your dog would show obvious signs of pain and discomfort when you touch his affected ear.
Diagnosis of Aural Hematoma in Dogs
Aural hematoma in dogs is a condition which needs veterinary care and attention. A veterinarian is the best person who can recognize and treat aural hematoma in dogs. Thus, if you notice the presence of aural hematoma's symptoms in your dog, fix an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian will examine the condition of your dog to determine whether he is suffering from aural hematoma. He will observe the swelling in the pinna of your dog. He may perform an aspirate. It is a diagnostic test which involves withdrawal of fluid from the swollen area on the pinna with the help of a syringe. The presence of blood in this fluid is often taken as a confirmatory sign of aural hematoma.
Treatment of Aural Hematoma in Dogs
The treatment of aural hematoma in dogs involves drainage and flushing of the hematoma from the affected part on the pinna. To perform it, the veterinarian inserts a large needle, also called teat cannula, into the swollen pinna to drain and flush the blood accumulate. He sedates the dog mildly prior to incision. He may administer your dog some corticosteroids through mouth or directly into the hematoma cavity. The veterinarian may inject the cavity either daily with a short acting steroid called dexamethasone or weekly with a long acting steroid called methylprednisolone acetate. He would continue doing it until the hematoma resolves. This may take 3 - 4 weeks. The veterinarian may consider bandaging of the ear so as to seal the drain hole or to prevent vigorous shaking of head.
Alternatively, the veterinarian may consider following the surgical treatment of aural hematoma in dogs. He will numb the affected ear and the area surrounding it by administrating a local anesthesia to your dog. He will then make a surgical incision into the swelling on the pinna. This will allow the fluid accumulate to get drained and flushed. After this, the veterinarian will stitch the multiple sutures into the ear in order to seal it back together. He will remove the sutures when the ear has fully drained and healed. This takes approximately 10 - 12 days. Surgical treatment gives positive result in most of the cases. However, there have been cases reported to have witnessed the failure of surgical treatment. In case the treatment fails to cure aural hematoma in your pet dog, you would find an enlargement of the swelling which would encompass the entire pinna. The scar tissue will form within the hematoma, which will lead to wrinkling and thickening of the pinna. All these negative effects will further aggravate the problem of ear for your dog.
Aural hematoma in dog rarely returns if it is treated well. Still, it will be better if you follow some measures of dog care to foreclose its occurrence completely. Take proper care of his physical hygiene and diet. Hope, the information given by the present article comes to your help in improving the health and life of your dog.