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Ear Hematoma in Cat: When is Surgery Needed

If your cat has an ear hematoma, it can be very painful.  In this blog post, our veterinarians inPittsboro discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for ear hematoma.

A hematoma is a small pocket of blood that forms inside an organ or tissue. Aural hematomas, also known as ear hematomas, occur between the skin and cartilage of a cat's ear flap. While ear hematomas are not common in cats, it is crucial for pet owners to recognize the symptoms and understand what steps to take if their cat develops one.

What Causes Ear Hematomas In Cats?

Ear hematomas in cats typically result from trauma or injury. When the small blood vessels in the ear flap are damaged, they may break and leak blood internally, leading to swelling or a pocket filled with blood. Some common causes of ear hematomas in cats include:

  • Your cat scratching their ears or shaking their heads due to:
    • Ear infection
    • Ear mites
    • Skin allergies
    • Foreign object in the ear canal
  • Scratches or bites (e.g. sharp thorns, fights with other cats)
  • Underlying health issues

Symptoms Of Ear Hematoma In Cats 

If your pet has an ear hematoma, you may notice a new bump or swelling on their ear. The swelling can cause the ear flap to droop under its weight, making it appear swollen. The swelling may feel tight or squishy to the touch, but be gentle as your pet may feel uncomfortable if the area is tender. Apart from changes in appearance, keep an eye on your pet's behavior. They may groom the affected area excessively or shy away from being touched if their ear is irritated or tender.

Diagnosis & Treatment Of Ear Hematomas In Cats

During a veterinary check-up, your cat's ears will be examined carefully for any signs of mites or infections, common causes of hematomas, along with injuries to the area. Infections are especially prevalent in cats that are susceptible to them. Depending on the individual case, your vet may use a needle to take a sample for testing to determine the nature of the condition.


A simple surgical procedure is usually recommended to address ear hematomas. If the hematoma on your cat's ear is small or your pet cannot be safely put under anesthesia, your vet may try to drain the site with a needle. However, while this procedure may be suitable for some hematomas, it is not ideal, and the issue is likely to arise again. Aural hematoma surgery is a permanent solution to your pet's problem, and surgically removing hematomas can reduce scarring.

Your vet will also treat the underlying issue causing the hematoma, such as an infection or allergy.

Aural Hematoma Surgery For Cats

The procedure involves a veterinary surgeon making a small surgical cut in the ear flap to drain the blood pocket. Then, using small sutures, the vet will close the pocket to prevent the accumulation of blood or infection. To ensure the site doesn't accumulate blood, the vet or vet surgeon will cover the ear with a bandage.

Post-Surgery Recovery

After the surgical procedure, your cat may experience some tenderness or discomfort for a few days. However, your vet will prescribe medications to alleviate the pain and prevent infection and inflammation.

To prevent scratching of the surgical site, which could cause inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infection, your cat will need to wear an Elizabethan collar.

Your vet will provide you with detailed instructions and helpful advice on how to take care of your feline friend at home during the recovery phase. They will also guide you on when to return for follow-up visits and to have the stitches removed.

What Can Happen If Cat Ear Hematomas Are Left Untreated

While ear hematomas will sometimes drain, heal, and scar on their own however, this is not recommended. 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 giving 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.

Cat Ear Hematoma 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.

To get an accurate estimate of the cost of your cat's surgery speak to the veterinary professionals at your vet's office.

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. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Does your cat have a hematoma on its ear? Contact our Pittsboro vets today to help your beloved pet feel better with our compassionate expert veterinary care.

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Pittsboro Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Pittsboro companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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