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What Actions Should I Take If I Suspect My Dog Has a Hematoma?


Dear VetBabble, What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has a Hematoma?

If you suspect that your dog has a hematoma, it’s essential to know what steps to take to address this issue and help your beloved pet recover. In this article, we’ll discuss what a hematoma is, what causes it, and the critical steps to addressing this common pet health problem.

What is a Hematoma?

A hematoma is a swelling caused by the collection of blood outside a blood vessel, usually in response to injury or inflammation. In dogs, hematomas most commonly occur in the ear flap, or pinna, which consists of cartilage covered by skin and fur. When blood accumulates in the pinna, it can cause significant discomfort, swelling, and a change in appearance often resembling a pillow-like structure.

What Causes a Hematoma in Dogs?

The primary cause of ear hematomas in dogs is an underlying ear infection, such as the ones discussed in this VetBabble article on Ear Infections in Dogs. These infections can lead to excessive head shaking, scratching, and rubbing of the ears, which in turn can cause blood vessels to rupture and lead to the formation of a hematoma.

Other possible causes of hematomas in dogs include trauma from rough play, allergies, or foreign objects in the ear. Some breeds, like those with floppy ears, are more prone to hematomas due to their anatomical structure.

How to Address a Hematoma in Your Dog

  1. Consult with Your Veterinarian: If you suspect a hematoma, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. They will examine your dog to confirm the hematoma and check for any underlying issues, such as ear infections, that might have caused it.
  2. Draining the Hematoma: Your veterinarian is likely to recommend that the hematoma be drained, which can help relieve your pet’s discomfort and reduce the swelling. This procedure is typically done under local anesthesia and involves making a small incision to remove the accumulated blood. The ultimate goal is to prevent further blood from filling the ear flap and allow the ear to return to its normal size.
  3. Pain and Anti-inflammatory Medication: Your veterinarian may prescribe pain and anti-inflammatory medications to help control discomfort and reduce inflammation, essential in preventing further swelling after draining the hematoma.
  4. Treating Underlying Infections: If your veterinarian discovers an underlying infection, it’s crucial to address this issue to prevent recurrence of the hematoma. Follow your veterinarian’s treatment recommendations, which may include prescribed ear cleaning solutions, topical or oral medications, or both. The VetBabble’s How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears: A Pet Parents Guide can be an excellent resource in this regard.
  5. Monitor and Care for Your Dog’s Ears: You will need to monitor and care for your dog’s ears throughout the healing process. This includes keeping the ears clean and dry, avoiding water exposure, and monitoring for any signs of infection or worsening inflammation. If your dog has extensive wounds or surgical sites, be sure to follow your veterinarian’s guidance on how to treat your dog’s wounds at home.

If you think your dog has a hematoma, it’s essential to take action promptly and follow your veterinarian’s guidance in treating the issue and addressing any underlying causes. By being proactive and attentive to your dog’s needs, you can help ensure that your pet stays happy, healthy, and hematoma-free.

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