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HomeDear VetBabbleWhat Causes Swollen Ears in Dogs and How to Treat Them?

What Causes Swollen Ears in Dogs and How to Treat Them?


Dear VetBabble,

Question: Why is my dog’s ear swollen? My dog Bruno has been shaking his head a lot, and his ear looks swollen. What could be causing this and what should I do to help him?


Ouch, poor Bruno! The swelling of his ear appears to be most consistent with an aural hematoma. Essentially, blood vessels in the ear flap (pinna) can rupture when the head is shaken, causing the ear to fill with blood. Most often, dogs will have an ear infection that leads them to shake their heads, sometimes resulting in a hematoma formation. I recommend taking Bruno to his vet to check both the presence of infection and to discuss the options for managing a hematoma. I hope that all goes well! Below are some related articles and helpful information that might be useful for pet owners dealing with similar issues.

Understanding Hematomas and Ear Infections

Aural hematomas are a relatively common issue in dogs and sometimes occur in cats as well. They can be caused by vigorous head shaking or scratching of the ears. The underlying cause of the head shaking is usually an ear infection. Ear infections in pets can be painful, itchy, and may affect their overall wellbeing. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment you could provide to your pet is essential in managing their ear health.

Ear infections in dogs and ear infections in cats tend to have similar signs and symptoms. Some of which include head shaking, redness or swelling, a foul smell coming from the ear, and discharge in the ear canal. It is essential to take your pet to the veterinarian if you notice any of these signs, as untreated infections can cause permanent damage to the ear and compromise your pet’s hearing.

Cleaning Your Pet’s Ears

Regularly cleaning your pet’s ears can help prevent infections and other ear issues. Pet owners often wonder, “How do I clean my dog’s ears?” Cleaning your dog’s ears is a simple process that involves using a pet-specific ear cleaner and cotton balls or gauze. It is essential not to use cotton swabs, as they can cause damage to your pet’s ear canal. To clean your dog’s ears, simply apply the ear cleaner to the cotton ball or gauze and gently wipe the inside of the ear. Be careful not to insert anything too deeply into the ear canal, as this can cause injury.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide, check out this article on how to clean your dog’s ears: A pet parents guide. Following a proper ear-cleaning routine will help prevent ear infections and decrease the likelihood of your pet developing a hematoma.

Addressing the Hematoma

As mentioned earlier, if your pet has developed a hematoma, it is crucial to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet will examine the affected ear and determine the best course of treatment. There are several different techniques available for treating a hematoma, and every veterinarian may have their preference. Some options include draining the blood, using a compression bandage, or performing surgery to remove the hematoma and repair the damaged blood vessels.

Treating the hematoma alone is not enough – it’s essential to also address the underlying cause, such as an ear infection. Your veterinarian will likely prescribe medication or provide instructions to help treat and manage the infection, as well as advise you on preventing future ear issues for your pet.

In conclusion, if your pet has a swollen ear and has been shaking their head, it is vital to address the issue promptly and consult your veterinarian. By doing so, you will ensure a healthy and happy pet with well-maintained ear health.

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