Ear Hematoma Surgery in Cats

Hematomas, or blood blisters, can happen in the ear of your cat, commonly caused by trauma to the ear. These need to be treated by a vet and luckily there's a simple surgery to help. Here, our San Angelo vets talk about ear hematoma surgery for cats and what to expect from the procedure.

What is a hematoma and how do they occur in the ears?

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. 

Treating Cats with Ear Hematomas: Surgery

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.

Your vet will also take the time to treat the underlying cause of the hematoma to help prevent a reoccurrence.

What happens during my cat's 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. 

The steps of this procedure are:

  • 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.

Once the ear hematoma has been resolved your vet will treat any additional conditions related to the ear hematoma.

As your cat heals the vet will remove any drainage tubes, bandages or sutures when it is safe to do so.

What to Expect After Your Cat's Ear Hematoma Surgery

You will need to prepare to manage your cat's pain and discomfort. Pain medications, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics may all be prescribed during recovery. 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.

What happens if my cat doesn't have ear hematoma surgery?

Allowing ear hematomas to mend themselves is never recommended. 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 does 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.

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.

If you would like to know more about preparing for your cat's ear hematoma surgery, please contact our San Angelo veterinary team today.