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Aural Hematoma in Cats: When is Surgery Needed

Aural Hematoma in Cats: When is Surgery Needed

If your cat has an ear hematoma, you may be concerned about how to help. Our Los Angeles County vet team explains the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this condition in cats.

A hematoma is a blood collection that forms in an organ or tissue, often called a "blood blister." In cats, aural hematomas appear on the ear flap and are not common. It's important for pet owners to know the symptoms and treatment options if their cat develops this condition.

What Causes Ear Hematomas In Cats?

Usually, the cause of ear hematoma is trauma- or injury-related. When damage occurs to the small blood vessels located in the cat's ear flap, they break and leak internally, creating a blood-filled swelling or pocket. Some common causes of cat ear hematomas include:

  • Your kitty 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, the most noticeable sign is a bump or swelling on the ear. If it is large, the ear flap will appear swollen and may droop.

The swelling may feel tight or squishy, but be gentle when touching it as it may be tender. Additionally, changes in your pet's behavior, such as excessive grooming or avoiding touch, may indicate discomfort in the affected ear.

Diagnosis & Treatment Of Ear Hematomas In Cats

Your vet will carefully check your cat's ears for mites or infections, which often cause hematomas besides injuries. If your pet tends to get infections, this is more likely. Your vet may use a needle to collect a sample to identify the issue.


The usual way to treat ear hematomas is through a simple surgery. If your cat's hematoma is small or anesthesia isn't safe, your vet might try to drain it with a needle.

However, this method isn't perfect, and the problem might return. Ear hematoma surgery offers a lasting solution and can minimize scarring. Your vet will also address the root cause of the hematoma, such as infections or allergies.

Aural Hematoma Surgery For Cats

In this procedure, the vet makes a small cut in the ear flap to drain the blood pocket. They then use small stitches to close the pocket and prevent blood or infection from returning.

The vet will also bandage the ear to stop blood from building up again.

Post-Surgery Recovery

After the procedure, your cat may feel sore for a few days, but the vet will give medications for pain, infection, and swelling. Your cat must wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent scratching the surgery site and causing further issues.

Your vet will provide guidance on home care for your cat's recovery, including when to come back for follow-up visits and stitch removal.

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.

Does your cat have a hematoma on their ear? Contact our Los Angeles County team today to help your beloved pet feel better with our compassionate expert veterinary care.

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

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