What is a feline ear hematoma?
An ear hematoma in cats is a little blister in the flap of the ear, consisting of blood or a blood clot. Cat's ears are very sensitive, and if they get a disease, infection, or parasite that causes them to scratch their ears or shake their heads repeatedly, they will do damage to the ear. They are basically are traumas to the ear of the cat. Common causes for it are ear mites, an ear infection, or even fleas. If you look inside your cat's ear, you will see that it has a lot of visible blood vessels. Scratching and shaking the ears repeatedly will break them, causing blood clots and a hematoma.
What are the symptoms?
Swelling is the big one. The ear of the cat, normally very thin, will get huge, and it can happen very rapidly - a few hours is the usual time span from the break to the swelling. The ear may redden, as inside the swelling is a pocket of blood. It is not painful to the cat in most cases, but it is very uncomfortable - the cat may hold its head in a strange position because of the weight of the swollen ear. Sometimes the cat will start shaking its ear even more to try to get rid of the strange feeling.
What is the treatment?
Minor surgery. The vet will do one of two things: either lance the hematoma, much like a boil, or surgically removing any clots. It depends on what the condition of the ear is and what is inside the swelling. Lancing is usually done in minor cases. If the swelling is large, however, you need surgery to prevent it from recurring. Why? The blood has created an open space inside the ear. If you don't stitch it up, the ear will be likely to form another hematoma in that space. These surgeries can be painful, so your vet may prefer to use anesthetics.
Your vet will also have to help you figure out the underlying cause. That will need to be treated as well - whatever was irritating the cat's ear needs to be cured or else it will do further damage through scratching or shaking.
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