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Aural Hematomas in Cats

If your cat has an ear hematoma you might wonder how to help. Today, our Fairfield, NJ vet team shares more about what causes aural hematomas in cats, symptoms, and treatment options. 

Aural Hematomas in Cats

A hematoma is also known as a "blood blister," which is a pocket of blood that forms within an organ or tissue. Aural (ear) hematomas may appear between the skin and cartilage of your cat's ear flap. The size and location of these hematomas can differ. It is uncommon for cats to develop ear hematomas; however, this fact makes it even more important for pet owners to understand what symptoms to look for and what steps to take if their cat does develop one.

What causes ear hematomas in cats? 

An ear hematoma is most commonly caused by an injury or traumatic event. Damage to the cat's small blood vessels in the ear flap causes them to rupture and leak blood internally, creating a blood-filled pocket or swelling. Some of the most common causes of hematomas in the ears of cats are as follows:

  • 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 

Signs of Ear Hematomas in Cats

Swelling in the ear is the most common symptom of an ear hematoma. If it is sufficiently large, the ear flap will swell, potentially causing the ear flap to droop.

The swelling may feel tight or squishy to the touch; however, you should be gentle with your cat because if the area is tender, they will most likely express their displeasure. In addition to changes in appearance, you should observe your cat's behavior. If they have irritation or tenderness in their ear, they may groom it more frequently or avoid being touched.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Ear Hematomas in Cats

In addition to the injury, your veterinarian will check your cat's ears for mites or infections. Mites and infections are frequent causes of hematomas, especially if your pet has a history of infections. Your veterinarian may collect a sample with a needle to determine the nature of the condition, depending on the circumstances.


Surgery is the most commonly recommended treatment for ear hematomas. If the hematoma on your cat's ear is small or your pet cannot be safely sedated, your vet may be able to drain the site with a needle. While this procedure is appropriate for some hematomas, it is not ideal, and the problem is likely to reoccur. Aural hematoma surgery is a permanent solution to your pet's problem, and surgical removal of hematomas can reduce scarring.

Your vet will also treat the underlying issue causing the hematoma (e.g. infection, allergy). 

Aural hematoma Surgery for Cats

During the procedure, the veterinarian will make a small surgical incision in the ear flap in order to drain the blood pocket. Following the completion of the examination, your veterinarian will use very small sutures to close the pocket and prevent any further accumulation of blood or infection. For the purpose of preventing blood from pooling in the ear, the veterinarian will bandage the ear. To obtain an estimate of the cost of surgery for aural hematoma in cats, you should get in touch with your veterinarian directly.

What happens if you leave a cat's ear hematoma untreated?

If you do not treat an ear hematoma, it will heal on its own, but your cat will be uncomfortable for several weeks. Thick and wrinkled scar tissue frequently forms on both sides of the ear, causing the ear to look and feel abnormal.

Recovery from Aural Hematoma Surgery 

There may be some tenderness or discomfort fin your cat's ear after the hematoma surgery; however, your veterinarian will make sure to provide medications to alleviate the pain, as well as to prevent infection and inflammation.

To keep your cat from scratching the surgical site and causing complications like inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infection, make sure they are wearing an Elizabethan collar.

Your veterinarian will give you instructions and helpful advice on how to care for your feline companion at home while they recover from surgery. In addition, your veterinarian will tell you when you should return for follow-up visits and have the stitches removed.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Does your cat have a hematoma on its ear? Contact All Creatures Great and Small Animal Hospital today to help your beloved pet feel better with our compassionate expert veterinary care. 

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