Aural haematoma (blood clot in the ear)
Berry Haven Veterinary Group Surgical Case
Occasionally, dogs traumatise their ear flap and rupture a blood vessel inside it e.g. if they are scratching their ears due to an infection. Blood leaks out into the space between the skin and cartilage flap that gives the ear its stiffness.
It looks like a soft fluid filled mass on the inside surface of the ear. Left untreated, the blood clot shrinks and shrivels up leaving the ear looking like a shrivelled up cauliflower. This can result in chronic skin problems as the deep "valleys" of the cauliflower harbour moisture and bacteria, meaning lots of visits to the vet.
Rather than letting this happen, we drain the ear by removing an elliptical piece of skin from the inside surface. Once we have drained the blood clot, we place several stitches through the full thickness of the ear i.e. from inside to outside; to apply pressure while it heals and to prevent repeated bleeding.
The stitches are removed 10 days later. At the same time of the ear surgery, we examine both ear canals looking for any evidence of an infection that may have caused the dog to scratch the ear in the first place.