An ear hematoma occurs when blood and other fluid collects between the skin and cartilage of an animal's ear flap. Many things can cause ear hematomas but they are most often caused by blood vessels bursting due to excessive scratching of the ear, head-shaking or injuries to the ear. They are usually associated with another irritation to the ear canal like ear mites which cause the animal to scratch the area. It is an uncomfortable condition that should be treated as soon as it is noticed.
As the main cause of ear irritations in animals is ear mites, the best way to prevent ear hematomas in your pets is to ensure that they don't get ear mites. This is especially the case for dogs, because they are more prone to scratching an irritation, causing a hematoma by injuring the ear flap. You can prevent and treat ear mites with over-the-counter medication. Also, if the ear is injured, you can use tea-tree oil and marigold to reduce the swelling and the itching, lowering the likelihood that fluid will gather, and cause a hematoma. Rosemary can also help ease inflammation of an injured area and also acts as an antiseptic, reducing the likelihood of infection.
Draining the Hematoma
As it is the collection of blood and fluid in the ear that is causing the animal discomfort, the most logical course of action is to drain this fluid from the area. This fluid can be removed at home using a disinfected syringe, known as aspiration. Although this may not be a long-term solution, it will definitely ease the animal's discomfort for a while. You can also inject cortisone into the ear after draining it, to ease the itching.
After draining the ear, you should bind it tightly; the pressure will prevent any further fluid from gathering in your animal's ear. To help the swelling go down and also to keep the area disinfected, you can boil a supersaturated solution of extremely salty water and soak the pet's ear in it until it is fully healed. This will prevent any further infection.
If Home Remedies Don't Work
There is a chance that the home remedies described above will be ineffective at treating an animal's hematoma. Many veterinarians suggest leaving the hematoma to heal of its own accord, but sometimes you may be unable to see your pet in so much discomfort. If this is the case, you should seek professional advice from a veterinarian, who may recommend your pet undergo surgical treatment. This usually involves draining the hematoma by making an incision and then stitching this incision shut so that the ear flap doesn't refill with fluid. This method of remedying hematomas isn't usually needed and should only be sought if recommended by an animal care professional.