Aural Hematoma Repair Surgery

Gray cat with brownish orange eyes sitting on the exam table

Learning that your pet needs surgery can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you are unsure of what the procedure entails. At Anicira, we work with pet parents to ensure that you are well-informed before your pet’s surgery. Our veterinary team provides compassionate care before, during, and after surgery to ensure that your pet is safe and comfortable.

What is an aural hematoma? What causes an aural hematoma?

An aural hematoma (also called an ear hematoma) is a pocket of blood inside the ear. Aural hematomas usually occur when a pet excessively shakes, scratches, or otherwise injures their ear resulting in the bursting of blood vessels and pooling of blood in their ear flap (pinna).

Pets may develop aural hematomas as a result of ear irritants such as:

  • Yeast or bacterial infections
  • Allergies
  • Parasites
  • Foreign bodies
  • Trauma

Occasionally a pet may develop an aural hematoma with no previous history of ear disease.

Is an aural hematoma painful?

An aural hematoma is very painful to your pet. Left untreated, the inflammation can result in permanent damage to the ear.

Pre-Surgical Instructions

Admission Time – Bring your pet to Anicira at 7 am.
Food – You may feed your pet a quarter of their normal breakfast no later than 6 am.
Water – Your pet may have water up until the time of the surgery.
Pre-surgical exam – Your pet must be in good health and show no signs of sickness such as coughing, sneezing, or diarrhea.
Medical records – Please bring proof of rabies vaccination if you have not already provided this. If your cat or dog has not been previously vaccinated or lacks proof of vaccination, we will administer a rabies vaccine on the day of surgery. If you have not already sent your medical records, please bring all relevant medical records.

Aural Hematoma Repair Surgery

Before surgery, our veterinary team will perform a thorough pre-surgical examination to ensure that your pet is a good candidate for anesthesia. It is strongly recommended that your pet receives pre-anesthetic blood work to ensure that no health concerns go undetected.

Your pet will be under general anesthesia. The surgical team will prepare the surgical site by shaving then cleaning the area to remove bacteria and decrease risk of potential infection.

The veterinarian will then perform surgery to both release the fluid buildup within the ear flap and tack down the flap to prevent the hematoma from reoccurring.

Can aural hematomas be prevented?

To some degree, aural hematomas can be prevented by keeping your pet’s ears clean and healthy. If your pet is shaking their head or scratching their ears frequently, make sure to visit a veterinarian before their ear symptoms develop into a hematoma. Even after surgery, it is important to address any underlying concerns that may have led to the development of the hematoma.

How long does it take to recover from aural hematoma repair surgery?

Most pets recover from aural hematoma surgery within two weeks.

Caring for Your Pet After Aural Hematoma Repair Surgery

Anesthesia may take 24 to 48 hours to wear off.

  • Your pet may be groggy or whiny during this time.
  • Keep your pet confined in a secure, quiet, and comfortable space. We recommend a crate or a small room.
  • Isolate them from other pets and children while recovering.

Make sure your pet wears their Elizabethan Collar (E-Collar / Cone)

  • Your pet’s surgical site will take 10 to 14 days to heal. During this period, they should wear an e collar at all times.
  • Allowing your pet to lick their incision can lead to infection or dehiscence (opening of the incision).

Offer food & water after surgery

  • When your pet returns home, offer them food and water
  • Anesthesia may cause nausea so your pet may not be interested in food
  • If vomiting occurs, wait 12 hours before offering more food.
  • Resume regular feeding the day after surgery. Your pet’s appetite should be back to normal within 24 hours.
  • If your pet refuses to eat, you may try offering a bland diet such as white rice and lean protein (for example boiled chicken breast) while they regain a normal appetite.
  • Please do not feed your pet junk food, table scraps, or milk.

Give all medications as directed

  • Your pet will be sent home with oral pain medication. Please follow the instructions on the label.
  • If possible, please give the pain medication with food. If your pet has no appetite, please ensure they still take the pain medication.
  • OTC pain relievers such as Tylenol and Advil are toxic to pets. Please do not give these to your pet.

Make a follow-up appointment to remove the sutures from your pet’s ear.

  • Schedule your pet for a follow-up two weeks after surgery to remove their sutures.

Check the ear daily

  • Your pet’s surgical site will be healing for 10-14 days.
  • What you see on the day of surgery is what we consider normal
  • There may be discharge from the drainage site. This should be clear to blood-tinged.
  • Abnormal colors would be opaque green, yellow, or white.

Other shaved areas

  • Your pet may have shaved areas on one or more legs from where an IV catheter was placed, as well as under the tail for monitoring equipment during anesthesia.
  • These areas may be irritated or bruised. If your pet is excessively licking, please use a taste deterrent spray or e-collar to prevent self-trauma.
  • If your pet went home with a brightly colored wrap on their leg, this should be removed 30 minutes after returning home.

Limit your pet’s activity and keep them clean, dry, and warm for 10 days after surgery.

  • Ensure your pet is supervised around all potential hazards (including stairs)
  • Pets should be kept indoors so they can stay clean, dry, and warm.
  • Dogs should be walked outside on a leash to urinate and defecate. No off-leash activity during the entire recovery period.
  • No running, jumping, playing, swimming, or other strenuous activity.
  • Do not bathe your pet or have it groomed during the recovery period.

Rare, but Serious Complications of Aural Hematoma Repair Surgery

Complications from an aural hematoma repair are rare. If your pet experiences these issues after surgery, please contact Anicira.

  • Excessive bleeding or discharge from the surgical site
  • Infection of the surgical site
  • Recurrence of the hematoma
  • Necrosis (tissue death) of the ear pinna

Please contact Anicira, your primary care veterinarian, or an emergency clinic if any of the following occur:

  • Pale gums
  • Severe pain, depression or weakness
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Labored breathing
  • Decreased appetite for more than 24 hours
  • Lethargy lasting more than 24 hours