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Aural Hematomas in Cats

Understanding Ear Hematomas in Cats

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

What are aural hematomas in cats?

A hematoma, also known as a "blood blister," is a pocket of blood that forms inside an organ or tissue. Aural (ear) hematomas can develop between the skin and cartilage of your cat's ear flap. The size and location of these hematomas may differ. Cats rarely develop ear hematomas; however, this fact emphasizes the importance of pet owners understanding 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 typically 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, resulting in a bloody pocket or swelling. Some of the most common causes of hematomas in cat ears 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 discomfort. In addition to changes in appearance, pay attention to your cat's behavior. If their ear is irritated or tender, they may groom it more frequently or avoid contact.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Ear Hematomas in Cats

In addition to the injury, your veterinarian will examine your cat's ears for mites and infections. Mites and infections are common causes of hematomas, particularly if your pet has a history of infections. Depending on the circumstances, your veterinarian may collect a sample with a needle to diagnose the condition.


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

Your veterinarian will also treat the underlying cause of the hematoma (such as an infection or 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 will cause your cat discomfort for several weeks. Thick and wrinkled scar tissue frequently forms on both sides of the ear, making it appear and feel abnormal.

Recovery from Aural Hematoma Surgery 

There may be some tenderness or discomfort in 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.

Make sure your cat wears an Elizabethan collar to prevent them from scratching the surgical site and causing complications such as inflammation, bleeding, pulled stitches, or infection.

Your veterinarian will give you specific instructions and advice on how to care for your feline companion at home while they recover from surgery. In addition, your veterinarian will advise you on when you should return for follow-up appointments 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 AnimERge today to help your beloved pet feel better. We are open 24/7 for whenever you need us.

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