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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Swollen Ear Flap

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Condition Overview

Sudden swelling of the ear flap can be caused by an abscess (a localized collection of pus in any part of the body that is surrounded by swelling) or hematoma. A hematoma is an accumulation of blood beneath the skin.

Symptoms

One cause of hematoma is violent head shaking and scratching at the ear. The area will feel warm and slightly soft to the touch. It may look painful.

Causes

Look for an underlying itchy ear disorder, to identify the cause of a hematoma. Abscesses frequently occur after dog fights.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by physical examination.

Treatment

Blood must be released from a hematoma to prevent scarring and ear deformity. Removing it with a needle and syringe (performed by a vet) is effective in about 20% of cases. If serum accumulates in the drained blood pocket, treatment involves removing a window of skin to provide continuous drainage. Sutures are then made through both sides of the ear to pull the skin down and eliminate the pocket. Sometimes a drain will be installed under the skin of the ear to serve this same purpose. If the blood is not removed, the cartilage will curl down and deform the ear as the clot retracts inside.

Prevention

Prevention is dependent upon the root cause of this condition.

Support

Please contact your veterinarian if you have questions regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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