ASK THE VET – Bundy (dog) has a fat ear

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Bundy has a fat ear – like when a football player gets cauliflower ear. It’s like a ball/sack full of blood. Problem is he absolutely hates the vet. Does anyone know much about this ? & Is it safe to leave to go down or won’t it? He’s still happy & playing, just looks annoyed coz his ear is flopping over.


From Dr Justin Ward ( Reedy Creek Vets )
From what is described there, the dog almost certainly has an Aural Haematoma, which is literally a very large “blood blister” of the ear.  It’s a fairly common problem, and is caused by capillaries within the ear bursting and bleeding out. It can be caused by underlying pathology of the ear such as an ear infection, ear mites, or a skin allergy – all of which cause shaking of the head and scratching of the ears, which can lead to a capillary bursting.  It can also be completely spontaneous, without any underlying problem.  There are a few ways to deal with this, but generally the best option is some form of surgical intervention. This has to be performed under a general anaesthetic and involves draining the ear and then placing rows of sutures through the ear, or suturing a pad to the ear or making punch holes and placing sutures through these. It can be drained if the blood has not started to clot, with a large bore needle. However, this is painful, not always well tolerated, and in most cases only provides temporary relief with the ear filling up with blood within a couple of days.  If you leave it and do nothing, it is not inherently painful or problematic, however, the ear will become scarred and disfigured and this can sometimes cause long term problems particularly if it is a large haematoma and the opening to the ear canal gets closed over. Once scarring has occurred, there is not much you can do, even surgically. So best to act on these fairly fast!   If your client requires a hosuecall, I can recommend Emma Somerville of Vets On Wheels, but she would not be able to perform any surgery in a clients home of course!


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