An aural hematoma, also known as an ear hematoma, is an accumulation of blood that occurs in between the cartilage and the skin of the ear flap or ear pinna. It is commonly seen in dogs with a tendency to develop ear infection and in those with floppy ears. Ear hematomas are caused by a trauma or injury to the ear pinna, which results in rupture of the small blood vessels leading to internal bleeding and a blood-filled swelling of the ear flap. The hematoma may be confined to one part of the pinna and may be small. In case of a larger hematoma, the whole ear flap is enlarged, resulting in drooping of the affected ear.


The most common trauma to the ear pinna is constant scratching of the ear and head shaking caused by ear infections, allergies, mites, or a foreign body. Aural hematomas can also develop from an accidental bump or injury to the ear flap. Trauma could also occur during a play session or it may also occur due to an animal fight. Clotting abnormalities can also lead to an aural hematoma.


A surgery is an ideal solution for a hematoma, and provides the best chance of avoiding recurrence and scarring. In case surgery is not a viable option, draining the hematoma with a large needle may be attempted. However, this is not ideal because the hematomas invariably recur. It is also nearly impossible to remove blood clots by needle aspiration. Thrombophob ointment and homeopathic ointments containing arnica can also be used to dissolve ear hematomas. Treatment of underlying cause may help prevent recurrences.


Deformity of the ear can occur if the condition is left untreated. This typically will leave the animal with a “cauliflower” ear. Potential complications include: cosmetic alteration of the ear, recurrence of the hematoma, necrosis (death) of the pinna and rupture of the hematoma resulting a wound, which if left untreated may get infected or maggoted.