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Dogs With Swollen Ear Flaps: Symptoms and Treatment

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.

Picture of Dog's Swollen Ear Hematoma

Picture of Dog's Swollen Ear Hematoma

Why Are My Dog's Ears Swollen?

Are your dog's ears swollen, inflated-looking, squishy, almost resembling a marshmallow? Has your dog been consistently shaking his head, scratching his ear, and keeping his head tilted to the side? If you answered yes to any of the above, chances are high your dog may have developed an unsightly condition known as aural hematoma.

What Is an Aural Hematoma?

The technical term may be a bit intimidating, but "aural" simply means ear, while "hematoma" means "blood has accumulated inside the ear." If you look carefully at your dog's ears, you will likely see that the actual swollen part is the underlying surface of the pinna. Upon palpation, most dogs will display a pain signal.

Why Does a Dog’s Ear Swell to Such Epic Proportions?

When a dog's ear gets excessively scratched and shaken, tiny blood vessels rupture, causing blood to fill up the space in the ear flap between the cartilage and skin. The ear flap therefore swells under pressure, causing the typical "ballooned experience" many owners may witness.

Aural Hematoma vs. Ear Abscess

An aural hematoma must not be confused with an ear abscess. The basic way to differentiate the two is by seeing the vet and having the vet do a needle aspiration. In an aural hematoma, the needle will aspirate a bloody fluid, in an abscess the aspirated substance will be of a yellowish, green tint, suggesting pus.

Reasons why a dog gets swollen ears.

Reasons why a dog gets swollen ears.

Symptoms of Aural Hematoma in Dogs

An aural hematoma is pretty easy to diagnose, because most dogs will show distinctive symptoms. The following are symptoms of an aural hematoma in dogs:

  • A swollen pinna (ear flap)
  • Pain upon palpation
  • Head held to one side
  • Pawing at the ear
  • A history of head shaking
  • A history of ear scratching

Underlying Causes for a Dog's Swollen Ears

Even though an ear hematoma diagnosis may be pretty straightforward, as mentioned, the underlying cause of the itching and scratching needs to be addressed. If only the aural hematoma is taken care of, very likely the dog will return back to the itching and scratching, again causing major damage to the delicate pinna.

Underlying causes of ear scratching in dogs may be various, but here are a few to be looked into:

  • Ear mites
  • Bacterial infection
  • Yeast infection
  • Foreign bodies
  • Allergies
  • Wax built up

Treatment for Swollen Ears in Dogs

Proper treatment will involve taking care of the underlying cause. If there is a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed; if there is a foreign body stuck in the ear canal, the vet will work it out; if there are ear mites, topical ear medications are given; if there is a history of allergies, the triggering cause needs to be found; and finally, if there is earwax, a proper cleaning is performed.

However, the aural hematoma needs to be taken care of as well. If left untreated, even though the ear may heal on its own, your dog may risk exhibiting a very cosmetically unsightly and damaged ear. The ear may develop thickness and wrinkles or worse assume a "cauliflower appearance" due to scarring.

Treatment of the hematoma would consist of a surgical procedure where the blood is drained out. Often, this is done with the dog conscious using a cannula, or needle and syringe. In a more invasive procedure, the pinna will be cut open allowing the fluid to drain out, and then the area would be sutured back. The dog is often prescribed, antibiotics to treat/prevent infections and steroids to prevent any further swelling. Unfortunately, at times, despite treatment, the ears start filling up again.

*Note: In some cases, if the ear is only mildly swollen, a more conservative approach may be taken by injecting cortisone into the flap and prescribing cortisone pills so to shrink the hematoma.

As seen, accumulated fluids within a dog's pinna needs a veterinarian attention. Please do not wait too long, or your dog may develop a very unsightly ear. If money is an issue, think that waiting for it too heal on its own may have a much higher price: your dog's ear may never look normal again.

*Note: if you have an appointment scheduled, placing a cold pack wrapped in cloth on the ear, kept for about 10 minutes at a time should help keep the swelling down.

For Further Reading

  • Zymox for Dogs with Ear Infections
    Learn about how to treat recurrent and annoying dog ear infections using over the counter Zymox. Dog ear infection home remedy for dog owners looking for an alternative to antibiotics.
  • Signs of Ear Infections in Dogs
    Ear Infection Symptoms in Dogs copyright a farricelli When an ear infection strikes man's best friend, there will be some quite distinctive symptoms that cannot be ignored. An ear infection indeed may be so...
  • Leftover Human Antibiotics or Online Non-Prescriptio...
    More and more pet owners are trying to treat their dogs at home using left over antibiotics or online antibiotics of questionable sources. Learn if such practice is safe and its risks.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: If you have a dog that already has a hematoma and you know that shaking its head is only going to make it worse, and if it's swollen because of the hematoma already, should you try wrapping the dog's ears or just leave it?

Answer: Some dog owners have found that it helps to wrap the dog's ear to protect it from head shaking or the self-trauma that may come from scratching at it. Care is needed when wrapping it, though, as wrapping it too tight may cut off the blood supply. Some dog owners like to use Happy Hoodies to temporary manage the situation until surgery is done.

© 2008 Adrienne Farricelli


Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 01, 2020:

Auralsplint, your company should get in touch with more and more vets across the country and discuss the option you offer.

Auralsplint on March 31, 2020:

I have been researching aural hematoma in canine for over a decade, performed a study on 190 animals, developed a non-surgical patented treatment, and wrote a 3800 word manuscript for the effectiveness of the treatment, and now presenting it to the FDA and Veterinarians. One thing I have found consistent with all healed cases, the blood clot formed in the ear in any treatment is essential in healing the broken blood vessels and to binding the skin and cartilage back together. This is why I do not understand the veterinarians allowing the blood to escape through open wounds or out drains. I hope they soon come around to using an Auralsplint which controls the amount, and equally as important, the size of the blood clot, into a thin layer easy to reabsorb once the animal is finished sealing the broken blood vessels and binding the tissues.

Jessica on October 14, 2019:

Will Zymox get rid of hematoma in ear flap?

Sarah on September 07, 2019:

Please help I have an hound dog i took him to the vet yesterday & they said it wasn’t big enough to do anything it’s both ears & ive been icing it and it’s still getting bigger it’s Saturday everywhere is closed

Erik Ray on August 24, 2019:

I Let My Bull Terrier Out in Her Fenced In Spot I later noticed Her Ear Was Swollen. I Don't know What happened. It has Been A Couple of Days. Swolleness Has Not Gone Down

Eunice on May 06, 2019:

I came home from work today, and the lower ear flap was swollen on my lab, its not hot,he dpesnt seemed bothered by it at all, no pain

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 17, 2019:

Anthony, sounds like your dog's ear is perhaps infected. Please see your vet as left untreated, it can lead to complications and an aural hematoma may be one of them.

Anthony on January 04, 2019:

My dogs ear is really swollen and its really killing her bad she is crying and will not let me go anywhere near it

Graham on October 02, 2018:

My dog is a great Dane bull mastiff she has swollen ears and hives and I think it’s due to food however we also have new puppies in the house.

sylvia on February 16, 2018:

Dotson is 15yr has swollen ear lobe

Charletia on January 21, 2018:

My dog right ear flap is swollen and he's constantly shaking his head and lying on it he won't let me touch it.what is wrong

LaineN on August 13, 2017:

To Linda Don and HQ who think you should give up your dog of 14 years because you can't afford a vet.... I would bet that y'all are probably DHR/CPS social workers or something to the affect. I'm sure you think it's best to take 14 year old children from their family and homes also when it's your opinion that it's in the child's best interest to go to strangers because they have more money to line your already full pockets that got so full from all the federal and IVE funding that you get to rip families apart of corse because u think it's for the best. Right. The best for someone but not people who love their family's which is most everyone. These people love their pets or they would not be on here hunting away to help them. These animals are part of our families and your opinions are the reason that it has become normal And exceptable for people to disagree with the way others choice of the way they upbring their families. Again our animals are our property and our families the same as children are. The fourth amendment says that parents have the right to raise or conduct their home and family business with privacy and without interference.

But because of people like you rights get violated on an alarming everyday basis without recorse. People think that it's ok to let someone take over and destroy families. They don't get what's not morally right and wrong any more.

I also have the same problem with my dogs ear and can't afford a vet due to my rights being violated and my child being medically kidnapped followed by two years of legal battles and now that she's home dealing with the treatment from the devastating consequences metal physical psychological effects that was caused by these rights violations someone thought was in her best interest. She got our dog as a lil puppy when she rescued her as a three year old little girl. They have grew up together the past 15 years and We would never give her up and we will do what ever we can to help her ear. My daughter and our family love our Princess just like everyone else in our family.remember before giving your opinions that it could change even destroy families. Please. No disrespect intendended just felt you should hear our story. Thanks.

Ananda on July 28, 2017:

My dog is about 5 to 8 years old and tonight I noticed her left ear is swollen and hard with a little squishy part she scratches a lot and possibly has ear mites I am very worried about her but have no money for a vet what can I do to help her?

Virginia on July 23, 2017:

I live in Florida. My dog has a swollen ear. Thanks for the information here. Due to my really tight budget, I was wondering how much would this procedure cost if I go to the Humane Society here. Thanks.

Zion on July 04, 2017:

what are some at home treatments that dog owners can do?

vickie on June 11, 2017:

our dog ear lobe is sweel is there some thing we can do. Don't have money for vet

jenna on May 28, 2017:

hi my dogs ears normally stand up and one has been floppy. I took her to the vets and there is a big lump inside but the vet has decided against treating my dog and said this lump will get smaller, it has grown slightly smaller so do you think it will go away in its own time? dog hasn't really been scratching or itching it and does not seem to be in any pain? she is very old about 12-14

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 27, 2017:

Yes, please see your vet, sounds like an ear infection and potential ear hematoma.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 27, 2017:

No, draining an ear hematoma at home is very risky and can cause an infection! Google "what happens if a dog ear hematoma remains untreated" so to get an idea of what can happen if you do it at home or do nothing about it. The best is to see your vet. on May 24, 2017:

My dog has a big pus pocket on her ear my question is can I drain it myself with causing her pain. Thanks

Ana on May 23, 2017:

My 6 week old puppy is acting strange. He's up running around and crying he ran into wall shakes his head and scratches at his ear. On outside under his ear is swollen. He can't hold still or anything. Is there something I can do for him

Jenifer Mattio on April 04, 2017:

My Great Dane has had so many allergies from a pup till now 3 yrs old, but this is a new one and i have no job, no money and no insurance, he has a really bad swollen ear and i am extremely worried, what the heck can i do ?

bridgette on February 22, 2017:

my dog has the fluid pocket in one ear flap that just keeps coming back and its clear fluid not blood or puss. no shaking of head no signs whats so ever except the pocket what is it? and what can I do to stop it?

KO on November 18, 2016:

Yes, you can drain the ballooning pocket of fluid in your dog's ear yourself. If you had a giant zit on yourself, you would want to drain it out - wouldn't you?

No, you do not need to pay an expensive vet's bill. What you NEED to do is to use sterile procedures. You need to wash your dog's ear with alcohol first. Then coat the area where you puncture the ballooned pocket of fluid with iodine solution. (Louis the hound has floppy ears, so that was out near the tip.)

I've found the best thing to use is a new (unused) "xacto" knife razor blade, because pushing it straight in not only punctures the skin easily, but it can also opens a cut several millimeters long to help with drainage for an hour or two. Be sure to have a small pile of folded paper towels underneath the ear when you go to puncture the fluid pocket. There will plenty of nasty stuff to drain...

Yes it's messy, but you CAN wash your hands in bleach when you're done. Deal with it! And if your dog is skittish, it would really help to have someone else hold him still. In my dog's case he held still on his own, and it was was mostly watery plasma with very little actual blood. Not like a pus-filled zit, or anything (which would DEFINITELY need to be drained out). But I still washed my hands with bleach after getting it on me...

Then you can drain it all out into the paper towels. Gently squeezing it out like a toothpaste tube, if necessary, using a few more towels to catch the last bits, until nothing else comes out. Keep in mind that you will likely have to repeat this process several times over the next several weeks if the fluid pocket keeps re-filling with blood, and/or blood plasma, due to all the broken blood vessels inside that blister.

Make each new cut in a different place to prevent extra pain to your poor dog's ear. And most importantly, MAINTAIN sterile procedures with plenty of alcohol washing and iodine coating to prevent any secondary infections whenever you need to lance the fluid pocket. If you do that, then you won't have any secondary infections.

My dog is recovering from it just fine. I sincerely doubt that he'll have any sort of "deformed ear", since it looks very good right now. I hope that you find the same results, but if it gets infected, or otherwise has some bad reaction, you HAVE to take your dog to a vet to have them treated in a rigidly controlled "clinical" environment.

Which is not only expensive, but also full of ridiculous 'rules' like "keep a bandage on it", or "don't allow it to come in contact with anything dirty". On a dog? PFFT, yeah right. Just sterilize the crap out of it and leave it at that. (And if you let your dog go play in the dirt, wash it with alcohol again.)

That thing where vets "cut out a dime-sized piece of skin" makes no sense to me, as it seems completely unnecessary. Perhaps that's best in some cases, but not others. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, since they're the experts and I'm not, but in my case it hasn't been needed at all. Just draining the fluid pocket in his ear has been sufficient and his ear seems to be healing quite nicely now.

Jasmine's mommy on July 14, 2016:

Ok so my lab/ pit mix has this and she scratched it open what do I need to do? My husband used a towel to stop it but he said it looked like blood. Does this mean it's healing? We just discovered it tonight after she got into a fight 2 weeks ago

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 22, 2016:

The fact that the ear may become deformed if no treatment is sought, needs to be pointed out as many dog owners who have left their dog's swollen ear flaps untreated complained to our vet about it even after denying treatment themselves!

Maverick's Mom on November 02, 2015:

NOBODY should judge a self respecting owner who does and continues to do all he/she can do for her beloved pet during times of illness and struggle. We all do all we can with the financial resources we have in order to keep our pets healthy. My dog's allergies are so complex, surgery is NOT the answer. I would rather leave a Hematoma, and let nature take it's course, if possible, then to put him and myself through an expensive surgery that (in Maverick's case) offers not guarantees. Esthetically, if the dog lives with a deformed ear, that is ok in my books. He will be loved, honored, and taken care of the same way he has always been.

Auralsplint on August 06, 2015:

The first line of action once you notice your dog has an aural hematoma: Perform a needle aspiration to remove the fresh fluids before a clot is formed, preferably before five days. Second: Use an Auralsplint to correct the broken artery causing the hematoma and keep the ear from shriveling. Do not have the archaic and gruesome surgery which does not attempt to correct the broken artery, but instead allows the continued blood flow into the cavity and out either a drain or an open wound. The cost of surgery is mostly prohibitive and rather not needed now that the Auralsplint is in use. Until you are able to perform the auralsplint treatment, make sure to aspirate on a four to five day schedule to keep a clot from forming.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 01, 2014:

This is very interesting. Thank you for sharing this non-surgical treatment option for dogs with swollen ears.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 27, 2014:

According to this vet, the swelling post surgery may be there for up to 2 weeks. Pain meds and antibiotics may help, as well as cold compresses applied to the ear, see this thread below. Not sure why didn't prescribe antibiotics .

Joel on May 27, 2014:

My pitbull has hematoma I took him to the vet they did surgery on him and gave him collars but few days later his ears swelled again we took him again but the vet didn't perscribe antibotics ??? What should I do

Alexa on April 14, 2014:

my dog suffered from one ear infection to the next and did get a hematoma at one point too - because he was too old to stand the surgery, we let it heal with natural medication and he did develop a kind of crinkled ear after that - along the way we found natural dog ear treatment called Dr Dogs Ear Oil from and we've been able to control and prevent further ear problems with that at home - maybe it can help someone else too - dog ear treatment is a MUST and keeping the dogs ears in good condition is what really matters! thanks for so much information here

Bejay on December 03, 2012:

Before I was laid off, a co-worker begged me to take her dog or she would have to take her to the shelter because she had a total of eight dogs and cats and was only allowed to have three. I took the dog in and we couldn't love each other more (after 7 years). We already had one dog but made a successful adjustment. Five years ago, my son's best friend was hit by a car - he died, and we took in his dog that he loved so much. All three dogs regularly went to the vet and they were healthy, happy, and stuck together like the three muskateers. Then my husband and I both were laid off, and told we were too old to be hired. My 401K was lost by Lehman Brothers. I gave up vacations so that I could fund my retirement. Now I feel like an idiot. Last month, one of my dogs developed a tumor on his neck. The surgery cost $960. We skimped on food and everything else to pay for 1/3rd of the surgery, and borrowed the rest from CareCredit. The follow up visit (to remove the stitches) was supposed to be free - actually pre-paid, but I was told I had a $100 balance from the last visit (which I did not) and owed another $260 for the removal of the stitches. I later learned that I was charged so much because the vet knew I still had a small amount of credit left on the CareCredit account and they wanted it all. Now, four weeks later, one of the other dogs has developed a swollen ear. We are completely tapped out saving the other dog. It was never my intention to have three dogs, but most of us don't have the luxury of life going along with our plans. I am now looking for a vet that will treat her and accept a $75 a month payment until the bill is paid. Not one "animal loving" vet will even consider it. CardV is right on target. I never thought life would change so quickly and drastically and be so ugly. We are still looking for a vet because I know she is in pain. In the meantime, I'm going to tape her ear as some other kind and caring soul has suggested. What is happening to the citizens of this country is a shame. But this country is still full of Americans, and as soon as we stop believing in the politicans, we will work together and start moving this country forward again.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 30, 2012:

You are welcome, but thank you too for taking good care of them.

CardV from Nothwest Georgia, Lookout Mountain on May 30, 2012:


Thanks for caring about our animals.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 27, 2012:

Cardv, best wishes for a speedy recovery. It was a good idea to show your vet the video, so to ask his opinion about it. Kind regards!

CardV from Nothwest Georgia, Lookout Mountain on May 27, 2012:

Ok. Well I contacted my vet and explained to him about seeing the video. He told me that he used to perform the operation the way done in the video on this page. He said that anyway done the ear will heal back wrinkled and not ever stand up straight again. The vet in the video says that if done the way he operates it will heal back to normal.

Also, his ear did start to fill up again with blood, but after a couple of days I did see draining again, and it has gone down. It's starting to look better, but for the wrinkles and flopping.

For all of you having problems, like me, affording to properly care for your animals, I certainly hope you don't think voting for any party member running for the presidency of this country, or any other politcal office, for that matter, is going to help you in any way, because it is not. And if you don't get on the wagon to stop this government's deceptive powers, your financial woes are only going to become more woeful. IT is a punishment for supporting any of them. They should all be either locked behind bars for many years, or put to death. And the same for all news media people. As far as I'm concerned the whorehoppers of this country, and their supporters, have ruled with their iron fist long enough, beginning with the first micro second. It's time to put the "Saints" (whorehoppers) in their proper places. And take their money away from them, and their families.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 21, 2012:

Card, no, there is no way you can perform a surgery at home! Sleeping pills can kill your dog! it would be best if you could get a second opinion by another vet.

CardV from Nothwest Georgia, Lookout Mountain on May 21, 2012:

After watching the video posted here I took my dog to a vet to have the operation done for an aural hemotoma, assuming the vet would know the right way to do it and the ear heal back to normal. But I was wrong. He didn't do the operation the same way, and my dog's ear may not heal back the same. It was a week ago, and I removed the stitches today, because they were causing his ear to wrinkle and the ear flap is slightly filling with blood again, making it balloon up again, a little, tightening in on the stitches.

I'm wondering if I shouldn't sedate him myself with some of my prescribed sleeping pills, and follow the procedure in the video, or if it would be wrong to do it so soon after the botched operation? I'm hesitant to call this vet back about the situation. He seemed too hard headed to accept frienldy advice on proper procedure according to later (than his time) endorced methods.

Tammy on May 11, 2012:

I just found out that my dog has this, I did this:The basic way to differentiate the two is by doing a needle aspiration. In an aural hematoma, the needle will aspirate a bloody fluid.

I was able to drain the area. I have needles from my pharmacy for my medication. She seems much happier its drained and not so ballooned and purple looking.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 11, 2012:

Great! I hope he gets rid of these pesky parasites and that is swollen ear recovers quickly!

peter on May 11, 2012:

update, the vet took care of my swollen ears and now they are getting slowly better, he had ear mites which explained all that unsightly gunk he had.

peter on May 09, 2012:

my dog had swollen ears and after reading this hub we went to see the vet and it turned out being aural hematoma, my vet said if I waited any longer my dog's ears were going to get scars that very likely were never going to go away.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 12, 2012:

What's the problem, Peter, is it its ears?

Peter on April 12, 2012:

I need ergent help for my puppy someone please???

Gregorious on April 12, 2012:

I'm familiar with this condition. It's very painful and discomforting for the dog, but luckily it can be treated. I would advise all dog owners to get pet insurance. It's worth it in the long run.

HC on April 02, 2012:

I agree with Linda Dom despite what everyone says. If you can't properly care for an animal then you don't need to have one. I don't have a pure bread, nor am I rich so don't even try those come backs.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 24, 2012:

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

louromano on March 24, 2012:

Dear Alexadry, thank you so much for your helpful advise! I'm taking my bulmastif today to the PDSA to have it checked out. Noticed it yesterday when I bathed her.

MG on March 01, 2012:

If in need of $ for vet bills contact organizations like SNAP,local 501's some of the animal groups have funds just for vet bills, You can re-pay them by volunteering!!!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 19, 2012:

Garen, unfortunately not. I would recommend reading through the above posts to better understand why and there are also some tips.

garen weaver on February 19, 2012:

my dogs ear has this can i get it out myself?

middleman on February 11, 2012:

Our 8 yr old Lab as been scratching his ears, and shaking his head quite a bit. Looked in is ears with a flashlight and did notice some wax buildup at the bottom. No foul odor in either ear so that rules out an infection. Nothing crawling around either so that rules out ear mites. I figured he just needed a godd cleaning. I picked up a bottle of Sulphodene (ear antiseptic) from a local pet store, and followed the directions. A few dirty paper towels/cottonballs later, and he is still doing some scratching.

As I was cleaning, I noticed a small hematoma(swollen spot) in his left ear...Probably from all the scratching. Nothing major...I'll check it tomorrow when I clean his ears again.

Thanks for all the helpful posts on here.

Jackie on February 03, 2012:

We had this problem our male lab- we suspect a spider bite caused the itching and shaking of the ear that caused the hematoma. We took him to the vet who lifted our dogs ear flap up so it was upside down and taped it in place and kept it like that overnight with the hope that "elevating" the ear in this manner would allow the Fluid to drain out and prevent being opened up for drainage. It worked beautifully.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 05, 2012:

Unfortunately, aura hematomas have a high rate of recurring. Basically, after the fluid is removed, a gap is left and more fluids make their way to refill the empty area. Really, with all due respect, this is something that should not be done at home. Recurring hematomas, for instance, at times require special sutures that are often placed surgically to prevent the flap from re-filling. Left untreated, hematomas may cause unsightly scarring. Also, let's not forget that the underlying cause of the hematoma should be addressed as well, otherwise it's a lost cause.

loving dog owner on January 05, 2012:

Hi my dog has a hematoma on her ear, she doesn't appear in any pain although her head is one sided her ears huge and she keeps scratching it .. Ive telephoned several vets and discussed a payment plan but to no avail all want immediate payment for treatment, I phoned the pdsa they would not treat her as I was not in reciept of housing benefit. I do not have the times for vet bills .. Ive had my dog for twelve years and hate to see her so fed up, being a nurse I lanced it myself using all infection control measures and sterilized equipment, no way would my dog allow a stranger near her ear, she was so good and lay with her head on my knee while I drained it, she was in no pain and looked relieved, I tried to stop up scratching the ear but dogs will be dogs, ive got up this morning and the ear is full and swollen again ... What can I do to help her, I can see the vet when I get later but this is two weeks away and don't want to leave her that long .. I didn't expect it to till again once it was drained :(

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 16, 2011:

Can be an infection, a skin tag, an irritated area from scratching, or a hematoma.. so many possibilities! If she is not pawing it or keeping the head to one side perhaps it is not bothering much but it can still be a start of a hematoma if she scratched at it or shook her head to break the capillaries causing it to swell.

Ay on December 15, 2011:

I have a six year old beagle and one of her ears has a medium-sized (compared to her ear size) space that looks inflated like a balloon. It's not huge, and you can't immediately notice it unless you touch her ear. She's not hanging her head to one side, or pawing at that ear. She doesn't even seem to notice it, really. What is that?

safelysecured on December 11, 2011:

I have read all your posts. I cannot believe some of the cold hearted people in the world today.Not everyone has money falling out of their pockets and to take a pet to today's vets thats what you need. Most of them think their hands are coated with gold and charge outrageous prices just to walk into their office. A lack of money does not mean a lack of love or caring for a pet. I recently lost my dog I raised since the day he was born, he was 20 yrs old when he died. I took him to the vet every time he sneezed the wrong way. Found out the vet was charging me over $30 for meds that could be called into walmart and bought for $4. Vet schools? none around here. ASPCA? wont help pets that are not in their working out a payment plan? ROFL don't make me laugh,Most Vets care more about money then they do the animals they work on.As for Linda dom.. I hope she finds her self in the same position some of the folks above are in and can't pay a big vet bill, when you have already given up everything you can, and theres still not enough to pay an ourageous vet bill..What goes around comes around Linda dear.. perhaps one day you will be in the position to understand what it feels like to need a vet and call all over and try everything you know to do and theres just no way. I have been fortunate, in getting my dog to the vet. Some are not that fortunate and for them, my heart goes out to them. Banfield hospital has a charitible trust fund that helps the elderly and disabled get care for their dogs btw. Check it out.. couldn't hurt right?

GMom on November 15, 2011:

My pitbull has always had ear infections & skin allergies since we adopted her. She is now over 12yrs old & this morning was the 1st time she has hematoma. Took her to the vet & the doc drained it w/ a syringe. She wanted to do more invasive surgery but at my dog's age I'm fearful of her being sedated. The underlying cause is bacteria in her inner canal. $400 later she now has 3 wks of Zeniquin which I'm giving it to her with 2 Pepcid AC (she's prone to vomitting w/meds). She also will get Baytril drops for the next 3 wks to go with Benadryl tabs that she's been getting daily. Tonight I noticed that the earlobe is filled with blood again. My husband is going to try to drain the blood with syringes that we've used for her allergy shots. I think it's going to be a couple days for the meds to be in her system but we'll bring her back to the vet if the ear continues to swell at the end of this week.

Jessie on November 07, 2011:

Okay, first of all, my Great Dane, Tia, has a hematoma on her right ear. But the only thing she has is fleas. After many vet visits to treat the fleas, including countless sprays and carpet cleaners and meds, she still has them. They just won't go away. because of this, she is always scratching. She developed this about two weeks ago. I finally got the courage to google this, and found this lovely site.

My father wanted to pop it - with a needle of course, but I will definitely be taking her to the vet.

Second of all, anyone who can 'not afford' a vet visit, try to reason with them. One of the first questions you need to ask is if they do payment plants, not only on visits but on surgeries.

My Chow got a hematoma a few years ago, and we left it because we had really no idea what to do (and she absolutely hates people, so the vet was out of the question.) and eventually it went away, but her ear doubled over and is very deformed.

That is why I am acting with my Great Dane, to take her to a vet. It is the best thing for your animal!

and third of all, quit the name calling. Yes, she said something very wrong, I agree with this. But the chances are she will never check this page again, is probably uncaring and really doesn't mind ruining your day. It's probably what she wanted, so don't give her the satisfaction!

A on October 24, 2011:

I half agree with what Linda Dom said, before getting a dog, make sure you can afford it, but we all have harsh times where we do spend the money we save up in case of an emergency (and obviously that's when the pets start getting ill). My lab currently has a hemotoma, and yes she has fungus (which she had since birth (irresponsible breeder sadly,))and she is on med for her fungus, but I can't afford the vet right now some of my (stupid) family members decided to drain it (we have access to sterile medical equipement) but I'm still pissed off they didn't get informed before doing something (I already knew quite a bit about hematomas). And to warn people, THINK BEFORE doing anything...

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 20, 2011:

Oh my, this is not something you can do at home!

samantha on October 20, 2011:

I have a yellow lab dog and she haves a Hematoma on her left ear right now.she is 12 years old.I don,t have any money at for a vet husband and I going to take of it right now at the house here.we are going to pop-it and then put a warm washclothe on it after words. I need a lot help please help me out for my dog.

bhillman on September 28, 2011:

Our Yellow Lab developed an aural hematoma and we promptly took him to well respected local vet here in Canada. Vet said that as the dog doesn't seem to be in any pain and no evidence of bites or ear infection, the now popular treatment is to give the animal pregnizone (sp?) versus lancing the tissue and draining it. Our Lab is 9, otherwise healthy, proper weight and exercised daily. After a week on the drug the "ballooning" of the ear is greatly reduced in size and is softer to the touch.

Tessa - South Africa on September 25, 2011:

Dear Alexadry, thank you so much for your helpful advise! I'm taking my bulmastif today to the PDSA to have it checked out. Noticed it yesterday when I bathed her.

Surrounding you with Love & Light. Thank you.

IZME on September 21, 2011:

Mel, call your local SPCA. Some have vets, all have volunteers, and they might be able to recommend a solution in your specific situation.

For the rest of you people who claim you're broke. It's probably time you got resourceful. ASPCA- CALL THEM. LOCAL DOG SHELTERS - CALL THEM. VET SCHOOLS - CALL THEM. All of these organizations have fantastic people working for them who will help you, if you're just willing to make an effort. Even your vet might consider creating a payment plan to suit your hardship.

MEL on September 14, 2011:


I am 85 and dieing, broke and my dog has that swollen ear how can I lance it so she wont suffer when I am gone.


Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 07, 2011:

Did you already try Zymox? You can read about this here:

What about cleaning the ears with a mixture of white vinegar and water (if there are no injuries) If you tried antibiotics and they are not working I am thinking your dog may need a broader spectrum antibiotic or maybe is dealing with a fungal or yeast infection. It sounds very frustrating and you cannot keep on giving steroids. Maybe try another vet and see if he is more resourceful. Best wishes

Carol. on September 06, 2011:

My labrador has sore ears. The ear canal seems inflamed and hot. We have been to the vet almost every month for the last year. We have tried most anti biotics, we have had his ears flushed, he is currently on steroid injections. This had been successful and gave the dog some respite for about four/five weeks however, it seems to be taking longer for this to work as the ear canal is still hot. We have tried alergy tablets. We are at our wits end and can't keep going to the vet as this is so expensive. He also is prone to ear was and black yucky discharge. How did this happen and what can be done???????

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 17, 2011:

Dogs can virtually have an allergic reaction to any medication so I would consult with your vet about this. The topical meds could also be a culprit. Unless she is scratching her ears when in reality she wants to scratch her cheek but does not because it is painful.

Kathy on July 16, 2011:

My 5 year old black lab mix was treated for a 'hot spot' on her right cheek. She was given topical meds along with 500mg of amoxicillan. After 6 days on the meds both her ears have swollen, feeling as if they were filled with fluids. I stopped the amox and gave her Benadryl. Can dogs have a reaction to amox?? Thanks

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 11, 2011:

You can read about it here:

needs relief on July 08, 2011:

I thought so too.. but, the vet was treating them for yeast and fungal infection. The vet gave me a steriod but, that is just makening them all moody. what is zymox?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 03, 2011:

Brown discharge makes me think either ear mites (that are contagious by the way) or a yeast or fungal infection requiring anti-fungal medications.. did your vet did a culture? did you try zymox already?

needs relief for my babies! on July 02, 2011:

I have 4 dogs! An American bulldog, pit bull terrier, and two very small chiuauuas..All 4 seem to be shaking and scratching they're ears. I have tried all different types of ear washes, baterial creams/ointments, Benadryl, cotton balls with even water, allergi meds., antibiotics, baths more offten than usual and steroids for them and NOTHING seems to be helping. Its hard keeping up with ear cleanings let alone 8 ears every day. They're ears are swollen, red, scaby, sometimes bleading, open wounds, brown ear wax looking stuff that smells reallllly bad coming from they're ears. I am in need of some kind of relief for me and my babies.. i kno they're in pain and want to make them confortable as possible.. HELP PLEASE.. need answers and ive spent lots and lots of money on vet bills and they seem to not be able to tell me what the hell is going on. someone.. anyone??

VictoriaAZ on June 27, 2011:

Hey, what about hot compresses. I am a do it at home enthusiast, if possible. Cats are always getting in scuffs and I have come quite accustom to hot compresses and over-the-counter anti-biotic creams. My lab has chronic swimmers ear and he has started swimming again since the hot weather in Arizona lately is reaching 117 Degrees more than less, and he would rather be in the pool that inside in the AC. He has developed a blood blister (pinna area) in the same chronic swimmers ear in the last several days. I cleaned with dog ear wash real well and looked it over thinking maybe scorpion bite. Killed a few in the yard lately. No visible bites. Googled dogs with swollen ears and came across several posts. Looks like I will see if the vet can drain, but as noted will not pay 1000.00 dollars as others are stating in other posts. Animals or god creatures, but vets that charge more than my peditrician should be called-out. A quick comment on insurance, how about structuring Obamacare after it since it seems to be the deal of the century!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 13, 2011:

If it is a hematoma, not much you can do at home. Keep an eye on it hopefully it will get smaller, but if not, there is nothing that can be done at home and if it is a hematoma the ear may heal but look disfigured..

lemondrop on June 13, 2011:

my 8 yr old spitz I belive has a hematoma and I can,t afford a vet bill either, my ex left me 6 yrs ago and now my 78 yr old mother live with me with alot of health problems, so linda dom don,t down others when u have no idea about their life, at one time I could walk in to a vet with all my pets **most of them rescue* and pay cash to have them well taken care of, now each one is older and they have only me, if I took any of them to a pound they would put them down cause not many wants an older dog or cat, only my spitz is a purebred, and it breaks my heart to see her with this problem I,m hoping its a bee sting but the swollen is still the same size as it was on sunday and today monday, I did not notice any shaking of the head or anything before hand and it happen right after I let her in the backyard to use the bathroom, so what can I do?

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 20, 2011:

Head shaking may cause swollen ears as well. The swelling can be due to an insect bite, abscess, allergic reaction, just to name a few potential causes.

tay burke on May 20, 2011:

my 8 yr old lab's ear flap is slightly swollen, but she is not scratching or itching at this time, what could be the cause of the swollen ear

Jada on April 13, 2011:

Shame on you Linda Dom for saying such a thing.

linda dom on April 01, 2011:

Just had our lab to the vets for a hematoma. he's very sleepy after the op. To the posters above who can't afford a vet for your pet's health, I ask why do you have a dog then. I'd go without food to pay for my Barney's health. Shame upon you for not considering your pet's pain & discomfort!!!!!!!!!!!!

patricia25276 on March 02, 2011:

my dog got in to carpet fresh linen and my dog is doing the same as everyone is sayin ear shaking,swollen ears hot ear head shaking n i bath him to get the stuff off and i also talk to the vet they told me to get cortizone 10 cream n benadry spray i wounder if that will work

anna on January 06, 2011:

yes my lab has a hematoma and i don't have the money right now to take him to the vet. can i drain this myself and if yes can you explain how to go about if anyone can help me let me know. thanks

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 28, 2010:

You should really have your vet take a look at that. They should not charge you for an office visit but rather for a follow up visit which is considerably cheaper. Ask them if that is possible. He or she should also give you an Elizabethan collar to prevent her from scratching the ear. Best wishes!

RomyO on November 26, 2010:

Hi My dog was operated on three weeks ago because of an aural hematoma... I looked up the surgery after she had it, assuming the vet knew best how to care for her. He put a hole in the bottom flap of her ear that is the size of a dime and stitched the rest of the ear... it healed yet the hole is still there and it is freaking me out.

She scratched at it and it bled a bit and does anyone else have any experience with this? I need some advice from someone who has gone through this or a veterinary professional.

Thank you.

kim on November 22, 2010:

my dog has it and i don't have money to help her i want to help her do to not having an income right now i don't no what to do help if some can tell me how to lance it i will

shanna on September 11, 2010:

my dog had it and my dad cut it and a bloody liquid came out and it smelled horrible..but it is healing now

mse from texas on December 28, 2009:

I remember this happening. Very painful for the dog. Thanks for this!

missalyssa on November 10, 2009:

Very pup had hematomas and the vet gave her inexpensive drops that took care of it. I think it was because we got to it early!! I saw pictures of the surgery and did discuss it with the vet - thank goodness we didn't have to go through it! Thanks for the hub!

Cellar Door from South East UK on May 08, 2009:

so so helpful, i love my dog!

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 03, 2009:

Thanks Misty,great advice. My dogs are on insurance and it saved me a lot of money. I would highly recommend it to all pet owners.

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on August 11, 2008:

Very good advice here as I used to work at a vets myself and have seen many of these before. As you stated, do not leave this untreated for long as it will not only result in a potentially deformed ear, but it is also unfair to expect your dog to suffer for days with a cureable problem, after all, would you sit in pain for several days without going to your doctor for help, I doubt it! I always recommend people take out pet insurance when they get a dog or cat, as this only costs around seven or eight pounds month, but will ensure most vets bills are covered, (with the exception of routine treatments of course). I believe anyone can find such a small amount of money each month, but it is not always so easy to find hundreds of pounds when you have to pay the bill yourself. In my case in just one year of having my kittens I ended up claiming over £1500 from the insurance policies, yet had only spent out around £100 in premiums. I think this justifies the reasoning for getting pet insurance cover.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 10, 2008:

You are very so welcome! I am sorry to hear it took so much to sedate her but I am happy to hear of the happy ending. Kind regards

Gail on August 10, 2008:

It took quite a bit of medication to make my dog relaxed. 2 mg of Xanax and she was jetting around like she had never felt better at 14 years of age. We gave her to tabs of Benadryl 4 hours later and she still put up a fight. I have had her on antibiotics for about 3 days and we lanced the hematoma on the third day. She did seem very thankful, but sleepy.......Thanks for your information and for the loving help from a pair of great friends.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 08, 2008:

If your dog has swollen ears due to aural hematoma consider that the procedure may be done with mild sedation in some cases. Consult with your vet.

help on July 08, 2008:

but my dog is 14 years old what should i do